Annal: 2004 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for Best Thriller

Results of the Dagger Award in the year 2004.

Book:Garden of Beasts

Garden of Beasts: A Novel of Berlin 1936

Jeffery Deaver

Paul Schumann, a German American living in New York City in 1936, is a mobster hitman known as much for his brilliant tactics as for taking only “righteous” assignments. But then Paul gets caught. And the arresting officer offers him a stark choice: prison or covert government service. Paul is asked to pose as a journalist covering the summer Olympics taking place in Berlin. He’s to hunt down and kill Reinhard Ernst—the ruthless architect of Hitler’s clandestine rearmament. If successful, Paul will be pardoned and given the financial means to go legit; if he refuses the job, his fate will be Sing Sing and the electric chair.

Paul travels to Germany, takes a room in a boardinghouse near the Tiergarten—the huge park in central Berlin but also, literally, the “Garden of Beasts”—and begins his hunt. In classic Deaver fashion, the next forty-eight hours are a feverish cat-and-mouse chase, as Paul stalks Ernst through Berlin while a dogged Berlin police officer and the entire Third Reich apparatus…[more]

Book:The Confessor

The Confessor

Daniel Silva

In Munich, a Jewish scholar is assassinated. In Venice, Mossad agent and art restorer Gabriel Allon receives the news, puts down his brushes, and leaves immediately. And at the Vatican, the new pope vows to uncover the truth about the church’s response to the Holocaust-while a powerful cardinal plots his next move.

Now, as Allon follows a trail of secrets and unthinkable deeds, the lives of millions are changed forever-and the life of one man becomes expendable…

Book:Dead I Well May Be

Dead I Well May Be: A Novel

Adrian McKinty

This Irish bad-boy thriller—set in the hardest streets of New York City—brims with violence, greed, and sexual betrayal.

“I didn’t want to go to America, I didn’t want to work for Darkey White. I had my reasons. But I went.”

So admits Michael Forsythe, an illegal immigrant escaping the Troubles in Belfast. But young Michael is strong and fearless and clever—just the fellow to be tapped by Darkey, a crime boss, to join a gang of Irish thugs struggling against the rising Dominican powers in Harlem and the Bronx. The time is pre-Giuliani New York, when crack rules the city, squatters live furtively in ruined buildings, and hundreds are murdered each month. Michael and his lads tumble through the streets, shaking down victims,…[more]

Book:Hard Landing (Stephen Leather)

Hard Landing

Stephen Leather

Dan “Spider” Shepherd is used to putting his life on the line. Working for an elite undercover squad he has lied, cheated and conned in order to bring Britain’s most wanted criminals to justice. But when a powerful drugs baron starts to kill off witnesses to his crimes, Shepherd is given his most dangerous assignment yet. He has to go undercover in a top security prison, a world where one wrong move will mean certain death. As Shepherd gambles everything to move in on his quarry, he soon realises that the man he is hunting is even more dangerous than the police realise. And that he is capable of striking outside the prison walls and hitting Shepherd where it hurts most.

Book:Paranoia

Paranoia: A Novel

Joseph Finder

Adam Cassidy is twenty-six and a low level employee at a high-tech corporation who hates his job. When he manipulates the system to do something nice for a friend, he finds himself charged with a crime. Corporate Security gives him a choice: prison—or become a spy in the headquarters of their chief competitor, Trion Systems.

They train him. They feed him inside information. Now, at Trion, he’s a star, skyrocketing to the top. He finds he has talents he never knew he possessed. He’s rich, drives a Porsche, lives in a fabulous apartment, and works directly for the CEO. He’s dating the girl of his dreams.

His life is perfect. And all he has to do to keep it that way is betray everyone he cares about and everything he believes in. …[more]

Book:Tokyo

Tokyo

Mo Hayder

Student Grey Hutchins comes to Tokyo seeking answers to what happened during the notorious Nanking Massacre in which, in one city, the Imperial Japanese Army killed up to 300,000 civilians. With its focus on 1980’s Tokyo and China in the late 1930s, and a woman who has quite a lot to prove and even more to hide, this is a literary thriller of the highest order. With its heady atmosphere of overt violence, lurking fear and sexual tension, Tokyo is a novel that takes hold of the reader and does not let go until its explosive final pages.

Book:The Warlord's Son

The Warlord's Son

Dan Fesperman

Dan Fesperman takes us to present-day Afghanistan—the global capital of death long before it became a battleground for America—where the fates of an American journalist and a Pakistani translator become dangerously intertwined with the fortunes of warlords, spies, and dubious corporate interests.

A burned-out war correspondent hoping for a last hurrah in Afghanistan, Skelly arrives on the Afghan border just as American bombs begin falling on the ruling Taliban. Seeking the scoop of a lifetime as witness to the capture of “the biggest fish of them all,” he links up with an exiled warlord’s quixotic expedition. Guiding Skelly’s way is Najeeb, a tribal Pakistani with his own objective—U. S. visas for his girlfriend and himself, promised by Pakistani intelligence if he acts as an informant.

A harrowing crossing into Afghanistan is only the beginning of trouble for the two men. Their journey quickly escalates into a race for their lives as they are pulled into a vortex of intrigue, betrayal, and violence. Finally, only their loyalty to each other holds out the possibility of survival for either of them.

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