Annal: 2005 Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel

Results of the Macavity Award in the year 2005.

Book:Dating Dead Men

Dating Dead Men

Harley Jane Kozak

Los Angeles greeting-card artist and card-and-gift shop manager Wollie Shelley is dating forty men in sixty days as research for radio talk-show host and bestselling author Dr. Cookie Lahven’s upcoming book, How to Avoid Getting Dumped All the Time. Wollie is meeting plenty of eligible bachelors but not falling in love, not until she stumbles over a dead body en route to Rio Pescado–a state-run mental hospital–and is momentarily taken hostage by a charismatic “doctor” who is on the run from the Mob. Wollie fears that her beloved brother, a paranoid schizophrenic living at Rio Pescado, is involved in the murder, so rather than go to the authorities, she decides to solve the crime on her own. As she meets up with an array of small-time crooks and swaggering mobsters (many of whom are a lot more affable and only slightly more sinister than the men she’s been dating), Wollie realizes that “getting dumped” is the least of her problems. Finding true love, she discovers, sometimes means learning how…[more]

Book:Misdemeanor Man

Misdemeanor Man: A Novel

Dylan Schaffer

Gordon Seegerman is a reluctant public defender by day, and the wildly enthusiastic lead singer in a Barry Manilow cover band by night. Perfectly content to handle petty cases for the rest of his career, he dreams that Manilow-the real Barry Manilow-will one day show up at his band’s gig.

When his boss sticks him with a misdemeanor flasher case, Seegerman thinks, no problem. He’ll plead the case, caution his client to keep his trousers zipped, and rush back to rehearsal. No such luck. The flasher is rotting in a maximum security unit, and opposing counsel is the woman who stole, and refuses to return, Seegerman’s heart.

When his client vanishes and a key witness winds up dead, Seegerman lands in the legal tangle of his career. His bandmates in tow, he uncovers corruption among his city’s most prominent citizens. Like it or not, Seegerman has to act like a real lawyer.…[more]

Book:Summer of the Big Bachi

Summer of the Big Bachi: A Mas Arai Mystery

Naomi Hirahara

In the foothills of Pasadena, Mas Arai is just another Japanese-American gardener, his lawnmower blades clean and sharp, his truck carefully tuned. But while Mas keeps lawns neatly trimmed, his own life has gone to seed. His wife is dead. And his livelihood is falling into the hands of the men he once hired by the day. For Mas, a life of sin is catching up to him. And now bachi—the spirit of retribution—is knocking on his door.

It begins when a stranger comes around, asking questions about a nurseryman who once lived in Hiroshima, a man known as Joji Haneda. By the end of the summer, Joji will be dead and Mas’s own life will be in danger. For while Mas was building a life on the edge of the American dream, he has kept powerful secrets: about three friends long ago, about two lives entwined, and about what really happened when the bomb fell on Hiroshima in August 1945.

A spellbinding mystery played out from war-torn Japan to the rich tidewaters of L.A.’s multicultural landscape, this stunning debut novel weaves a powerful tale of family, loyalty, and the price of both survival and forgiveness.

Book:Uncommon Grounds

Uncommon Grounds

Sandra Balzo

Patricia Harper is dead, killed in Uncommon Grounds, her gourmet coffee store. Maggy Thorsen wants to know who killed one of her partners. She joins forces with Sarah Kingstown, Particia’s closet friend to investigate the killing. Together, they uncover unsavory samll-town politics, bribes, kickbacks, and rampant infidelity. Before she’s through, Maggie’s sense of right and wrong will be shaken to its foundations. For once in her life she is forced to draw her own line in the sand, and be prepared to defend it.

Book:Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Sour: A Jack Daniels Mystery

J.A. Konrath

Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels is having a bad week. Her live-in boyfriend has left her for his personal trainer, chronic insomnia has caused her to max out her credit cards with late-night home shopping purchases, and a frightening killer who calls himself “The Gingerbread Man” is dumping mutilated bodies in her district.

Between avoiding the FBI and its moronic profiling computer, joining a dating service, mixing it up with street thugs, and parrying the advances of an uncouth PI, Jack and her binge-eating partner, Herb, must catch the maniac before he kills again…and Jack is next on his murder list.

Whiskey Sour is full of laugh-out-loud humor and edge-of-your-seat suspense, and it introduces a fun, fully drawn heroine in the grand tradition of Kinsey Millhone, Stephanie Plum, and Kay Scarpetta.

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