Anthony Awards
2017 (Best Novel)
You Will Know Me
Book Jacket   Megan Abbott
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Abbott's latest thriller (The Fever, 2014, etc.) about everyday lives changed forever by an exceptional individualin this case an Olympic gymnastics hopeful. "So many things you never think you'll do until you do them." This speaks volumes of truth for Devon Knox, who forces her body to pick fights with gravity for hours every day. To her mother, Katie, watching from the bleachers, it seems impossible that her daughter will land on her feet, until she does. Devon is extraordinary, and the normal-on-the-surface Knox family can't help but fly toward this one extra-bright light. Devon's dad, Eric, is obsessively devoted to the cause, fundraising constantly for gym BelStars and heading up the booster club. Gregarious Coach T. relies on his star gymnast to attract business; nothing is shinier than having an Olympic hopeful under his wing. But when tragedy strikes and Coach T.'s tumbling-coach niece, Hailey, learns her much-loved boyfriend, Ryan, is dead in a hit-and-runonly a couple of months before Elite Qualifiersthe gym begins to unravel. Devon, especially, can't afford any missteps. Her success relies on structure, and Eric promises he'll do anything to keep Devon on that golden track. When Hailey starts threatening Devon and the Knoxes' painfully sweet and observant son, Drew, starts talking about things he hears in the night, the whole gym family, Katie especially, begins to wonder just who might've had it in them to mow Ryan down. After all, you never know what you're capable of until you test your limits. With Elite Qualifiers looming, readers will begin to question what they think to be true right alongside the characters. Getting picky, readers will also catch on to one major plot element well before it's revealed, but Abbott makes the blindness of parents relatable; they come close to collapse on a regular basis from the pressures of their demanding schedules. Being a parent is hard. Being a parent to an anomaly is something else entirely. Abbott proves herself a master of fingernails-digging-into-your-palms suspense. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
2017 (Best First)
Book Jacket   Bill Beverly
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Four street kids from Los Angeles discover that America is weirder, and bigger, than they imagined. It's tempting to call Beverly's debut a coming-of-age novel; its protagonist, a boy known only as East, is 16. Yet East has come of age long before the action starts: a lookout at a Los Angeles drug house, he is experienced beyond his years. "He was no fun," Beverly writes, "and they respected him, for though he was young, he had none in him of what they hated most in themselves: their childishness. He had never been a child." That's one of the charms and also one of the issues with the novel, which opens with a police shootout at the house East has been paid to protect. In the aftermath, he's sent, with three other young men (one of them his brother), on a looping road trip to Wisconsin, where a troublesome witness must be killed. The title refers to the LA Dodgers gear the four put on as camouflage, a strategy to fit in, or at least pass beneath the radar of, an America they do not understand. Beverly is best tracing this elusive strangeness, the way common landscapestruck stops, gas stations, interstatescan be alien, even dangerous: "Here the ground was nearly empty of buildings and the mountains were like people, huddled figures, blue and gray and white, so high." Still, as the novel progresses, it begins to lose its path. Partly, it's that the drama peaks too early, but even more, that East comes to us so fully formed there's no room for him to grow. Yes, he faces challenges and makes decisions. Yes, he adapts to circumstance. Ultimately, however, he does not develop throughout the book so much as remain consistentthe reason, of course, is that he's so highly valued as a lookout, yet it's problematic when it comes to his arc as a character. An interesting debut that doesn't quite live up to its promise. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
2017 (Best Paperback)
Shot in Detroit
 Patricia Abbott
  Book Jacket
2017 (Best Anthology)
Unloaded: Crime Writers Writing Without Guns
 Eric Beetner
  Book Jacket
2016 (Best Novel)
The Killing Kind
Book Jacket   Chris Holm
