Annal: 2010 CWA Gold Dagger Award for Crime Novel

Results of the Dagger Award in the year 2010.

Book:Blacklands (Belinda Bauer)

Blacklands

Belinda Bauer

Eighteen years ago, Billy Peters disappeared. Everyone in town believes Billy was murdered—after all, serial killer Arnold Avery later admitted killing six other children and burying them on the same desolate moor that surrounds their small English village. Only Billy’s mother is convinced he is alive. She still stands lonely guard at the front window of her home, waiting for her son to return, while her remaining family fragments around her.

But her twelve-year-old grandson Steven is determined to heal the cracks that gape between his nan, his mother, his brother, and himself. Steven desperately wants to bring his family closure, and if that means personally finding his uncle’s corpse, he’ll do it.

Spending his spare time digging holes all over the moor in the hope of turning up a body is a long shot, but at least…[more]

Book:Blood Harvest

Blood Harvest

S.J. Bolton

The Fletchers’ beautiful new house is everything they dreamed it would be. Built between two churches in Heptonclough, a small village on the moors that time forgot, it ought to be paradise for this young family of five, but they barely have a chance to settle in before they find that they’re anything but welcome. Someone seems to be trying to drive them away—at first with silly pranks but then with threats that become increasingly dangerous, especially to the oldest child, ten-year-old Tom Fletcher, who begins to believe that someone is always watching him.

The adults in Tom’s life are trying to help, including his parents; the vicar next door, younger and more dashing than you’d expect a vicar to be; and a therapist, Evi Oliver, who believes him more than she wants to. But there are other clues that something isn’t quite right in Heptonclough, including the mysterious accidental deaths of three toddlers over the last ten years. It is not until Tom’s siblings, two-year-old Milly and five-year-old Joe Fletcher, go missing in turn that the little village’s evil secret turns the Fletchers’ dreams into a nightmare.

Book:Shadowplay (Karen Campbell)

Shadowplay

Karen Campbell

You are a police officer. This is what you do. You speak for the dead, and the desperate living. When Anna Cameron is promoted to Chief Inspector and moved to a new division, it should be a turning point for her. But if she thought having a female boss would make things easier, she’d reckoned without the fearsome ‘JC’ Hamilton. Then her mother goes into a coma in a foreign country and an old woman disappears from a Glasgow care home under suspicious circumstances, and Anna’s career and personal life both threaten to implode. The gang-related murder of a young Asian boy and an assault on one of her officers only serve to turn the screws tighter—can Anna be both a good cop and a good person?

Book:The Way Home

The Way Home: A Novel

George P. Pelecanos

Christopher Flynn is trying to get it right. After years of trouble and rebellion that enraged his father and nearly cost him his life, he has a steady job in his father’s company, he’s seriously dating a woman he respects, and, aside from the distrust that lingers in his father’s eyes, his mistakes are firmly in the past.

One day on the job, Chris and his partner come across a temptation almost too big to resist. Chris does the right thing, but old habits and instincts rise to the surface, threatening this new-found stability with sudden treachery and violence. With his father and his most trusted friends, he takes one last chance to blast past the demons trying to pull him back.

Like Richard Price or William Kennedy, Pelecanos pushes his characters to the extremes, their redemption that much sweeter because it is so hard fought. Pelecanos has long been celebrated for his unerring ability to portray the conflicts men feel as they search and struggle for power and love in a world that is often harsh and unforgiving but can ultimately be filled with beauty.

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