Annal: 2005 Edgar Allan Poe Award® for Best First Novel

Results of the Edgar Allan Poe Award® in the year 2005.

Book:Country of Origin

Country of Origin: A Novel

Don Lee

Lisa Countryman vanishes in Tokyo in 1980. The young U.S. Embassy official assigned to her case, Tom Hurley, is in over his head, tangled in an unsavory love affair with the wife of a CIA officer. Lisa’s best chance at being found may lie in the improbable hands of Kenzo Ota, a neurotic Japanese cop ridiculed by his peers. Worse, Lisa likely disappeared into the shadow world of Tokyo’s sex trade, where a bewildering variety of clubs cater to every imaginable male fantasy, lust, and perversion.

The mystery of Lisa’s disappearance is intertwined with the mystery of her origins as an ainoko, a half-breed. For Lisa, as with others involved in her case, alienation and belonging, love and hate, are bound up with race. Every man—guilty and innocent—who seeks her has to come to terms with his own nature and character.

Book:Bahamarama

Bahamarama

Bob Morris

Two years in a Florida federal prison on bogus charges has made former Miami Dophins linebacker, Zack Chasteen, stir crazy. The first step toward getting his life back together is meeting up with his beautiful magazine mogul girlfriend, Barbara, on Harbor Island in the Bahamas. But making it out of Florida proves to be more trouble than a gator with a toothache—and even deadlier. Zack barely leaves the state alive before he discovers Barbara’s been kidnapped and her ex-lover, a photographer, murdered.

Once again trouble has come knocking on Zack’s door. But this time he’s fighting back, with the help of a Royal Bahamanian police superintendent, his trusted mystical Taino Indian friend Boggy, and a cast of the most colorful characters ever to step into the warm Bahama sun.

As unpredictable as island trade winds, Bahamarama twists and turns its way to a stunning conclusion and announces the arrival of a writer who is sure to surprise and delight mystery fans for years to come.

Book:The Cloud Atlas

The Cloud Atlas

Liam Callanan

Set against the magnificent backdrop of Alaska in the waning days of World War II, The Cloud Atlas is an enthralling debut novel, a story of adventure and awakening—and of a young soldier who came to Alaska on an extraordinary, top-secret mission…and found a world that would haunt him forever.

Drifting through the night, whisper-quiet, they were the most sublime manifestations of a desperate enemy: Japanese balloon bombs. Made of rice paper, at once ingenious and deadly, they sailed thousands of miles across the Pacific…and once they started landing, the U.S. scrambled teams to find and defuse them, and then keep them secret from an already anxious public. Eighteen-year-old Louis Belk was one of those men. Dispatched to the Alaskan frontier, young Sergeant Belk was better trained in bomb disposal than in keeping secrets. And the mysteries surrounding his mission only increased when he met his superior officer—a brutal…[more]

Book:Little Girl Lost

Little Girl Lost

Richard Aleas

Miranda Sugarman was supposed to be in the Midwest, working as an eye doctor. So how did she wind up shot to death on the roof of New York’s seediest strip club? It’s up to detective John Blake to uncover his ex-girlfriend’s secret life as a striptease queen. But the deeper he digs, the darker the secrets he uncovers, until a shattering face-off in an East Village tenement changes his life forever…

Book:Relative Danger

Relative Danger

Charles Benoit

Picture a hotel room in 1948 Singapore. Picture a dispute between black marketer and thief Russell Pearce and an associate-an associate who opens fire and murders Russell Pearce. Fast forward to present-day Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Young Doug Pearce, just fired from his steady job in the brewery, has never strayed far from home. But he’s always found stories of his Uncle Russ, the family black sheep, fascinating.

In comes a letter from an old friend of his dead uncle inviting him up to Toronto. Doug, at loose ends and bored with killing time, accepts. On arrival, he learns that wealthy and glamorous Edna has an agenda: she has assembled enough clues to solve the murder of Russell Pearce and to recover a legendary red diamond he was thought to be smuggling. Doug, nervous but game, agrees to play detective. How bad can it be to jet off to a glamour spot or two and have an adventure? …[more]

Book:Tonight I Said Goodbye

Tonight I Said Goodbye

Michael Koryta

Michael Koryta’s Tonight I Said Goodbye marks the emergence of a stunning new voice in crime fiction. With its edge-of-your-seat pacing, finely drawn characters, and rock-solid prose, Tonight I Said Goodbye would seem to be the work of a grizzled pro; the fact that the author is just twenty-one years old makes it all the more amazing.

Investigator Wayne Weston is found dead of an apparent suicide in his home in an upscale Cleveland suburb, and his wife and six-year-old daughter are missing. Weston’s father insists that private investigators Lincoln Perry and Joe Pritchard take the case to exonerate his son and find his granddaughter and daughter-in-law. As they begin to work they discover there is much more to the situation than has been described in the prevalent media reports. There are rumors of gambling debts and extortion, and a group of Russians with ties to organized crime who don’t appreciate being investigated—a point they make clear with baseball…[more]

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