Annal: 2008 Barry Award for Best Paperback Original P.I. Novel

Results of the Barry Award in the year 2008.

Book:Queenpin

Queenpin: A Novel

Megan Abbott

A young woman hired to keep the books at a down-at-the-heels nightclub is taken under the wing of the infamous Gloria Denton, a mob luminary who reigned during the Golden Era of Bugsy Siegel and Lucky Luciano. Notoriously cunning and ruthless, Gloria shows her eager young protégée the ropes, ushering her into a glittering demimonde of late-night casinos, racetracks, betting parlors, inside heists, and big, big money. Suddenly, the world is at her feet—as long as she doesn’t take any chances, like falling for the wrong guy. As the roulette wheel turns, both mentor and protégée scramble to stay one step ahead of their bosses and each other.

Book:Black Widow Agency

Black Widow Agency

Felicia Donovan

Strong, sexy, smart, and stealthy! The ladies at the Black Widow Agency aim to bring justice to wronged women like themselves, using a lethal blend of computer forensics, surveillance technology, and women’s intuition. The owner is ex-cop Katie Mahoney, a natural at undercover work. Her competent staff includes Alexandria, the mysterious, black-clad cybergoddess who keeps a pet tarantula; Margot, the crafty office manager, who’s not afraid to don a leather bustier for the cause; and Jane, who crunches numbers amid hot flashes. The four Black Widows form a tight sisterhood—depending on each other for emotional support, laughter, and frequent doses of chocolate.

When the Black Widows hear Amber Gordon’s heartbreaking story of sexual harassment, ending in a ruined career and lost custody of her daughter, they vow to spin a trap for the sexist automotive company run by Amber’s former father-in-law.

Book:Choke Point

Choke Point: A Brinker Mystery

James C. Mitchell

On the streets of Tucson, Arizona, a riot breaks out after a basketball game and a man is shot dead in the street. He carries no identification, and the usual police checks—fingerprints and an artist’s sketch—provide nothing. Was this a case of police brutality, or did someone use the riot to conceal a murder? April Lennox, a young reporter from L.A., has a theory, and she turns to private detective Roscoe Brinker for help.

April received a call from Mexico a few days earlier—a call from a man promising a story of oppression and murder. They arranged to meet the night of the riot. He didn’t show, and April now suspects that her informant and the murder victim are one and the same.

She needs Brinker’s connections in Tucson and across the border, but after being shot and nearly killed in Mexico, he’s…[more]

Book:The Mark

The Mark

Jason Pinter

Right as I’m about to die, I realize all the myths are fake. There’s no white light at the end of a tunnel. My life isn’t flashing before my eyes.

All I can think about is how much I want to live.

I moved to New York City a month ago to become the best journalist the world had ever seen. To find the greatest stories never told. And now here I am—Henry Parker, twenty-four years old and weary beyond rational thought, a bullet one trigger pull from ending my life.

I can’t run. Running is all Amanda and I have done for the past seventy-two hours. And I’m tired. Tired of knowing the truth and not being able to tell it. …[more]

Book:Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand

Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand

Fred Vargas, Siân Reynolds

Internationally acclaimed and bestselling crime writer Fred Vargas will be published for the first time in Canada in hardcover by Knopf Canada.

In this remarkable addition to the Commissaire Adamsberg series, has a serial killer followed Adamsberg to Canada on his training mission?

Between 1943 and 2003, nine people have been stabbed to death with a most unusual weapon: a trident. In each case, arrests were made, suspects confessed their crime and were sentenced to life. One slightly worrying detail: all the presumed murderers lost consciousness during the night of the crime and cannot remember whether they actually did it or not. Commissaire Adamsberg is convinced all the murders are the work of one person: the terrifying Judge Fulgence. Years before, Adamsberg’s own brother had…[more]

Book:Who Is Conrad Hirst?

Who Is Conrad Hirst?: A Novel

Kevin Wignall

Who is Conrad Hirst? Knowing the answer could get you killed. Not knowing could get him killed.

Conrad Hirst is a hired killer working for a German crime boss. Disturbed by the death of his girlfriend ten years earlier and still bearing the scars of post-traumatic stress after serving as a mercenary, he’s valued precisely because of how broken he is, by how coldly he kills, by the solitary existence he leads.

But something has happened on Conrad’s most recent job that’s shattered his equilibrium and left him determined to quit. Fortunately for him, there’s a simple way to leave the business and begin life anew: Only four people know who he is and what he’s done—kill those four people, and Conrad is a free man.

A simple plan, but life is never that simple, and as Conrad’s scheme unravels, he quickly realizes he isn’t the only…[more]

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