by Steven Williams
The Barry Award
The Barry Awards were created by Deadly Pleasures, the American premier fan-oriented mystery magazine and named in honor of Barry Gardner, a noted fan reviewer. The Barry Awards are currently being given out every Summer at the Boucheron World Mystery Convention. For a book to be eligible for a Barry Award, it must be published in English. For a book to be eligible for the British Crime Novel category, the book must also be published in Great Britain. None of the other Barry Award categories have any additional restrictions. Nominations for the various Barry Awards are made by the editor/publisher of Deadly Pleasures magazine with input from a panel made up of of Deadly Pleasures reviewers, mystery booksellers, and fans. The panel votes to determine the awards shortlists and then the winners are chosen from these shortlists by the readers of Mystery News and Deadly Pleasures magazines.
The 2007 Barry Award Winners:
The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos
George Pelecanos (aka George P. Pelecanos) is a Greek-American independent film producer, essayist, Emmy-nominated writer as well as producer for the HBO hit series The Wire, and the author of bestselling mystery novels set in and around the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Pelecanos' novels include The Night Gardener (2006), Drama City (2005), Hard Revolution (2004), Soul Circus (2003), Hell to Pay (2002), Right as Rain (2001), Shame the Devil (2000), Sweet Forever (1998), The King Suckerman (1997), The Big Blowdown (1996), Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go (1995), Shoedog (1994), Nick's Trip (1993), and A Firing Offense (1992). He is also the editor of D.C. Noir (2006), an all-original noir anthology set in the nation's capital. His newest novel, The Turnaround, will be released in the summer of 2008. He is noted for his 'grunge' style of noir crime fiction as well as his use of the recurring character Nick Stefanos (A Firing Offense, Nick's Trip, and Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go). Nick Stefanos is a Greek-American D.C. resident and a private investigator. Two other of Pelecanos' series are his D.C. Quartet (The Big Blowdown, King Suckerman, The Sweet Forever, and Shame the Devil) and his Derek Strange and Terry Quinn series (Right as Rain, Hell to Pay, Soul Circus, and Hard Revolution) series. The D.C. Quartet spans several decades and communities within the changing population of Washington, DC. The Derek Strange and Terry Quinn series features a two-man team of witty private detectives chasing criminals against the backdrop of various D.C. landmarks.
Pelecanos' novel The Night Gardener tells the story of three men, one is a retired retired ex-cop, one is still working as a cop and doggedly determined to remain a 'good cop', and the third is not longer a cop having been forced to resign under a cloud of suspicion. Twenty years earlier, all three had been working together looking for a serial killer who left the bodies of his teenage victims in community gardens. The killer was never found and when another body shows up all these years later, the three men are thrown together again because of the simularities of the cases. While Pelecanos is noted for his procedural 'whodunit' style of mysteries, it is his development of the characters in his novels which has won him critical acclaim as well as bestseller status. 'The Night Gardener' is not exception to this trend and makes for a suspensful read.
BEST FIRST NOVEL
Still Life by Louise Penny
Louise Penny recently came to writing traditional mysteries from a career as an award-winning journalist at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She currently lives with her husband in a small village south of Montreal. Since the publication of Still Life, Penny has gone on to produce a second Arman Gamache mystery A Fatal Grace (May 2007) and is currently at work on her third mystery in the series The Cruelest Month (March 2008).
Louise Penny's first mystery, Still Life, introduces Armand Gamache, the main character she has continued to use for her following novels. He is Chief Inspector of the Surêté du Québec (Safety of Quebec). Gamache's team is called in to investigate a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. The victim was found in the woods and initially seemed to have been killed in a hunting accident, but suspicious locals have asked that a possible homicide be investigated. The dead woman was the village's retired schoolteacher and so the tragedy has affected the entire village. Inspector Gamache and his team soon uncover a sinister reality, one that points to dark secrets in the seemingly peaceful, friendly village. Penny's 'Still Life' was also a runner-up for the Crime Writers of America's Debut Dagger Award.