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A fast-moving thriller with a clever premise. Edgar Morales is about to get whacked by a button man for an international crime syndicate called the Corporation. When the fatal shot rings out, though, it's said button man's head that explodes. His executioner is Michael Hendricks, who has an odd specialty: he's a "hitman killing hitmen." So the Councila group of major American crime familieshires Engelmann, "one of the most gifted contract killers in the world," to blot out Hendricks, "a pest in need of exterminating." Hendricks is a killer with not just a conscience, but business sense. If there's a price on your head, he'll take out the hired killer for 10 times that price. And if he calls you, it means that "someone, somewhere, want[s] you dead." The plot weaves the storylines of both killers in with that of FBI Special Agent Charlotte "Charlie" Thompson, who wants to catch the two men. Hendricks is the most complex of the characters, hence the most interesting. He's a Special Forces veteran thought by most people, including his former girlfriend, to have been killed in Afghanistan. His code prevents him from killing innocents, unlike Engelmann, the flat-out evildoer who relishes the pain and suffering of others. Hendricks' worldview comes out of his crucible of pain, while Engelmann just grew up bad; he will happily kill you and have a good night's sleep. Meanwhile, Charlie and her partner try to track both men down. The three main characters play their roles wellCharlie is appealing, Hendricks is the semisympathetic antihero, Engelmann is just plain vile, and they're all smart. Who will best whom is by no means obvious in this fast-moving, witty tale of good guy versus bad guy versus worse guy. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
2016 (Best First)
Past Crimes
Book Jacket   Glen Erik Hamilton
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A combat-tested Army Ranger returns home to investigate the shooting of his grandfather in this debut novel.Van Shaw is recovering from a recent combat injury when he receives a letter from his estranged grandfather Dono asking him to come home to Seattle. He doesn't know why his grandfather wants to see him, and the tension ratchets up when he arrives to find that Dono has just been shot by an intruder. During the police investigation, it becomes clear that Dono may not be an innocent victim because, as Hamilton tersely states, "Dono Shaw was a thief." The novel develops into a divided narrative split between the contemporary investigation into Dono's shooting and flashbacks to Van's experiences of being raised by a career criminal. Van was exposed to a felonious world from which he escaped by joining the Army after high school. Van discovers that Dono's last heist may have led to his shooting, and in the process, he's pulled back into his grandfather's criminal culture. To solve the mystery, Van must make use of the thief's skill set he learned from Dono and reconnect with his grandfather's old cronies in Seattle's underworld. Throw in a buried family secret, a love interest with an alluring woman and some missing diamonds, and you have the recipe for an exciting heir to the classic detective novel. A well-written modern rendition of the old-fashioned gritty noir. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
2016 (Best Paperback)
The Long and Faraway Gone
 Lou Berney
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Twenty-five years after a devastating shooting and the unrelated disappearance of a teenage girl, the survivors of both events struggle to find out what really happened so they can move on with their separate lives. Edgar nominee Berney (Whiplash River, 2012) introduces two damaged but engaging characters: Wyatt, the sole survivor of a robbery/shooting at a movie theater that left six other people dead; and Julianna, whose beautiful and mercurial older sister, Genevieve, disappeared at the Oklahoma State Fair and has been presumed murdered ever since. The plot is driven by their searches for what happened in the past as well as a present-day mystery that brings Wyatt, now a private detective, home to Oklahoma City, the site of both earlier losses. Berney alternates his focus between their two stories, and while their paths do cross once or twice, there is no forced blending of the narratives. As in classic noir, the evocation of a specific placeOklahoma Cityand time's effects add another layer of meaning. Also as suggested by the noir-ish title and tradition, Berney's novel is most truly a thoughtful exploration of memory and what it means to be a survivor. Elegiac and wistful, it is a lyrical mystery that focuses more on character development than on reaching the "big reveal." The novel smartly avoids being coy; there are answers to private detective Wyatt's case and answers to the mysteries from the past, but they reflect the truth of such moments; in the end, the answers are almost beside the point because the wondering, the questions, never really go away. But both characters do achieve their own kind of closure, and that allows the reader to also feel some comfort of fulfillment. A mystery with a deep, wounded heart. Read it. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
  Book Jacket
2016 (Best Anthology)
