Annal: 2009 Barry Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Barry Award in the year 2009.

Book:Child 44

Child 44: A Novel

Tom Rob Smith

MGB officer Leo is a man who never questions the Party Line. He arrests whomever he is told to arrest. He dismisses the horrific death of a young boy because he is told to, because he believes the Party stance that there can be no murder in Communist Russia. Leo is the perfect soldier of the regime.

But suddenly his confidence that everything he does serves a great good is shaken. He is forced to watch a man he knows to be innocent be brutally tortured. And then he is told to arrest his own wife.

Leo understands how the State works: Trust and check, but check particularly on those we trust. He faces a stark choice: his wife or his life.

And still the killings of children continue…

Book:A Carrion Death

A Carrion Death: Introducing Detective Kubu

Michael Stanley

Smashed skull, snapped ribs, and a cloying smell of carrion. Leave the body for the hyenas to devour—no body, no case.

But Kalahari game rangers stumble on the human corpse mid-meal. The murder wasn’t perfect after all. Enter Detective David “Kubu” Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department, an investigator whose personality and physique match his moniker, the Setswana word for hippopotamus—which is a seemingly docile beast, but one of the deadliest, and most persistent, on the continent.

Beneath a mountain of lies and superstitions, Kubu uncovers a chain of crimes leading to the most powerful figures in the country—cold-bloodedly efficient and frighteningly influential enemies who can make anyone who gets in their way disappear.

Book:City of the Sun

City of the Sun: A Novel

David Levien

Private detective Frank Behr has been perfectly content living a solitary life, working on a few simple cases, and attempting to move on from his painful past. But when Paul and Carol Gabriel ask him to help them find their missing son, he can hardly refuse. Going against everything he fears—Behr’s been around too long to hope for a happy ending—he enters into an uneasy partnership with Paul on a quest for the truth that will become both dangerous and haunting.

Richly textured and crackling with suspense on every page, City of the Sun weaves a moody narrative that hinges on the bond between a damaged detective and a lost father. From the antiseptic comforts of suburban Indianapolis to the city’s seamy underworld, David Levien introduces a private investigator as complex, idiosyncratic, and sympathetic as any in modern crime fiction. Levien is a gifted storyteller who will keep readers guessing rightup until the final, explosive scene.

Book:The Kind One

The Kind One

Tom Epperson

In 1930’s Los Angeles, someone desperately wants to know who Danny Landon is. That someone is Danny Landon himself. All the young man really knows about himself is that some terrible incident has erased his memory. Danny’s boss is a mobster named Bud Seitz—a vicious, sadistic killer who’s been given the ironic nickname of “The Kind One.” According to Seitz, Danny’s amnesia is the result of being hit in the head with a lead pipe. But Danny’s not sure of anything. How can he be a gangster when he doesn’t feel like one?

It’s not easy being the right-hand man to a big criminal, and it gets harder when Danny’s ordered to keep an eye on Bud’s lovely young girlfriend, Darla. Danny can’t help but fall in love with her. To make matters worse, Danny’s life at his bungalow-court apartment is no picnic as he’s constantly having to rescue his 11-year-old neighbor Sophie from an abusive home…[more]

Book:Stalking Susan

Stalking Susan: A Novel

Julie Kramer

Inside the desperate world of TV news, a reporter discovers a serial killer is targeting women named Susan.

Riley Spartz is recovering from a heartbreaking, headline-making catastrophe of her own when a Minneapolis police source drops two homicide files in her lap.Both cold cases involve women named Susan strangled on the same day, one year apart. Riley sees a pattern between those murders and others pulled from old death records. As the deadly anniversary approaches, she stages a bold on-air stunt to draw the killer out and uncover a motive that will leave readers breathless.

Book:Sweeping Up Glass

Sweeping Up Glass

Carolyn D. Wall

1938: Olivia and the boy, Will’m, run Harker’s Grocery and live in the cold-water kitchen behind the store. Money is scarce; business is bad. Out back, Pap is buried near the outhouse, and Olivia’s crazy mother Ida is living in a tarpaper shack.

For 30 years, Olivia has loved Wing Harris, who plays a mean trumpet and owns the Kentuckian Hotel. For decades, they’ve shared only howdies at Ruse’s Café.

This may be the coldest winter on record in Kentucky, but that doesn’t keep the elusive Hunt Club from tracking silver-faced wolves on Olivia’s strip of mountain. It falls to her and Will’m to figure out why as the hunters turn their sights on them, too.

Then, one frozen night, Will’m’s mother comes back for him. The some terrible secrets explode among the Rowe Street…[more]

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