Many readers soon discover that awards shortlists are fantastic sources of reading suggestions.
It just makes sense: having other learned readers judge and sift through a years worth of titles, separating the wheat from the chaff for the rest of us readers. I particularly like first novel awards, as they always highlight the bright(er) lights of the publishing scene. Authors for whom I would most likely be unaware.
The Barry Awards are awarded by Deadly Pleasures magazine and highlight the best in the world of crime fiction.
Listed below are shortlisted titles for The Best First Novel category:
by Lou Berney
A fast and funny crime caper in the tradition of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen, “Gutshot Straight” features Shake Bouchon, fresh out of prison and ready for life on the straight and narrow. – Publisher
by Bruce DeSilva
Liam Mulligan is as old school as a newspaper man gets. His beat is Providence, Rhode Island, and he knows every street and alley. He knows the priests and prostitutes, the cops and street thugs. He knows the mobsters and politicians—who are pretty much one and the same. Someone is systematically burning down the neighborhood Mulligan grew up in, people he knows and loves are perishing in the flames, and the public is on the verge of panic. With the whole city of Providence on his back, Mulligan must weed through a wildly colorful array of characters to find the truth. – Publisher
by Paul Doiron
Set in the wilds of Maine, this is an explosive tale of an estranged son thrust into the hunt for a murderous fugitive—his own father. Game warden Mike Bowditch returns home one evening to find an alarming voice from the past on his answering machine: his father, Jack, a hard-drinking womanizer who makes his living poaching illegal game. An even more frightening call comes the next morning from the police: They are searching for the man who killed a beloved local cop the night before—and his father is their prime suspect. Jack has escaped from police custody, and only Mike believes that his tormented father might not be guilty. Now, alienated from the woman he loves, shunned by colleagues who have no sympathy for the suspected cop killer, Mike must come to terms with his haunted past… The only way for Mike to save his father now is to find the real killer—which could mean putting everyone he loves in the line of fire. – Publisher
by Graham Moore
When literary researcher Harold White is inducted into the pre-eminent Sherlock Holmes enthusiast society, The Baker Street Irregulars, he never imagines he is about to be thrust into the hunt for the holy grail of Sherlockians: the missing diary. But when the world’s leading Doylean scholar is found murdered in his hotel room, it is Harold, using wisdom and methods gleaned from countless detective stories, who takes up the search, both for the diary and the killer. – Publisher
by William Ryan
Moscow, 1936, and Stalin’s Great Terror is beginning. In a deconsecrated church, a young woman is found dead, her mutilated body displayed on the altar for all to see. Captain Alexei Korolev, finally beginning to enjoy the benefits of his success with the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Militia, is asked to investigate. But when he discovers that the victim is an American citizen, the NKVD—the most feared organization in Russia—becomes involved…
With Captain Alexei Korolev, William Ryan has given us one of the most compelling detectives in modern literature, a man dogged and humble, a man who will lead us through a fear-choked Russia to find the only thing that can save him or any of us— the truth. – Publisher
by Keith Thomson
Drummond Clark was once a spy of legendary proportion. Now Alzheimer’s disease has taken its toll and he’s just a confused old man. When Drummond’s house is blown sky high while he was at the track, his son Charlie learns that his father’s job as an appliance salesman was just a cover-up for an elaborate plan to sell would-be terrorists faulty nuclear detonators. Drummond’s intricate knowledge of this device is dangerous to have rattling around in an addled brain. The CIA want to “contain” him – and so do some other shady characters who send Charlie and is father on a wild chase. – Publisher