Annal: 2008 Barry Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Barry Award in the year 2008.

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.

Book:The Bethlehem Murders

The Bethlehem Murders: An Omar Yussef Mystery

Matt Beynon Rees

Omar Yussef has taught history to the children of Bethlehem for as long as anyone can remember. When a favourite former pupil, George Saba, is arrested over a murder, Omar is convinced that he has been framed. With George facing imminent execution, Omar sets out to prove his innocence.

As Omar falls foul of his headmaster and the local police chief, time begins to run out for this teacher-turned-detective. His classroom is bombed and members of his family are threatened. But with no one else willing to stand up for the truth, it is up to Omar to act, even as bloodshed and heartbreak surround him.

Book:Big City, Bad Blood

Big City, Bad Blood: A Novel

Sean Chercover

Disillusioned newspaper reporter-turned-private detective Ray Dudgeon doesn’t want to save the world; he just wants to do an honest job well. But when doing an honest job threatens society’s most powerful and corrupt, Ray’s odds of survival make for a sucker’s bet…

A simple bodyguard job for a Hollywood locations manager uncovers a rats’ nest of sexual blackmail, murder, and high-level political corruption…and Ray Dudgeon is caught in a war between the FBI, the Chicago police, and the mob. With the line between good and bad blurring, Ray doesn’t know who he can trust—or if he can even trust himself.

Book:The Blade Itself

The Blade Itself: A Thriller

Marcus Sakey

On the South Side of Chicago, you’re only as strong as your reputation. Danny Carter and his best friend Evan earned theirs knocking over pawnshops and liquor stores, living from score to score, never thinking of tomorrow…until, in the roar of a gun blast, everything changed.

Years later, Danny has built a new life: a legitimate career, a long-term girlfriend, and a clean conscience. He’s just like anyone else. Normal. Successful. Happy. Until then he spots his old partner staring him down in a smoky barroom mirror…

Now, with all he loves on the line and nowhere to turn, Danny realizes his new life hinges on a terrible choice: How far will he go to protect his future from his past?

Book:Missing Witness

Missing Witness: A Novel

Gordon Campbell

In this electrifying debut thriller, a brilliant defense lawyer takes on a murder case with ingenious twists

Phoenix, Arizona, 1973. A beautiful woman, armed with a gun and accompanied by her twelve-year-old daughter, enters a house. Shots are fired. The woman and her daughter leave the house. Inside, her husband lies dead.

The case seems open and shut. The cops, the attorney general’s office, and the media are certain the woman is guilty. The only witness to the shooting is in a catatonic state and cannot testify. But the murdered man’s wealthy father believes he owes the woman something and hires Dan Morgan, the best lawyer in Phoenix, to defend her.

When the legendary criminal attorney takes on a case it’s to win, no matter what the odds. But for Morgan and his young protégé, Doug McKenzie, there are no easy answers, only mysteries, and the question of innocence and guilt take on profound…[more]

Book:The Spellman Files

The Spellman Files: A Novel

Lisa Lutz

Meet Isabel “Izzy” Spellman, private investigator. This twenty-eight-year-old may have a checkered past littered with romantic mistakes, excessive drinking, and creative vandalism; she may be addicted to Get Smart reruns and prefer entering homes through windows rather than doors—but the upshot is she’s good at her job as a licensed private investigator with her family’s firm, Spellman Investigations. Invading people’s privacy comes naturally to Izzy. In fact, it comes naturally to all the Spellmans. If only they could leave their work at the office. To be a Spellman is to snoop on a Spellman; tail a Spellman; dig up dirt on, blackmail, and wiretap a Spellman.

Part Nancy Drew, part Dirty Harry, Izzy walks an indistinguishable line between Spellman family member and Spellman employee. Duties include: completing assignments from the bosses, aka Mom and Dad (preferably without scrutiny); appeasing her chronically…[more]

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