Annal: 2006 Barry Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Barry Award in the year 2006.

Book:Cold Granite

Cold Granite

Stuart MacBride

After a long recuperation from a stab wound, Detective Sergeant Logan McRae’s first night back on duty in Aberdeen, Scotland, takes him to a crime scene where the body of a missing boy has been found on a riverbank. To the horror of even the most experienced cops on the job, all the details point to a ritualistic murder—a serial killer. Then twenty-four hours later, another child goes missing.

The case’s latest developments keep appearing as the next day’s headlines, leading the department to believe one of their own is leaking information. Logan is keen to catch the mole as well as the killer, but even with Police Constable Jackie Watson, assigned to help “ease” him back into the job, it seems impossible.

From the violent world of organized crime to the dark fantasies of a murderer and the naughty games cops play to stay sane, Logan is moving through the Scottish winter in search of a few hard facts. And as the rain turns to snow, as new outrages are discovered, he begins to get his answers: one victim, one deception, and one killer at a time…

Book:The Baby Game

The Baby Game

Randall Hicks

A new attorney, Toby Dillon, hedges his bets by remaining the part-time tennis pro at the country club. Then his idyllic life changes when his two childhood friends, Brogan and Rita, Hollywood’s glamour couple, ask his help in adopting a baby. The media’s feel good story curdles into danger when the baby is kidnapped. When the expected ransom demand never arrives and the police turn up nothing, Toby and Brogan try to find answers on their own. First they think the baby’s birth mother is responsible, but suddenly she’s missing too, and their suspects start turning up dead. They soon learn there’s more at stake than a kidnapping, and the answers may trace back to their shared childhood.

Book:Dark Harbor

Dark Harbor: A Novel

David Hosp

Scott Finn worked his way out of Boston’s toughest neighborhood to become a rising star in the city’s most elite law firm. Now the street smarts that have haunted him are about to become his best means of survival.

On an ordinary Sunday night, the body of one of his closest colleagues—and former lover—is found floating in Boston Harbor, her heart surgically removed from her chest. The once beautiful and ambitious Natalie Caldwell appears to be the seventh victim of “Little Jack,” the Jack-the-Ripper-style murderer terrorizing Boston. Police detective Linda Flaherty isn’t so sure. With Natalie’s death, Finn inherits a coveted, high-profile assignment that could clinch his career: one involving a terrorist train bombing. But as Finn learns more about the circumstances surrounding Natalie’s death, the fabric of the life he has created begins to tear. Suddenly he finds himself the prime suspect in her murder. …[more]

Book:Die a Little

Die a Little: A Novel

Megan Abbott

Shadow-dodging through the glamorous world of 1950s Hollywood and its seedy flip side, Megan Abbott’s debut, Die a Little, is a gem of the darkest hue. This ingenious twist on a classic noir tale tells the story of Lora King, a schoolteacher, and her brother Bill, a junior investigator with the district attorney’s office. Lora’s comfortable, suburban life is jarringly disrupted when Bill falls in love with a mysterious young woman named Alice Steele, a Hollywood wardrobe assistant with a murky past.

Made sisters by marriage but not by choice, the bond between Lora and Alice is marred by envy and mistrust. Spurred on by inconsistencies in Alice’s personal history and possibly jealous of Alice’s hold on her brother, Lora finds herself lured into the dark alleys and mean streets of seamy Los Angeles. Assuming the role of amateur detective, she uncovers a shadowy world of…[more]

Book:The Firemaker

The Firemaker: A Mystery

Peter May

Margaret Campbell, a Chicago forensic pathologist, has been invited by the Chinese government to teach at the Beijing police university. She has accepted the six-week assignment with misgivings but is desperate to escape a troubled life in America.  Arriving in Beijing, she checks “nothing to declare” on the health declaration they gave her on the plane—nothing, that is, “except a broken heart and a wasted life, neither of which was contagious.”

She gets off to a bad start when her car knocks senior detective Li Yan off his bicycle.  In a furious clash, he dresses her down in perfect English.  But Li soon finds himself reintroduced to Margaret by his superiors when the newly promoted detective’s first case requires Margaret’s special expertise to identify a horribly burned corpse.  Thrown together to track down the killer, Margaret and Li must bury their personal and cultural differences when they uncover a conspiracy that threatens not only their lives, but the lives of millions.

Book:Immoral

Immoral: A Novel

Brian Freeman

In a riveting debut thriller that has drawn comparisons to masters of the genre like Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly, Brian Freeman weaves obsession, sex, and revenge into a story that grips the reader with vivid characters and shocking plot twists from the first page to the last.

Lieutenant Jonathan Stride is suffering from an ugly case of déjà vu. For the second time in a year, a beautiful teenage girl has disappeared off the streets of Duluth, Minnesota—gone without a trace, like a bitter gust off Lake Superior. The two victims couldn’t be more different. First it was Kerry McGrath, bubbly, sweet sixteen. And now Rachel Deese, strange, sexually charged, a wild child. The media hounds Stride to catch a serial killer, and as the search carries him from the icy stillness of the northern woods to the erotic heat of Las Vegas, he must decide which facts are real and which are illusions. And Stride finds his own life changed forever by the secrets he uncovers. Secrets that stretch across time in a web of lies, death, and illicit desire. Secrets that are chillingly…immoral.

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