BEST BRITISH MYSTERY NOVEL
Priest by Ken Bruen
Ken Bruen is an Irish writer of hard-boiled and noir crime fiction. His works include the well-received White Trilogy and the Shamus award-winning The Guards. His published books include Ammunition (US: 2007), Cross (UK: 2007, US: 2008), American Skin (US: 2006), Calibre (US: 2006), The Dramatist (UK: 2004, US: 2006), The Magdalen Martyrs (UK: 2003, US: 2005), Blitz (UK: 2002, US: 2004), Dispatching Baudelaire (UK: 2004), The Killing of the Tinkers (UK: 2002, US: 2004), The Guards (UK: 2001, US: 2003), Vixen (UK: 2003, US: 2005), London Boulevard (UK: 2001, US: 2002), The McDead (UK: 2002, US: 2003), Taming the Alien (US: 2000, US: 2003), Her Last Call to Louis Macneice (UK: 1997, US: 1998), The Hackman Blues (1998), A White Arrest (UK: 1998, US: 2003), Rilke On Black (UK: 1997, US: 1997), Martyrs (1994), Sherry and Other Stories (1994), Shades of Grace (1993), and Funeral: Tales of Irish Morbidities (1992). Bruen has also been a finalist for the Edgar, Anthony, and Barry Awards in addition to winning both a Shamus and a Macavity award.
Priest is set in Ireland during the prosperous 1990s. Bruen brings back his recurring character, Jack Taylor, an alcoholic Galwegian ex-cop who has just been released from a mental hospital where he was working to overcome a terrible personal tragedy as well as his alcoholism. He is picked up from the hospital by a friend who happens to mention the headline news about the gory beheading of a priest in a Galway confessional. Soon, Taylor is contacted by a frightened priest and asked to launch an unofficial investigation into the killing. He begins to work, aided by an eager younger partner. He soon finds out that the murdered priest was a child-molestor. Things are not going to be so simple for Taylor and, in addition to his pursuit of the killer, he also must catch someone who is stalking Taylor's one remaining friend as well as a find a missing person, his ex-best friend and the father of a child who died while Taylor was babysitting her. In this book Bruen continues his trademark sideline commentary on contemporary Irish society placed within darkly noir settings and circumstances.
The Messenger by Daniel Silva
Daniel Silva is a veteran newspaper and television journalist as well as being a bestselling and critically well-received author of thriller novels. His books to date include Moscow Rules (July 2008), The Secret Servant (2007), Prince of Fire (2005), A Death in Vienna (2004), The Confessor (2003), The English Assassin (2002), The Kill Artist (2000), The Marching Season (1999), The Mark of the Assassin (1998), and The Unlikely Spy (1996). Silva was born in Michigan and raised and educated in California. While pursuing a master’s degree in international relations he began a temporary job with United Press International covering the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. Within a year Silva had left school to join UPI fulltime where he worked his way too the foreign desk in Washington, DC. He eventually became a UPI Middle East correspondent in Cairo and then in the Persian Gulf. While covering the Iran-Iraq war he met a NBC correspondent and the two were married within the year. After his marriage, Silva returned to Washington, DC to work for CNN, eventually becoming an executive producer of CNN's Washington-based public affairs programming. His responsibilities included the series Crossfire, The Capital Gang, Inside Politics Weekend, Late Edition, and Evans and Novak. In 1994 his wife gave birth to twins. About a year after their children were born he happened to tell his wife that his true ambition was to become a novelist. With his wife's support and encouragement he secretly began work on what would eventually become The Unlikely Spy. The success of this first novel allowed Silva to leave CNN in 1997 and begin writing full time. Silva continues to live in Washington. Silva's thrillers use a Mossad agent/assassin, Gabriel Allon, as a recurring character. Allon works undercover as a restorer of priceless works of art and is featured in Silva's novels The Kill Artist, The English Assassin, The Confessor, A Death in Vienna, Prince of Fire, The Messenger, and The Secret Servant.
