Annal: 2008 Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel

Results of the Barry Award in the year 2008.

Book:Damnation Falls

Damnation Falls

Edward Wright

Randall Wilkes, his big-city journalism career in ruins, has returned after twenty years to Pilgrim’s Rest, the Tennessee hill town where he grew up. He has taken on a lucrative but low-prestige writing job for Sonny McMahan, a former governor and Randall’s boyhood friend, whose own career is under a shadow and who needs a ghost-written autobiography to ease his way back into politics. Faye McMahan, Sonny’s mother, is addled with age, imagining that her dead husband is alive and worrying that her son might be in danger. Amid a violent autumn storm, Randall finds Faye hideously murdered, hanged by the neck from a bridge over the town landmark called Damnation Falls. Within days, another person connected to the McMahan clan is murdered in an even more grisly fashion. And the bones of a third, long-buried murder victim—a young woman—have emerged from the earth.

Randall’s ties to the victims force him to acknowledge debts that go back decades. Drawing on his investigative skills and his roots in the region, he sets out to discover who is behind the killings. His search takes him the length of the state—a land once split by civil war, where history lies close to the surface and tales of murder and betrayal weigh heavily on the town of Pilgrim’s Rest. Before all the answers are in, more people will die, an old score will be settled, and the dead will finally tell their stories.

Book:The 50/50 Killer

The 50/50 Killer

Steve Mosby

Mark Nelson is a young police officer, newly assigned to the team of John Mackey—a highly-decorated and successful detective, and author of a bestselling true crime book based on his years of experience catching killers. Mackey is a legend in the force and it’s a huge opportunity for Mark, who has dedicated his life to his job ever since the death of his girlfriend years before.

When a man is found burned to death in his own home, Mackey’s team is thrown into an investigation that grows darker and more complex at every turn. The evidence points to a man known as the Fifty-Fifty Killer. His targets are young couples, who he stalks and subjects to a single night of torture and manipulation, testing and destroying the love between them. Only one of them ever survives until dawn. And his victims include a former member of Mackey’s team. …[more]

Book:The Death List

The Death List

Paul Johnston

Writer’s block is nothing compared to the sinister assignment London-based novelist Matt Wells has just received. A chain of seemingly innocent e-mails from a devoted fan turns deadly when Matt discovers the correspondent is a cold-blooded killer with an agenda for murder—and his family and friends are among the scheduled victims.

Under close surveillance, Matt is plunged into a plot more twisted than any he has used in his novels. This is the real thing, and with each killing, the man known as the White Devil tightens his grip by incriminating Matt at the murder scenes. Cast not only as the ghostwriter of his persecutor’s terrifying story, but as the victim, Matt needs to risk everything to protect his loved ones. But with the police closing in and his friends being picked off, he is running out of time. The White Devil is out there— and he’s watching.

Book:One Under

One Under

Graham Hurley

A man has been chained inside a tunnel and then dismembered and scattered along the railroad tracks. This is the beginning of Detective Inspector Joe Faraday’s most gruesome case yet. But is it a bizarre suicide, or the cruelest of murders? Checking the list of missing persons as the police attempt to identify the body, Detective Constable Winter comes across a missing man, someone who stepped out of their ordered life with no hint of leaving. He is not the man in the tunnel; he has simply disappeared, and the only person Winter can find who knew him works in the city morgue. These two very different policeman—one awkward and by the book, the other brash and walking the thinnest of lines—must solve two perplexing unsolved crimes.

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:A Quiet Belief in Angels

A Quiet Belief in Angels

R.J. Ellory

Joseph Vaughan’s life has been dogged by tragedy. Growing up in the 1940s, he was at the centre of series of killings of young girls in his small rural community. The girls were taken, assaulted and left horribly mutilated. Barely a teenager himself, Joseph becomes determined to try to protect his community and classmates from the predations of the killer.

But despite banding together with his friends as ‘Guardians’, he was powerless to prevent more murders—and no one was ever caught. Only after a full ten years did the nightmare end when the one of his neighbours is found hanging from a rope—with articles from the dead girls around him. Thankfully though, the killings finally ceased.

Ill-fortune was not yet done with Joseph though and in desperation he leaves the town of his birth to forge a new life in New York. But the past won’t leave him alone—for it seems that the real murderer still lives and is killing again. And the secret of his identity lies in Joseph’s own history?

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