Annal: 2012 Barry Award for Best Paperback Original Novel

Results of the Barry Award in the year 2012.

Book:Death of the Mantis

Death of the Mantis: A Detective Kubu Mystery

Michael Stanley

The third novel in the fantastic Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu crime series is set in the southern Kalahari area of Botswana—a place full of buried lost cities, incredible hidden wealth, ancient gods and, for thousands of years, home to the nomadic Bushmen. When a fractious ranger named Monzo is found dead, fallen into a donga—a dry ravine—surrounded by three Bushmen, the local police arrest the nomads. Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu is on the case, which reunites him with his old school friend Khumanego, a Bushman and now an advocate for his people. Khumanego believes the arrests are motivated by racist antagonism from the police, as the Bushmen are claiming that they were at the murder scene because they were trying to help. Soon after Monzo’s death, Detective ‘Kubu’ learns of another case involving two botany students on their way back from a specimen-collecting trip but who were later found dead, seemingly poisoned, at a campground. Could the deaths be connected?

Book:A Double Death on the Black Isle

A Double Death on the Black Isle

A.D. Scott

A stunning and suspenseful story of families, betrayal, and a community divided.

Nothing is ever quite at peace on Scotland’s Black Isle—the Traveling people are forever at odds with the locals, the fishermen have nothing in common with the farmers, and the villages have no connection with the town. But when two deaths occur on the same day, involving the same families from the same estate—the Black Isle seems as forbidding as its name.

Joanne Ross, typist at the Highland Gazette, is torn whether to take on the plum task of reporting on these murders—after all, the woman at the center of both crimes is one of her closest friends. Joanne knows the story could be her big break, and for a woman in the mid-1950s—a single mother, no less—good work is hard to come by.

But the investigation by the staff on the Gazette reveals secrets that will forever change this quiet, remote part of the Highlands. The ancient feudal order is crumbling, loyalties are tested, friendships torn apart, and the sublime beauty of the landscape will never seem peaceful again.

Book:Fun & Games: A Charlie Hardie Thriller

Fun & Games: A Charlie Hardie Thriller

Duane Swierczynski

The first of three explosive pulp thrillers arriving back-to-back from cult crime fiction sensation and Marvel Comics scribe Duane Swierczynski.

Charlie Hardie, an ex-cop still reeling from the revenge killing of his former partner’s entire family, fears one thing above all else: that he’ll suffer the same fate.

Languishing in self-imposed exile, Hardie has become a glorified house sitter. His latest gig comes replete with an illegally squatting B-movie actress who rants about hit men who specialize in making deaths look like accidents. Unfortunately, it’s the real deal. Hardie finds himself squared off against a small army of the most lethal men in the world: The Accident People.

It’s nothing personal-the girl just happens to be the next name on their list. For Hardie, though, it’s intensely personal. He’s not about to let more innocent people die. Not on his watch.

Book:The Hangman's Daughter

The Hangman's Daughter: A Historical Novel

Oliver Pötzsch, Lee Chadeayne

Germany, 1660: When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play in his small Bavarian town. Whispers and dark memories of witch trials and the women burned at the stake just seventy years earlier still haunt the streets of Schongau. When more children disappear and an orphan boy is found dead—marked by the same tattoo—the mounting hysteria threatens to erupt into chaos.

Before the unrest forces him to torture and execute the very woman who aided in the birth of his children, Jakob must unravel the truth. With the help of his clever daughter, Magdelena, and Simon, the university-educated son of the town’s physician, Jakob discovers that a devil is indeed loose in Schongau. But it may be too late to prevent bloodshed.

A brilliantly detailed, fast-paced historical thriller, The Hangman’s Daughter is the first novel from German television screenwriter Oliver Pötzsch, a descendent of the Kuisls, a famous Bavarian executioner clan.

Book:The Silenced (Brett Battles)

The Silenced

Brett Battles

Professional “cleaner” Jonathan Quinn has a new client and an odd job: find and remove the remains of a body hidden twenty years ago inside the walls of a London building, before the building is demolished.

But Quinn and his team are being watched. Suddenly caught in the cross fire between two dangerous rivals, Quinn must unravel the identity of the body and why it still poses so great a threat even in death. Because a plot stretching from the former Soviet Union to Hong Kong, from Paris to London, from Los Angeles to Maine, is rapidly falling apart. And Quinn hasn’t been hired just to tie up loose ends—he is one.

Book:Two for Sorrow

Two for Sorrow: A Josephine Tey Mystery

Nicola Upson

They were the most horrific crimes of a new century: the murders of newborn innocents for which two British women were hanged at Holloway Prison in1903. Decades later, mystery writer Josephine Tey has decided to write a novel based on Amelia Sach and Annie Walters, the notorious “Finchley baby farmers,” unaware that her research will entangle her in the desperate hunt for a modern-day killer.

A young seamstress—an ex-convict determined to reform—has been found brutally slain in the studio of Tey’s friends, the Motley sisters, amid preparations for a star-studded charity gala. Despite initial appearances, Inspector Archie Penrose is not convinced this murder is the result of a long-standing domestic feud—and a horrific accident involving a second young woman soon after supports his convictions. Now he and his friend Josephine must unmask a sadistic killer before more blood flows—as the repercussions of unthinkable crimes of the past reach out to destroy those left behind long after justice has been served.

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