Annal: 2013 Barry Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Barry Award in the year 2013.

Book:A Killing in the Hills

A Killing in the Hills: A Novel

Julia Keller

In A Killing in the Hills, a powerful, intricate debut from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Julia Keller, a mother and a daughter try to do right by a town and each other before it’s too late.

What’s happening in Acker’s Gap, West Virginia? Three elderly men are gunned down over their coffee at a local diner, and seemingly half the town is there to witness the act. Still, it happened so fast, and no one seems to have gotten a good look at the shooter.  Was it random? Was it connected to the spate of drug violence plaguing poor areas of the country just like Acker’s Gap? Or were Dean Streeter, Shorty McClurg, and Lee Rader targeted somehow?

One of the witnesses to the brutal incident was Carla Elkins, teenaged daughter of Bell Elkins, the prosecuting attorney for Raythune County, WV. Carla was shocked and horrified by what she saw, but after a few days, she begins to recover enough to…[more]

Book:Black Fridays: A Novel

Black Fridays: A Novel

Michael Sears

Sometimes a man can be redeemed. But not in the way he expects.

Jason Stafford is a former Wall Street hotshot who made some bad moves, paid the price with two years in prison, and is now trying to put his life back together. He’s unemployable, until an investment firm asks him to look into possible problems left by a junior trader who died recently in an accident. What he discovers is big—there are problems, all right, the kind that get you killed.

But it’s not his only concern. Stafford has another quest as well: to reclaim his five-year-old son, “the Kid,” from his unstable ex-wife, and then learn just what it means to make a life with him. The things Stafford discovers about himself in the process are every bit as gripping as his investigation, and when the two threads of his life come together—the results are unforgettable.

Black Fridays marks the arrival of a remarkable new A Novel writer.

Book:The Dark Winter

The Dark Winter: A Detective Sergeant McAvoy Novel

David Mark

A series of suspicious deaths has rocked Hull, a port city in England as old and mysterious as its bordering sea. In the middle of a Christmas service, a teenage girl adopted from Sierra Leone is chopped down with a machete in front of the entire congregation. A retired trawlerman is found dead at the scene of a tragedy he escaped, the only survivor, forty years ago. An ugly fire rages in a working-class neighborhood, and when the flames die away, a body is discovered, burned beyond recognition.

Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy is sure there is a connection between these crimes, but his fellow officers are not convinced—they would rather get a quick arrest than bother themselves with finding the true killer. Torn between his police duties and his aching desire to spend more time with his pregnant wife and young son, McAvoy is an unlikely hero: a family man more obsessed with being a decent cop, a physically imposing man far more comfortable exploring databases that being gung-ho with his muscle. Compelled by his keen sense of justice, McAvoy decides to strike out alone—but in the depths of the dark winter, on the hunt for a murderer, it’s difficult to forget what happened the last time he found himself on the wrong side of a killer’s blade…

Book:The Professionals (Owen Laukkanen)

The Professionals: A Novel

Owen Laukkanen

Four friends, caught in a terrible job market, joke about turning to kidnapping to survive. And then, suddenly, it’s no joke. For two years, the strategy they devise works like a charm—until they kidnap the wrong man. Now two groups are after them—the law, in the form of veteran state investigator Kirk Stevens and hotshot young FBI agent Carla Windermere, and an organized crime outfit looking for payback. As they crisscross the country in a series of increasingly explosive confrontations, each of them is ultimately forced to recognize the truth: The real professionals, cop or criminal, are those who are willing to sacrifice everything.

Book:Sacrifice Fly

Sacrifice Fly: A Mystery

Tim O'Mara

Raymond Donne wasn’t always a schoolteacher. Not only did he patrol the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, as one of New York’s Finest, but being the nephew of the chief of detectives, he was expected to go on to bigger things. At least he was until the accident that destroyed his knees. Unable to do the job the way he wanted, he became a teacher in the same neighborhood, and did everything he could to put the force behind him and come to terms with the change.

Then Frankie Rivas, a student in Ray’s class and a baseball phenom, stops showing up to school. With Frankie in danger of failing and missing out on a scholarship, Ray goes looking for him, only to find Frankie’s father bludgeoned to death in their apartment. Frankie and his younger sister are gone, possibly on the run. But did Frankie really kill his father? Ray can’t believe it. But then who did, and where are Frankie and his sister? Ray doesn’t know, but if he’s going to have any chance of…[more]

Book:The Yard (Alex Grecian)

The Yard

Alex Grecian

A year after Jack the Ripper claimed his last victim, Victorian London is in the grip of a wave of crime and murder, with its citizens no longer able to trust the police to protect them. The newly formed Murder Squad of Scotland Yard, made up of just twelve detectives, battles in vain against the tide of violence and cruelty.

When the body of a Yard detective is found in a suitcase, his lips sewn together and his eyes sewn shut, it becomes clear that not even the police are safe from attack. Has the Ripper returned—or is a new killer at large?

Walter Day, the squad’s newest recruit, is assigned the case and finds a strange ally in the Yard’s first forensic pathologist, Dr Bernard Kingsley. Kingsley, a pioneer of groundbreaking forensic science, is convinced that strange new techniques such as finger printing are the key to finding the person responsible. With Kingsley’s help, will Day find the murderer before it’s too late? Or are the police once again helpless to stop a serial killer whose brutality knows no limits?

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