Annal: 2007 Barry Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Barry Award in the year 2007.

Book:Still Life

Still Life: An Inspector Gamache Mystery

Louise Penny

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods, and is soon certain that Jane Neal died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.

Still Life introduces not only an engaging series hero in Inspector Gamache, who commands his forces—and this series—with integrity and quiet courage, but also a winning and talented new writer of traditional mysteries in the person of Louise Penny.

Book:The Berlin Conspiracy

The Berlin Conspiracy: A Novel

Tom Gabbay

Jack Teller is through with the CIA—until the Berlin station is contacted by a Colonel in the East German Stasi just days before President John F. Kennedy’s scheduled visit to the Wall. The Stasi officer has an important message—and he will speak to no one but Jack.

The informant claims a treacherous plot is brewing to assassinate the American president in Germany—a conspiracy originating at the highest levels of the U.S. government. Only Jack Teller believes the threat is real, and it has left him alienated and alone in a divided city that holds too many dark secrets. And if he forgets the two essential truths of the espionage game—that lies are currency and nothing is what it seems—he won’t live to prevent a global catastrophe.

Book:The Faithful Spy

The Faithful Spy

Alex Berenson

A New York Times reporter has drawn upon his experience covering the occupation in Iraq to write the most gripping and chillingly plausible thriller of the post-9/11 era. Alex Berenson’s debut novel of suspense, The Faithful Spy, is a sharp, explosive story that takes readers inside the war on terror as fiction has never done before.

John Wells is the only American CIA agent ever to penetrate al Qaeda. Since before the attacks in 2001, Wells has been hiding in the mountains of Pakistan, biding his time, building his cover. Now, on the orders of Omar Khadri–the malicious mastermind plotting more al Qaeda strikes on America–Wells is coming home. Neither Khadri nor Jennifer Exley, Wells’s superior at Langley, knows quite what to expect.

For Wells has changed during his years in the mountains. He has become a Muslim. He finds the United States decadent and…[more]

Book:A Field of Darkness

A Field of Darkness: A Novel

Cornelia Read

Madeline Dare isn’t your average detective. Born into a blue-blood family, she followed her heart to marry ruggedly handsome Dean, a farmboy-genius investor who’s as far from high society as humanly possible. Now Maddie’s stuck in the post-industrial wasteland of Syracuse, New York, while her husband spends weeks on the road perfecting the railway equipment innovation that might be their only chance to escape. She can handle churning out lightweight features for the local paper—it’s the Dean-less nights in their dingy, WASP-castoff-crammed apartment that Maddie can’t stomach.

Obsession trumps angst when a set of long-buried dog tags link her favorite cousin to the scene of a vicious double homicide. Drawn by the desire to clear her cousin’s name, Maddie uncovers a startling web of intrigue and family secrets that could prove even more deadly.

Book:The King of Lies

The King of Lies: A Novel

John Hart

John Hart creates a literary thriller that is as suspenseful as it is poignant, a riveting murder mystery layered beneath the southern drawl of a humble North Carolina lawyer. When Work Pickens finds his father murdered, the investigation pushes a repressed family history to the surface and he sees his own carefully constructed façade begin to crack.

Work’s troubled sister, her combative girlfriend, his gold digging socialite wife, and an unrequited lifelong love join a cast of small town characters that create no shortage of drama in this extraordinary, fast-paced suspense novel.

Hart’s mastery of prose and plot belie his newcomer status as he explores the true heart of a man. An illuminating anatomy of a murder and the ripple effect it produces within a family and a community, The King of Lies is a stunning debut.

Book:Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects: A Novel

Gillian Flynn

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s Preaker’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

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