Annal: 2005 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for Best Thriller

Results of the Dagger Award in the year 2005.

Book:Brandenburg

Brandenburg

Henry Porter

The Stasi was among the most sophisticated intelligence organisations in the world, but by the end of the 80s the state of East Germany was collapsing around it. The squads of armed officers, the torture chambers in the Stasi jails, the hundreds of thousands of informers could do nothing to prevent the rebellion that saw the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is in the context of these last few paranoid weeks of the Communist world that Brandenburg is set.

Dr Rudi Rosenharte—once a double agent, now an art historian living quietly in Dresden—is summoned to Trieste for a rendezvous with former lover and colleague, Annalise Schering. Yet Rosenharte knows she’s dead: he’d seen her himself, lying in her own bloodied bathwater. So who is this woman, this ghost? The Stasi believes she’s the real Annalise and that she has vital intelligence to impart to Rosenharte, for they have intercepted a letter from her saying exactly that. And to ensure that Rosenharte…[more]

Book:The Apothecary's House

The Apothecary's House

Adrian Mathews

When an old woman storms into the Rijks Museum demanding the return of her painting, archivist Ruth Braams cannot quell her curiosity. Together with Myles, her gay confidant, Ruth delves into the history of the piece of looted Nazi art and discovers an enigmatic picture with a disturbing wartime provenance. It also appears that the elderly Lydia is not the only claimant and, against strict bureau regulations, Ruth endeavours to help strengthen her case. Days later, Ruth begins to receive sinister anonymous threats, warning her to stay away from Lydia and the painting. When the door of her home, a houseboat on the Bloemgracht canal, is covered in graffiti and her gas supply tampered with, Ruth is convinced these are deterrents from the rival claimant. Our irrepressible and emotionally troubled heroine refuses to take them at face value and continues to strike up a friendship with the lonely old lady. But as the threats escalate, Ruth realises that there must be far more to the painting’s popularity, and she enters into a series of increasingly lethal adventures as she investigates the painting’s secret symbolism…

Book:A Blind Eye

A Blind Eye

G.M. Ford

The rules never mattered much to Frank Corso, rogue reporter, successful true crime writer, and honorable loner with a dangerous edge. The fact that two Texas troopers have a warrant with his name on it means nothing to him—except run—which he does in the company of photojournalist Meg Dougherty, his former lover and perhaps one true friend. But the running stops when a furious Midwestern blizzard sends their car crashing to the bottom of an icy hill, and they are forced to seek an escape from the storm in an abandoned Wisconsin house of horrors.

In a shed outside their temporary shelter a shocking discovery awaits Meg and Corso: human bones—a lot of them—the grisly remains of Eldred Holmes and his family. A hideous crime undetected for fifteen years is about to become a top priority for the understaffed local law, who want Corso to investigate. His first move will be to somehow locate the one family member who escaped…[more]

Book:A Death in Vienna

A Death in Vienna

Daniel Silva

The sins of the past reverberate into the present, in an extraordinary novel by the new master of international suspense.

It was an ordinary-looking photograph. Just the portrait of a man. But the very sight of it chilled Allon to the bone.

Art restorer and sometime spy Gabriel Allon is sent to Vienna to authenticate a painting, but the real object of his search becomes something else entirely: to find out the truth about the photograph that has turned his world upside down. It is the face of the unnamed man who brutalized his mother in the last days of World War II, during the Death March from Auschwitz. But is it really the same one? If so, who is he? How did he escape punishment? Where is he now?

Fueled by an intensity he has not felt in years, Allon cautiously begins to investigate; but with each layer that is stripped away, the greater the evil that is revealed, a web stretching across sixty years and thousands of lives. Soon, the quest for…[more]

Book:Double Cross Blind

Double Cross Blind

Joel N. Ross

December 1, 1941

It is seven days before the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Days that are numbered for Sondegger, a Nazi spy captured in London while on a mission to take down the Twenty Committee, a German network of spies the British have turned.

For American Tom Wall, the days have run together as he awakens to find himself locked in a British military asylum. Wounded and shell-shocked, all he knows is that his brother, Earl, betrayed his unit in Crete, causing one of the bloodiest massacres of the war.

MI5 releases Tom by way of a bargain. Pretend to be Earl and convince Sondegger to reveal how and where he has arranged to transmit his intelligence to Germany. Fail, and spend the rest of the war in jail. Succeed, and Tom, though still considered…[more]

Book:A Good Day to Die

A Good Day to Die

Simon Kernick

When Dennis Milne—now living under an assumed identity in the Philippines—hears that his old friend and colleague Malik has been gunned down in a restaurant, he decides to go back to the violent city he once called home, and bring the murderer to book.

Milne arrives in a pre-Christmas London that is cold and hostile. But he is no longer a policeman; no longer charged with keeping the peace and upholding the law.

Although his friends at the King’s Cross station do not know that Milne is back in town, it soon becomes clear that his arrival has been expected by men who are after his blood. Hungry for revenge and determined to uphold his own very rough brand of justice, Milne’s search for the person behind his friend’s death leaves a trail of death and destruction that is more wide-reaching than even he could have expected.

Book:Labyrinth (Kate Mosse)

Labyrinth

Kate Mosse

July 2005. In the Pyrenees mountains near Carcassonne, Alice, a volunteer at an archaeological dig stumbles into a cave and makes a startling discovery-two crumbling skeletons, strange writings on the walls, and the pattern of a labyrinth; between the skeletons, a stone ring, and a small leather bag.

Eight hundred years earlier, on the eve of a brutal crusade to stamp out heresy that will rip apart southern France, Alais is given a ring and a mysterious book for safekeeping by her father as he leaves to fight the crusaders. The book, he says, contains the secret of the true Grail, and the ring, inscribed with a labyrinth, will identify a guardian of the Grail. As crusading armies led by Church potentates and nobles of northern France gather outside the city walls of Carcassonne, it will take great sacrifice to keep the secret of the labyrinth safe.

In the present, another woman sees the find as a means to the political power she craves; while a man who has great power will kill to destroy all traces of the discovery and everyone who stands in his way.

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