Annal: 2012 Barry Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Barry Award in the year 2012.

Book:The Informationist

The Informationist: A Thriller

Taylor Stevens

Vanessa “Michael” Munroe deals in information—expensive information—working for corporations, heads of state, private clients, and anyone else who can pay for her unique brand of expertise. Born to missionary parents in lawless central Africa, Munroe took up with an infamous gunrunner and his mercenary crew when she was just fourteen. As his protégé, she earned the respect of the jungle’s most dangerous men, cultivating her own reputation for years until something sent her running. After almost a decade building a new life and lucrative career from her home base in Dallas, she’s never looked back.

Until now.

A Texas oil billionaire has hired her to find his daughter who vanished in Africa four years ago. It’s not her usual line of work, but she can’t resist the challenge. Pulled deep into the mystery of the missing girl, Munroe finds herself back in…[more]

Book:Before I Go To Sleep

Before I Go To Sleep: A Novel

S.J. Watson

“As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me….”

Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love—all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story.

Welcome to Christine’s life.

Book:The Boy in the Suitcase

The Boy in the Suitcase: A Nina Borg Mystery

Lene Kaaberbøl, Agnete Friis

Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, wife, and mother of two, is a compulsive do-gooder who can’t say no when someone asks for help—even when she knows better. When her estranged friend Karin leaves her a key to a public locker in the Copenhagen train station, Nina gets suckered into her most dangerous project yet. Inside the locker is a suitcase, and inside the suitcase is a three-year-old boy: naked and drugged, but alive.

Is the boy a victim of child trafficking? Can he be turned over to authorities, or will they only return him to whoever sold him? When Karin is discovered brutally murdered, Nina realizes that her life and the boy’s are in jeopardy, too. In an increasingly desperate trek across Denmark, Nina tries to figure out who the boy is, where he belongs, and who exactly is trying to hunt him down.

Book:The Devotion of Suspect X

The Devotion of Suspect X

Keigo Higashino, Alexander O. Smith

Yasuko Hanaoka is a divorced, single mother who thought she had finally escaped her abusive ex-husband Togashi. When he shows up one day to extort money from her, threatening both her and her teenaged daughter Misato, the situation quickly escalates into violence and Togashi ends up dead on her apartment floor. Overhearing the commotion, Yasuko’s next door neighbor, middle-aged high school mathematics teacher Ishigami, offers his help, disposing not only of the body but plotting the cover-up step-by-step.

When the body turns up and is identified, Detective Kusanagi draws the case and Yasuko comes under suspicion. Kusanagi is unable to find any obvious holes in Yasuko’s manufactured alibi and yet is still sure that there’s something wrong. Kusanagi brings in Dr. Manabu Yukawa, a physicist and college friend who frequently consults with the police. Yukawa, known to the police…[more]

Book:Learning to Swim

Learning to Swim: A Novel

Sara J. Henry

“If I’d blinked, I would have missed it. But I didn’t, and I saw something fall from the rear deck of the opposite ferry: a small, wide-eyed human face, in one tiny frozen moment, as it plummeted toward the water.”

When she witnesses a small child tumbling from a ferry into Lake Champlain, Troy Chance dives in without thinking. Harrowing moments later, she bobs to the surface, pulling a terrified little boy with her. As the ferry disappears into the distance, she begins a bone-chilling swim nearly a mile to shore with a tiny passenger on her back.

Surprisingly, he speaks only French. He’ll acknowledge that his name is Paul; otherwise, he’s resolutely mute.

Troy assumes that Paul’s frantic parents will be in touch with the police or the press. But what follows is a shocking and deafening silence. And Troy, a freelance writer, finds herself as fiercely determined to protect Paul as she is to find out…[more]

Book:Turn of Mind

Turn of Mind

Alice LaPlante

The police are convinced that Jennifer White has killed her best friend. Amanda’s body has been discovered in her home, stabbed to death and with four fingers from her right hand neatly removed. The murder is a horrifying shock to a quiet and genteel neighbourhood. Jennifer’s work as an accomplished surgeon and the stormy nature of her friendship with Amanda make her the prime suspect. However, even Jennifer cannot tell if she really is responsible. Her days are spent in confusion and her memories are fragmented thanks to the Alzheimer’s that is gradually destroying her once brilliant mind.

Fractured images and remembered conversations return to her over the days of the police investigation, and Jennifer pieces together recollections from the near and distant past that cast light on her current predicament. As her condition deteriorates, she struggles against succumbing to the indignities of her merciless illness. She frequently fails to recognise her children,…[more]

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