Honor roll: Barry Award for Best Paperback Original Novel

Each of these books has been nominated for a Barry Award for Best Paperback Original Novel. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:The James Deans

The James Deans: A Moe Prager Mystery

Reed Farrel Coleman

It’s 1983 and Reaganomics is in full swing. But beneath the facade of junk bonds and easy money, New York remains a gritty metropolis offering Nirvana with one hand and desolation with the other. Moe Prager, ex-NYPD cop turned reluctant P.I. is too busy reeling from a family tragedy to see what’s coming. He’s about to be sucked into a case that might deliver him what he’s always wanted or plunge him into purgatory.

Two years earlier, Moira Heaton, a young intern for an up-and-coming politico, vanished without a trace. Although there is no evidence supporting her boss’s involvement, rumors and whispers have conspired to stall his once-promising career. Now, in a last-ditch effort to clear his name, state senator Steven Brightman, with the clout of a wealthy backer, enlists Moe’s help. With twists and turns galore and Moe’s inimitable voice, The James Deans is an absorbing page-turner that will add to the burgeoning reputation of one of today’s most promising writers.

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:Death Dances to a Reggae Beat

Death Dances to a Reggae Beat

Kate Grilley

Kelly Ryan has just moved to the Caribbean island of St. Chris to run a top-rated radio station. She knew that her new life would be full of adventure—but she never expected murder…

Book:Starvation Lake

Starvation Lake: A Mystery

Bryan Gruley

In the dead of a Michigan winter, pieces of a snowmobile wash up near the crumbling, small town of Starvation Lake—the same snowmobile that went down with Starvation’s legendary hockey coach years earlier. But everybody knows Coach Blackburn’s accident happened five miles away on a different lake. As rumors buzz about mysterious underground tunnels, the evidence from the snowmobile says one thing: murder.

Gus Carpenter, editor of the local newspaper, has recently returned to Starvation after a failed attempt to make it big at the Detroit Times. In his youth, Gus was the goalie who let a state championship get away, crushing Coach’s dreams and earning the town’s enmity. Now he’s investigating the murder of his former coach. But even more unsettling to Gus are the holes in the town’s past and the gnawing suspicion that those holes may conceal some dark and disturbing secrets secrets that some of the people closest to him may have killed to keep.

Book:Queenpin

Queenpin: A Novel

Megan Abbott

A young woman hired to keep the books at a down-at-the-heels nightclub is taken under the wing of the infamous Gloria Denton, a mob luminary who reigned during the Golden Era of Bugsy Siegel and Lucky Luciano. Notoriously cunning and ruthless, Gloria shows her eager young protégée the ropes, ushering her into a glittering demimonde of late-night casinos, racetracks, betting parlors, inside heists, and big, big money. Suddenly, the world is at her feet—as long as she doesn’t take any chances, like falling for the wrong guy. As the roulette wheel turns, both mentor and protégée scramble to stay one step ahead of their bosses and each other.

Book:Big Red Tequila

Big Red Tequila

Rick Riordan

Everything in Texas is bigger…even murder.

Meet Tres Navarre…tequila drinker, Tai Chi master, unlicensed P.I., with a penchant for Texas-size trouble.

Jackson “Tres” Navarre and his enchilada-eating cat, Robert Johnson, pull into San Antonio and find nothing waiting but trouble. Ten years ago Navarre left town and the memory of his father’s murder behind him. Now he’s back, looking for answers. Yet the more Tres digs, trying to put his suspicions to rest, the fresher the decade-old crime looks: Mafia connections, construction site payoffs, and slick politicians’ games all conspire to ruin his homecoming. It’s obvious Tres has stirred up a hornet’s nest of trouble. He gets attacked, shot at, run over by a big blue Thunderbird—and his old girlfriend, the one he wants back, turns up missing. Tres has to rescue the woman, nail his father’s murderer, and get the hell out of Dodge before mob-style Texas justice catches up to him. The chances of staying alive looked better for the defenders of the Alamo….

Book:Fade Away

Fade Away: A Myron Bolitar Mystery

Harlan Coben

The home was top-notch New Jersey suburban. The living room was Martha Stewart. The basement was Legos—and blood. For sports agent Myron Bolitar, the disappearance of a man he’d once competed against was bringing back memories—of the sport he and Greg Downing had both played and the woman they both loved. Now, among the stars, the wanna-bes, the gamblers and groupies, Myron is unraveling the strange, violent life of a sports hero gone wrong, and coming face-to-face with a past he can’t relive, and a present he may not survive.

In novels that crackle with wit and suspense, Edgar Award winner Harlan Coben has created one of the most fascinating and complex heroes in suspense fiction—Myron Bolitar—a hotheaded, tenderhearted sports agent who grows more and more engaging and unpredictable with each page-turning appearance.

Book:Mr. Churchill's Secretary

Mr. Churchill's Secretary: A Novel

Susan Elia MacNeal

For fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Laurie R. King, and Anne Perry, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary captures the drama of an era of unprecedented challenge—and the greatness that rose to meet it.

London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined—and opportunities she will not let pass. In troubled, deadly times, with air-raid sirens sending multitudes underground, access to the War Rooms also…[more]

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: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.

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