Murder Under the Oaks
 Art Taylor
  Book Jacket
2015 (Best Novel)
After Im gone
Book Jacket   Laura Lippman
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. The disappearance of a Baltimore gambling lord sends shock waves through his community, his business and his family. Felix Brewer always knew the odds were rigged. So, with the feds poised to put him away for 15 years, he has girlfriend Julie Saxony drive him to Philly in her sister's horse trailer to hop a plane to Montreal and then disappear. He knows that his best friends, lawyer Bert Gelman and bail bondsman Tubby Schroeder, will close down his business. And he trusts his wife, Bambi, to take care of herself and his three daughters, Linda, Rachel and Michelle. But how could Felix leave it all--the place he made for himself at the heart of Baltimore's Jewish community, the luxury and respectability he bought with every illegally bet dollar, and most of all, the love of his life? Since the night he'd crashed a high school dance, Bert, already an established businessman, knew Bambi Gottschalk would be the center of his world. And she was, despite Julie and the string of girls who preceded her. The story of Bambi and her daughters unfolds: struggles, successes, good marriages and bad. Then the discovery of Julie's body in Leakin Park brings it all back to Felix. Who intercepted Julie, whose success parlaying the modest coffee shop Felix left her into a bed-and-breakfast positioned her to open a destination restaurant, on her way to Saks? Sandy Sanchez, an ex-cop who specializes in cold cases, hopes to find out. Coaxing the inevitable out of the improbable, Lippman (And When She Was Good, 2012, etc.) is a bet you just can't lose.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
2015 (Best First)
The black hour
Book Jacket   Lori Rader-Day
2015 (Best Paperback)
The Day She Died
 Catriona McPherson
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A chance meeting in the Marks and Spencer food hall puts a deeply troubled young woman in a dangerous position. While she works part-time in a charity shop, Jessie Constable must deal every day with her disabling phobiaa fear of feathers. Shopping in the food court, she spots a big red-haired man she'd seen before. In fact, she'd once even offered to buy a cake for Ruby, his little girl. Sitting with his head in his hands while Ruby looks on, sculptor Gus King suddenly tells Jessie that his wife, Becky, has left him. Since he's obviously in shock, Jessie drives him home, making the long trip from Dumfries out to a country cottage on the water. Soon afterward, the police arrive to tell Gus that Becky has died in what looks like a suicidal car crash. Somehow Jessie gets roped into staying to help care for Ruby and her baby brother, Dillon. As she does her best to learn the household's routine, she notices that not everything she learns about the family makes sense. Even though Becky's best friend Ros had apparently left for Poland, a young Pole Jessie meets hanging around the caravan site next door tries to tell her in his very limited English that Ros would never have done that. Jessie and Gus quickly become lovers, and he gradually draws the story of her feather phobia out of her. Each telling, she acknowledges, is different, and years of therapy have allowed her to lead only a semi-normal life. For his part, Gus maintains that Becky would never have killed herself. All the pieces of the puzzle add up to more confusion for Jessie, who no longer knows whom to believe. McPherson's second stand-alone (As She Left It, 2013, etc.) is a tour de force, a creepy psychological thriller that will leave you breathless.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
  Book Jacket
2015 (Best Anthology)
In the Company of Sherlock Holmes
 Leslie S. Klinger
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A notorious lawsuit over whether the Great Detective was in the public domainhe is, according to the courtheld up this sequel to King and Klinger's collection A Study in Sherlock (2011), but it's well worth waiting for.The range of the 15 new stories here is remarkable. One of the best, Sara Paretsky's "The Curious Affair of the Italian Art Dealer," is the most conservative, taking true delight in approximating Watson's turns of phrase. Michael Sims retells "Silver Blaze" from the title character's perspective. Cornelia Funke displays Holmes' magnanimity toward a young thief who invades 221-B Baker St., and Nancy Holder provides a sad, spectral sequel to "The Beryl Coronet." John Lescroart shows an aging Holmes helping out in the Dunkirk evacuation. Since Holmes can never die, Michael Connelly reimagines Dr. Watson as a deputy coroner working with Harry Bosch's LAPD, and Jeffery Deaver, in a characteristically twisty tale, sets a Sherlock-ian wannabe against New York's East Side Slasher. Holmes is only one among several