Annal: 2006 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for Best Thriller

Results of the Dagger Award in the year 2006.

Book:Mr Clarinet

Mr Clarinet: A Max Mingus Thriller

Nick Stone

It was a job Miami private investigator Max Mingus found hard to refuse: $10 million to locate billionaire’s son Charlie Carver—missing now for over three years.

Young Charlie disappeared on the island of Haiti, where over the decades scores of children have vanished. In a country dominated by voodoo, rumours abound of black magic and a mythical figure called “Mr Clarinet”, who for years has been tempting children away from their families.

But could the truth be even more shocking than the legend?

To find out, Max will have to succeed where previous detectives have not only failed—but where some have died. And suddenly, this job isn’t all about finding Charlie or his killers for the money—it’s just about staying alive…

Book:Contact Zero

Contact Zero: A Novel

David Wolstencroft

Ben Locke is a recent graduate of Spy School and anxious to succeed on his first assignment. Like everyone in the Agency, he’s heard the stories about Contact Zero. When you have nowhere left to turn, when all is lost, only Contact Zero can save you. Some say it’s an isolated hideout run by ex-members of the Agency. Others say he’s a father figure, ready to protect and care for the dispossessed. To most, it’s an old spies’ tale, a myth to be whispered about behind closed doors and quickly dismissed as fantasy.

But during Ben’s operation in South America, he is brutally framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Barely escaping with his life, he finds himself suddenly cast out by his handlers in London. On this same day, across the globe, seven of his fellow classmates have been found dead. The three left behind—Ben, Lucy, and Nat—must join forces and quickly discover that, myth or no myth, Contact Zero is their only chance for survival. What ensues is a spellbinding quest that takes them from South America to the capitals of Europe in search of the most elusive treasure a fugitive spy can attain—sanctuary.

Book:The English Assassin

The English Assassin

Daniel Silva

Gabriel Allon had done much in his lifetime. A sometime Israeli spy by trade, an art restorer by preference, he knew more than he wanted to know about death and betrayal and secrets, but that didn’t keep him from being surprised by the scene before him now.

An assignment to clean an Old Master at the home of a millionaire banker had led him to a house in Zurich, and standing in the room now, he smelled the odor of salt and rust, felt the dampness of the carpet beneath his feet. He touched his fingers to the carpet and brought them to his face. He was standing in blood. And he knew his life would never be the same.

Before he is through, Allon will find himself swept into a spiraling chain of events involving stolen art, a decades-old suicide, and a dark and bloody trail of killings—some of them his own. The spy world he thought he had put aside will envelope him once again. And he will battle for his life against the assassin he himself helped train, and who will demonstrate to his teacher just how much he has learned.

Book:The Lincoln Lawyer

The Lincoln Lawyer: A Novel

Michael Connelly

Mickey Haller has spent all his professional life afraid that he wouldn’t recognize innocence if it stood right in front of him. But what he should have been on the watch for was evil. Haller is a Lincoln Lawyer, a criminal defense pro who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car, to defend the clients at the bottom of the legal food chain. It’s no wonder that he is despised by cops, prosecutors, and even some of his own clients. From bikers to con artists to drunk drivers and drug dealers, they’re all on Mickey Haller’s client list. But when a Beverly Hills rich boy is arrested for brutally beating a woman, Haller has his first high-paying client in years. It’s a franchise case and he’s sure it will be a slam dunk in the courtroom. For once, he may be defending a client who is actually innocent. But an investigator is murdered for getting too close to the truth and Haller quickly discovers that his search for innocence has taken him face-to-face with a kind of evil as pure as a flame. To escape without being burned, Haller must use all of his skills to manipulate a system in which he no longer believes.

Book:The Mercy Seat: A Joe Donovan Thriller

The Mercy Seat: A Joe Donovan Thriller

Martyn Waites

A research scientist has gone missing. An ace newspaper reporter has disappeared; so has a minidisc, along with its incriminating evidence. And a teenage hustler is on the run. In his pursuer, the Hammer, a skin-headed professional killer with a blue sapphire tooth and a taste for death metal, “the principle of evil” has indeed been “made flesh.”

From its staggering opening to an electrifying finish, its prose pumping adrenaline all the way, Martyn Waites’ new novel wrests former investigative journalist Joe Donovan out of his reclusion in Newcastle. His heart broken by the disappearance of his six-year-old son two years earlier-a case that remains unsolved-he now finds his destiny entwined with that of the streetwise but vulnerable and frightened teenager Jamal. For on the minidisc, lifted by an unwitting Jamal, lies a crucial, increasingly perilous link to Donovan’s past.

Unsettling and unpredictable, this taut, compelling page-turner of a novel delivers point-blank every unexpected narrative hit, twist, and turn as it leads Donovan finally to the terror of the mercy seat.

Book:Pig Island

Pig Island

Mo Hayder

Journalist Joe Oakes makes a living exposing supernatural hoaxes. A born sceptic, he believes everything has a rational explanation.But when he visits a secretive religious community on a remote Scottish island, everything he thought he knew is overturned.

Questions mount: Why has the community been accused of Satanism? What has happened to their leader, Pastor Malachi Dove? And perhaps most important, why will no one discuss the strange apparition seen wandering the lonely beaches of Pig Island?

Their confrontation, and its violent and bloody aftermath, is so catastrophic that it forces Oaksey to question the nature of evil, and whether he might not be responsible for the terrible crime about to unfold.

In her compulsive and haunting new novel, Mo Hayder dares her readers to face their fears head on and to look at what lurks beneath the surface of everyday normality. Pig Island is about the unspeakable things people can do to each other. Brace yourself for a terrifying read.

Book:Sweet Gum

Sweet Gum

Jo-Ann Goodwin

Eugene Burnside joined The Firm before he left school, running drugs. Clever and ambitious, Eugene’s now 28 and definitely going places because he’s come to the attention of the Faron Brothers, and the Brothers are The Firm. And promotion couldn’t come a moment to soon for Eugene if it means he no longer has to deal with middleman Mal Shifter and his two old aunts. Or those dogs. The lot of them give him the creeps. If Eugene’s gangland career is going well, his personal life is not so sweet. The Burnside family moved to Wentworth Road when Eugene was a toddler. He still lives there, with his widowed mum, Gladys, and his sister Simone. The star of SweetHearts lap-dancing club, sis is doing alright too. Eugene is devoted to them both. He wished he felt the same about Simone’s six year-old son, Nero—aka the Minimonster—Eugene knows ‘disturbed’ isn’t the half of it.

But evil has come to haunt the alleys and arches of North London—a sado-sexual killer has begun his grisly work—and…[more]

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