Annal: 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 2007.

Book:The Indian Bride

The Indian Bride: An Inspector Sejer Mystery

Karin Fossum, Charlotte Barslund

When perpetual bachelor Gunder Jomann goes to India for two weeks and comes home married, the town of Elvestad is stunned. On the day the Indian bride is supposed to arrive, the battered body of a woman is found in a meadow on the outskirts of town. None of the “good people of Elvestad” can believe that anyone among them would be capable of such a brutal murder. But in his quiet, formal way, Inspector Konrad Sejer understands that good people can commit atrocious deeds, and that no one is altogether innocent—including the café owner who knows too much, the girl who wants to be a chief witness, and the bodybuilder with no outlet for his terrible strength.

Another brilliantly conceived, dark novel from one of Europe’s most successful crime writers.

Book:Christine Falls

Christine Falls: A Novel

Benjamin Black

In the debut crime novel from the Booker-winning author, a Dublin pathologist follows the corpse of a mysterious woman into the heart of a conspiracy among the city’s high Catholic society.

It’s not the dead that seem strange to Quirke. It’s the living. One night, after a few drinks at an office party, Quirke shuffles down into the morgue where he works and finds his brother-in-law, Malachy, altering a file he has no business even reading. Odd enough in itself to find Malachy there, but the next morning, when the haze has lifted, it looks an awful lot like his brother-in-law, the esteemed doctor, was in fact tampering with a corpse—and concealing the cause of death.

It turns out the body belonged to a young woman named Christine Falls. And as Quirke reluctantly presses on toward the true facts behind her death, he comes up against some insidious—and very well-guarded—secrets of Dublin’s high Catholic society,…[more]

Book:Frozen Tracks

Frozen Tracks: An Inspector Erik Winter Novel

Åke Edwardson

From the land of the midnight sun, a compelling and dark thriller by a master of crime fiction

The autumn gloom comes quickly on the Swedish city of Gothenburg, and for Detective Inspector Erik Winter the days seem even shorter, the nights bleaker, when he is faced with two seemingly unrelated sets of perplexing crimes. The investigation of a series of assaults and a string of child abductions take Winter to “the flats,” the barren prairies of rural Sweden whose wastelands conceal crimes as sinister as the land itself. Winter must deduce the labyrinthine connections between the cases before it is too late and his own family comes into danger. Stylish, haunting, and psychologically astute, Frozen Tracks features characters who would be at home in any American procedural, but with a sensibility that is distinctly European. Frozen Tracks will appeal to fans of Henning Mankell and George Pelecanos, and to anyone who relishes superbly crafted crime novels.

Book:Ice Moon

Ice Moon: A Novel

Jan Costin Wagner

Only a week after losing his wife, a distraught Detective Kimmo Joentaa returns to work to join a murder inquiry. It is the case of a woman smothered in her sleep—a curiously tranquil death, it seems, and one with no motive—and Kimmo becomes obsessed. The only clues are a half-empty bottle of red wine, two glasses, and a missing painting, a blurred landscape of no value. When a young man is found murdered in bed the next day in a hostel room with seven people asleep around him, Kimmo realizes a serial killer must be at work.

As he struggles with the memory of his wife’s early death, Kimmo investigates the murders and tries to understand the mind of the perpetrator, who appears to be quiet, self-effacing, and affable—why then the urge to destroy? Set in Finland during the unnervingly long days of late summer near the top of the world, Ice Moon is an unsettling, poignant mystery.

Book:In the Woods

In the Woods

Tana French

A gorgeously written novel that marks the debut of an astonishing new voice in psychological suspense

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox—his partner and closest friend—find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

Richly atmospheric, stunning in its complexity, and utterly convincing and surprising to the end, In the Woods is sure to enthrall fans of Mystic River and The Lovely Bones.

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