In The Messenger Silva has art restorer and Mossad agent Gabriel Allon facing the greatest challenge of his life. Although he is still is recovering from a grueling showdown with a Palestinian master terrorist, an omnious figure from his past arrives in Jerusalem and sets new events in motion. This messenger is a monsignor who happens to be the private secretary to His Holiness Pope Paul VII, and Allon personally knows the man to be as ruthless as he is intelligent. Surprisingly, he has come to ask Allon for his help. A young Swiss guard has recently been found dead in St. Peter's Basilica, and although the official inquiry has declared the death a suicide, the monsignor feels that it is a murder and that it has implications as a very real and pressing danger to the Pope. Allon reluctantly agrees to get involved and his investigation quickly leads him to share the monsignor's concerns. He begins to follow a trail that leads him from the heart of the Vatican to Switzerland and beyond, slowing revealing a conspiracy of lies and deception. It all eventually links up to a terrorist network headed by a former Saudi intelligence chief which is about to attempt a spectacular assassination.
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
The Cleanup by Sean Doolittle
Sean Doolittle is the author of Safer (Spring, 2008), The Cleanup (2006), Rain Dogs (2005), Burn (2003), and Dirt (2001). Burn is a winner of the gold medal in the mystery category of ForeWord Magazine's 2003 Book of the Year Award. Dirt was an Amazon.com Top 100 Editor's Pick for 2001. His short stories have been collected in Plots With Guns and The Year's Best Mystery Stories 2002. He lives with his family in Omaha, Nebraska.
The Cleanup is a noir mystery involving an unsuccessful cop, a cute grocery check-out girl, and her dead boyfriend. Doolittle's main character is a well-meaning sad sack, a divorcé cop who begins moonlighting as security in an Omaha, Nebraska supermarket. He quickly develops a crush on a check-out girl working there. What began as an innocent flirtation quickly becomes a disaster when the girl kills her abusive boyfrined and then turns to the cop security guard for help. He decides to help her by covering up the murder but events quickly become more complicated when it turns out that there was a relationship between the dead man and two dirty narcotics detectives. The three men were involved in a money-laundering scheme and the secrets, lies and murders quickly begin to pile up. Soon the sad sack cop security guard has dug himself into a hole so deep that his only choice is to blast his way out.
BEST SHORT STORY
The Right Call by Brendan DuBois
Brendan DuBois is an American Award winning mystery and suspense writer. He has won two Shamus Awards for Best Short Story of the Year, been nominated for an Anthony Award as well as three Edgar Awards for short fiction, and also had his short story The Dark Snow published in Best American Mystery Stories of the Century. In 2005, DuBois received the Al Blanchard Crime Fiction Award for Best Short Crime Fiction Story at the fourth annual New England Crime Bake, a mystery convention organized by the New England Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. He has also been successful with an Alternate history novel, Resurrection Day, which won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History. DuBois had a number of mystery books published: Final Winter (Spring, 2008), Twilight (2007), Primary Storm (2006), Buried Dreams (2004), Betrayed (2003), Tales from the Dark Woods (2002), The Dark Snow and Other Mysteries (2002), Killer Waves (2002), Six Days (2001), Shattered Shell (1999), Black Tide (1995), and Dead Sand (1994). DuBois' novels feature his recurring character Lewis Cole, a magazine writer and former Department of Defense research analyst. Cole's investigations are set in and around the New Hampshire seacoast. DuBois is a former newspaper reporter and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire, where he lives with his wife Mona, their hell-raising cat Roscoe, and English Springer Spaniel.
The Don Sandstrom Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement in Mystery Fandom was presented to Beth Fedyn. Beth has been a reviewer for many mystery publications, including Mystery News and Deadly Pleasures. She has also been an active supporter at the Bouchercon World Mystery Conventions and is a longtime member of her local mystery reading group and, in general has been a FAN of the mystery genre in the best tradition of Don Sandstrom himself.
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