inspirations behind Laura Caldwell's "Art in the Blood," Denise Hamilton's "The Thinking Machine" and co-editor Klinger's "The Closing." Leah Moore and John Reppion resurrect Holmes in a fast-moving comic book, and Andrew Grant even more breathlessly abridges The Hound of the Baskervilles for social media. Harlan Ellison's wild fantasia, the strangest item here, is more Ray Bradbury than Conan Doyle. And in the wittiest story, Michael Dirda unmasks Doyle as a Strand house author whose byline conceals the identities of many contributors. Notable among its many competitors mainly for raising the question of what can legitimately count as Sherlock-ian pastiche. Even readers who aren't pleased with every answer will undoubtedly be stimulated to provide answers of their own, perhaps for the inevitable next collection. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
  Book Jacket
2014 (Best Novel)
Ordinary grace : a novel
Book Jacket   by William Kent Krueger
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A respected mystery writer turns his attention to the biggest mystery of all: God. An award-winning author for his long-running Cork O' Connor series (Trickster's Point, 2012, etc.), Krueger aims higher and hits harder with a stand-alone novel that shares much with his other work. The setting is still his native Minnesota, the tension with the region's Indian population remains palpable and the novel begins with the discovery of a corpse, that of a young boy who was considered a little slow and whose body was found near the train trestle in the woods on the outskirts of town. Was it an accident or something even more sinister? Yet, that opening fatality is something of a red herring (and that initial mystery is never really resolved), as it serves as a prelude to a series of other deaths that shake the world of Frank Drum, the 13-year-old narrator (occasionally from the perspective of his memory of these events, four decades later), his stuttering younger brother and his parents, whose marriage may well not survive these tragedies. One of the novel's pivotal mysteries concerns the gaps among what Frank experiences (as a participant and an eavesdropper), what he knows and what he thinks he knows. "In a small town, nothing is private," he realizes. "Word spreads with the incomprehensibility of magic and the speed of plague." Frank's father, Nathan, is the town's pastor, an aspiring lawyer until his military experience in World War II left him shaken and led him to his vocation. His spouse chafes at the role of minister's wife and doesn't share his faith, though "the awful grace of God," as it manifests itself within the novel, would try the faith of the most devout believer. Yet, ultimately, the world of this novel is one of redemptive grace and mercy, as well as unidentified corpses and unexplainable tragedy. A novel that transforms narrator and reader alike.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
2014 (Best First)
Yesterdays Echo
Book Jacket   Matt Coyle
2014 (Best Paperback)
As she left it
 Catriona McPherson
  Book Jacket
2014 (Best Non-Fiction)
The hour of peril : the secret plot to murder Lincoln before the Civil War
 Daniel Stashower
  Book Jacket
2014 (Best Childrens)
The Testing
Book Jacket   by Joelle Charbonneau
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780547959108 Cia wants to pass the mysterious Tests and become one of the elite few helping to rebuild the world after the Seven Stages War. Along the way, she falls in love, struggles to define friendship versus alliances, and tries to keep a core of decency. A lightning pace and a vividly described setting compensate for occasional dialogue that feels like exposition. (c) Copyright 2013. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. There are no grades in this dystopian futureonly survival. It's graduation day for 16-year-old Malencia "Cia" Vale, and she's hoping to be selected for The Testing in Tosu City, a necessary prerequisite to attend the University. She is, along with three other Five Lakes colony teens. Embarking on the four-part series of challenges, Cia will learn whom to trust, even as she falls in love with Tomas, one of her fellow Five Lakes colonists. Cia must pass multiple-choice exams, hands-on survival tests and team challenges before facing the final testa wilderness trek back to the University to prove her abilities as a leader. With a gun, compass and water in her bag, Cia will trek from the ruins of Chicago back to Tosu City, depending on her wits and her trust in Tomas. Charbonneau jumps into the packed dystopia field with a mashup of Veronica Roth's Divergent (2011) and Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy, but she successfully makes her story her own. Cia's mechanical abilities are an unexpected boon to the overall character development, and it's refreshing not to have a female protagonist caught up in a love triangle. There's a nicely developed relationship between Cia and Tomas and genuine suspense surrounding another candidate's motivations and intentions. Between the ruined world and the mutants, there's plenty of threats to keep the pages turning. Though genre elements are in place, this page-turner earns an A for freshness. (Dystopian adventure. 12 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
