Annal: 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 2009.

Book:The Ghosts of Belfast

The Ghosts of Belfast

Stuart Neville

Fegan has been a “hard man,” an IRA killer in northern Ireland. Now that peace has come, he is being haunted day and night by twelve ghosts: a mother and infant, a schoolboy, a butcher, an RUC constable, and seven other of his innocent victims. In order to appease them, he’s going to have to kill the men who gave him orders.

As he’s working his way down the list he encounters a woman who may offer him redemption; she has borne a child to an RUC officer and is an outsider too. Now he has given Fate—and his quarry—a hostage. Is this Fegan’s ultimate mistake?

Book:Black Water Rising

Black Water Rising: A Novel

Attica Locke

Writing in the tradition of Dennis Lehane and Greg Iles, Attica Locke delivers a brilliant debut thriller that readers will not soon forget.

Jay Porter is hardly the lawyer he set out to be. His most promising client is a low-rent call girl and he runs his fledgling law practice out of a dingy strip mall. But he’s long since made peace with not living the American Dream and carefully tucked away his darkest sins: the guns, the FBI file, the trial that nearly destroyed him.

Houston, Texas, 1981. It is here that Jay believes he can make a fresh start. That is, until the night in a boat out on the bayou when he impulsively saves a woman from drowning—and opens a Pandora’s box. Her secrets put Jay in danger, ensnaring him in a murder investigation that could cost him his practice, his family, and even his life. But before he can get to the bottom…[more]

Book:Bury Me Deep

Bury Me Deep: A Novel

Megan Abbott

In October 1931, a station agent found two large trunks abandoned in Los Angeles’s Southern Pacific Station. What he found inside ignited one of the most scandalous tabloid sensations of the decade.

Inspired by this notorious true crime, Edgar®-winning author Megan Abbott’s novel Bury Me Deep is the story of Marion Seeley, a young woman abandoned in Phoenix by her doctor husband. At the medical clinic where she finds a job, Marion becomes fast friends with Louise, a vivacious nurse, and her roommate, Ginny, a tubercular blonde. Before long, the demure Marion is swept up in the exuberant life of the girls, who supplement their scant income by entertaining the town’s most powerful men with wild parties. At one of these events, Marion meets—and falls hard for—the charming Joe Lanigan, a local rogue and politician on the rise, whose ties to all three women bring events to a dangerous collision.

A story born of Jazz Age decadence and Depression-era desperation, Bury Me Deep—with its hothouse of jealousy, illicit sex and shifting loyalties—is a timeless portrait of the dark side of desire and the glimmer of redemption.

Book:A Darker Domain

A Darker Domain: A Novel

Val McDermid

Past and present intertwine in this rare stand-alone novel of taut psychological drama—a brilliant exploration of loyalty and greed from the bestselling mistress of suspense.

Fife, Scotland, 1985. Heiress Catriona Maclennan Grant and her baby son are kidnapped. The ransom payoff goes horribly wrong and Grant is killed. Her son disappears without a trace—until 2008, when a tourist in Tuscany stumbles upon dramatic new evidence that reopens the investigation.

Fife, 1984. At the height of the politically charged national miners’ strike, Mick Prentice abandons his family to join the strikebreakers down south. Labelled a blackleg scab, he’s as good as dead as far as his friends and relatives care. Twenty-three years later, a young woman walks into a police station to report Mick Prentice missing. Detective Karen Pirie, head of the…[more]

Book:The Hidden Man

The Hidden Man

David Ellis

Jason Kolarich is a midwestern Everyman with a lineman’s build and an easy smart-ass remark. He’s a young, intelligent maverick, but he’s also struggling with an overwhelming emotional burden—one that threatens to unravel his own life, and possibly the lives of those around him.

Twenty-seven years ago, two-year-old Audrey Cutler disappeared from her home in the middle of the night. She was never found. All the detectives had to go on were vague eyewitness accounts of a man running down the Cutlers’ street, apparently carrying someone. Without enough evidence to suggest otherwise, Griffin Perlini—a neighbor with prior offenses against minors—was arrested, but never convicted.

The case is long closed when Perlini is murdered nearly thirty years later. Now a man named Mr. Smith appears in Jason…[more]

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