Annal: 2004 Anthony Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Anthony Award in the year 2004.

Book:Monkeewrench

Monkeewrench

P.J. Tracy

Haunted by a series of horrifying and violent episodes in their past, Grace McBride and the oddball crew of her software company, Monkeewrench, create a computer game where the killer is always caught, where the good guys always win. But their game becomes a nightmare when someone starts duplicating the fictional murders in real life, down to the last detail.

By the time the police realize what’s happening, three people are dead, and with seventeen more murder scenarios available online, there are seventeen more potential victims. While the authorities scramble to find the killer in a city paralyzed by fear, the Monkeewrench staff are playing their own game, analyzing victim profiles in a frantic attempt to discover the murderer’s next target.

In a thriller populated by characters both hilarious and heartbreaking, a rural Wisconsin sheriff, two Minneapolis police detectives, and Grace’s gang are caught in a web of decades-old secrets that could get them all killed.

Book:Death of a Nationalist

Death of a Nationalist

Rebecca Pawel

Madrid 1938. Carlos Tejada Alonso y Leon is a Sergeant in the Guardia Civil, a rank rare for a man not yet thirty, but Tejada is an unusual recruit. The bitter civil war between the Nationalists and the Republicans has interrupted his legal studies in Salamanca. Second son of a conservative Southern family of landowners, he is an enthusiast for the Catholic Franquista cause, a dedicated, and now triumphant, Nationalist.

This war has drawn international attention. In a dress rehearsal for World War II, fascists support the Nationalists, while Communists have come to the aid of the Republicans. Atrocities have devastated both sides. It is at this moment, when the Republicans have surrendered, and the Guardia Civil has begun to impose order in the ruins of Madrid, that Tejada finds the body of his best friend, a hero of the siege of Toledo, shot to death on a street named Amor de Dios. Naturally, a Red is suspected. And it is easy for Tejada to assume that the woman wearing a red scarf, caught kneeling over the body, is the killer. But when his doubts are aroused, he cannot help seeking justice.

Book:Haunted Ground

Haunted Ground

Erin Hart

When farmers cutting turf in a peat bog make a grisly discovery - the perfectly preserved severed head of a young woman with long red hair - Irish archaeologist Cormac Maguire and American pathologist Nora Gavin team up in a case that will open old wounds. Peat bogs prevent decay, so the decapitated young woman could have been buried for two decades, two centuries, or even much longer. Who is she? When was she killed? The extraordinary find leads to even more disturbing puzzles. The red-haired girl is clearly a case for the archaeologists, not the police. Still, her tale may have shocking ties to the present, and Cormac and Nora must use cutting-edge techniques to preserve ancient evidence.

And the red-haired girl is not the only enigma in this remote corner of Galway. Two years earlier, Mina Osborne, the local landowner’s Indian-born wife, went for a walk with her young son and never returned. Did Mina simply decide to disappear, or…[more]

Book:Maisie Dobbs

Maisie Dobbs

Jacqueline Winspear

What do Hercule Poirot and Charlotte Gray have in common? It may be the wonderful Maisie Dobbs. Lady Rowan Compton first met Maisie when, at thirteen, she went into service as a maid at her ladyship’s Belgravia mansion. A suffragette, Lady Rowan took the remarkably smart youngster under her wing and became her patron. She encouraged Maisie to study at Cambridge, and was aided in this by Maurice Blanche, a friend often retained as an investigator by the elite of Europe when discretion and results were required. It was he who first recognized Maisie’s intuitive gifts. The outbreak of war changed everything. Maisie left for France to train as a nurse, then served at the front, where she fell in love with a handsome young doctor. After the Armistice, in the spring of 1929, Maisie hangs out her shingle: M. Dobbs, Trade and Personal Investigations. Her very first case involves suspected infidelity but turns up something else, a tombstone with only a first name—Vincent. And then she finds another. The deceased…[more]

Book:Wiley's Lament

Wiley's Lament: A Novel

Lono Waiwaiole

Wiley’s Lament is a violent, profane, and graphic look at a life that has spun off its rails in the wrong part of town, but it’s also about remorse, renewal, and the flickering possibility of redemption.

Wiley is a man who ripped his life apart with his bare hands and is now drifting through the remains like a ghost, making ends meet by playing poker when the cards run well enough and ripping off drug dealers when the cards run bad. He is separated from his long-suffering wife-permanently, so far-and his daughter hadn’t spoken to him for a year by the time she turns up in a motel room cut deep, too deep to keep breathing, by a really bad man.

Wiley drifts through the nasty underside of Portland’s sex industry in search of the murderer, but he takes two steps back for every forward stride. His progress impeded by the life he has been living, Wiley reexamines his existence as the bullets…[more]

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