Annal: 2009 John Creasey Memorial New Blood Dagger for a Debuting Author

Results of the Dagger Award in the year 2009.

Book:Echoes from the Dead

Echoes from the Dead

Johan Theorin

On a gray September day, on an island off the coast of Sweden, six -year -old Jens Davidsson ventured out of his backyard, walked out into a fog, and vanished….Now twenty years have passed, and in this magnificent debut novel of suspense—a runaway bestseller in Sweden—the boy’s mother returns to the place where her son disappeared, drawn by a chilling package sent in the mail… In it, lovingly wrapped, is one of Jens’ sandals—sandals Julia Davidsson put on her son’s feet that very last morning.

Now, with only a handful of clues, Julia and her father are questioning islanders who were present the day Jens vanished—and making a shocking connection to Öland’s most notorious murder case: the killing spree of a wealthy young man who fled the island and died years before Jens was even born. Suddenly the island that once seemed so achingly familiar turns strange and dangerous……[more]

Book:Bad Catholics

Bad Catholics

James Green

Jimmy, a former shady Catholic policeman, returns to his London hometown after three years to work at St Barts, a hospice for the disadvantaged. When one of the volunteers is murdered, police investigators realize Jimmy is back and want to know why. Jimmys tumultuous past is revealed, first as an alter boy studying boxing at church, onto his brief time thieving for a local gang. At St Barts, Jimmy uses his knowledge of criminal psychology and the gang scene to solve the murder case without police officers, and takes personal justice on those thatve done him and the community wrong.

Book:The Blood Detective

The Blood Detective: A Mystery

Dan Waddell

When the naked, mutilated body of a man is found in a Notting Hill graveyard and the police investigation led by Detective Chief Inspector Grant Foster and his colleague Detective Superintendent Heather Jenkins yields few results, a closer look at the corpse reveals  that what looked at first glance like superficial knife wounds on the victim’s chest is actually a string of carved letters and numbers, an index number referring to a file in city archives containing birth and death certificates and marriage licenses. Family historian Nigel Barnes is put on the case. As one after another victim is found in various locations all over London, each with a different mutilation but the same index number carved into their skin, Barnes and the police work frantically to figure out how the corresponding files are connected. With no clues to be found in the present, Barnes must now search the archives of the past to solve the mystery behind a string of 100-year-old murders. Only then will it be possible to stop the present series of gruesome killings, but will they be able to do so before the killer ensnares his next victim? Barnes, Foster, and Jenkins enter a race against time—and before the end of the investigation, one of them will get much too close for comfort.

Book:No Way to Say Goodbye

No Way to Say Goodbye

Rod Madocks

…He was a doctor for God’s sake. I was told to strip and they tossed my clothes away saying, ‘You won’t need these here either,’ and I was handed a blue boiler suit to wear. I began to protest but got a slam in the mouth and lost my front teeth. They then pushed me into the pool, to disinfect me, they said. And that was my start in the hospital. I was there eighteen years. They took everything away.
Patient R. Recounted to the author 1997.

Dr Jack Shade’s long time girlfriend vanishes, presumed dead. Through his professional contacts Shade moves to work within the secure hospital system—to try to understand, and take revenge on those who might be responsible.

During his time in the hospital he realises he is as much a prisoner as those he works with. …[more]

Book:Old City Hall

Old City Hall: A Novel

Robert Rotenberg

It should be an open–and–shut case. Canada’s leading radio–show host, Kevin Brace, has confessed to killing his young wife. He had come to the door of his luxury condominium with his hands covered in blood and told the newspaper deliveryman: “I killed her.” His wife’s body lay in the bathtub of their suite, fatal knife wound just below the sternum. Now all that should remain is legal procedure: document the crime scene, prosecute the case, and be done with it.

The trouble is, Brace refuses to talk to anyone—including his own lawyer—after muttering those incriminating words. With the discovery that the victim was actually a self-destructive alcoholic, the appearance of strange fingerprints at the crime scene, and a revealing courtroom cross-examination, the seemingly simple case begins to take on all the complexities of a hotly–contested murder trial.  …[more]

Book:Sweetsmoke

Sweetsmoke: A Novel

David Fuller

The year is 1862, and the Civil War rages through the South. On a Virginia tobacco plantation, another kind of battle soon begins. There, Cassius Howard, a skilled carpenter and slave, risks everything-punishment, sale to a cotton plantation, even his life-to learn the truth concerning the murder of Emoline, a freed black woman, a woman who secretly taught him to read and once saved his life. It is clear that no one cares about her death in the midst of a brutal and hellish war. No one but Cassius, who braves horrific dangers to escape the plantation and avenge her loss.

As Cassius seeks answers about Emoline’s murder, he finds an unexpected friend and ally in Quashee, a new woman brought over from another plantation; and a formidable adversary in Hoke Howard, the master he has always obeyed.

With subtlety and beauty, Sweetsmoke captures the daily indignities and harrowing losses suffered by slaves, the turmoil of a country waging countless wars within its own borders, and the lives of those people fighting for identity, for salvation, and for freedom.

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