2013 (Best Novel)
The Beautiful Mystery
Book Jacket   Louise Penny
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A prior's murder takes Quebec's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his sidekick, Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir, inside the walls of the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loupes. The Gilbertine order, long extinct except for the two dozen brothers who live on an island apart from the rest of the world, enforces silence on its members. In the absence of speech, a raised eyebrow or averted gaze can speak intense hostility. Now someone has found a new way to communicate such hostility: by bashing Frre Mathieu, the monastery's choirmaster and prior, over the head. Gamache and Beauvoir soon find that the order is devoted heart and soul to Gregorian chant; that its abbot, Dom Philippe, has recruited its members from among the ranks of other orders for their piety, their musical abilities and a necessary range of domestic and maintenance skills; and that an otherworldly recording the brothers had recently made of Gregorian chants has sharply polarized the community between the prior's men, who want to exploit their unexpected success by making another recording and speaking more widely of their vocation, and the abbot's men, who greet the prospect of a more open and worldly community with horror. Nor are conflicts limited to the holy suspects. Gamache, Beauvoir and Sret Chief Superintendent Sylvain Franoeur, arriving unexpectedly and unwelcome, tangle over the proper way to conduct the investigation, the responsibility for the collateral damage in Gamache's last case (A Trick of the Light, 2011, etc.) and Beauvoir's loyalty to his two chiefs and himself in ways quite as violent as any their hosts can provide. Elliptical and often oracular, but also remarkably penetrating and humane. The most illuminating analogies are not to other contemporary detective fiction but to The Name of the Rose and Murder in the Cathedral.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
2013 (Best First)
The expats : a novel
 Chris Pavone
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
  Book Jacket
2013 (Best Paperback)
Big Maria
 Johnny Shaw
  Book Jacket
2013 (Best Non-Fiction)
Books to die for : the world's greatest mystery writers on the world's greatest mystery novels
Book Jacket   edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke
2012 (Best Novel)
A trick of the light : a Chief Inspector Gamache novel
Book Jacket   Louise Penny
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Schadenfreude descends on the Quebecois village of Three Pines.Clara Morrow's solo exhibition at the Musee d'Art Contemporain in Montreal has been a long time coming. And although some seem pleased for her success in middle age, others, including a school friend turned vitriolic art critic, a gallery owner and even her husband Peter, an artist himself, wrestle with their envy. The day after the showing, back in Clara's garden in Three Pines, Lillian Dyson, former critic, current A.A. participant and Clara's vituperative ex-friend, lies dead of a broken neck. Armand Gamache, heading up the Suret's homicide division, and his second-in-command Jean Guy Beauvoir (Bury Your Dead,2010, etc.), are called on to investigate. They soon realize the case pits sobriety against drunkenness, appearance against reality and good changes against bad. Moreover, Gamache and Beauvoir have their own demons to exorcize, stemming from a catastrophic police raid, physical and emotional rehab and a marriage that never should have happened. With suspects and old slights vying to be uncovered, it becomes difficult indeed to find "some measure of peace in the small village."Penny, elevating herself to the pantheon that houses P.D. James, Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters, demonstrates an exquisite touch with characterization, plotting and artistic sensitivity. And there could be no better explanation of A.A. than you will find here.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
2012 (Best First)
Learning to swim : a novel
 Sara J Henry
  Book Jacket
2012 (Best Paperback)
Buffalo West Wing
 Julie Hyzy
  Book Jacket
2012 (Best Non-Fiction)
The Sookie Stackhouse companion
Book Jacket   edited by Charlaine Harris
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. After 11 novels in her Sookie Stackhouse supernatural mystery series, as well as an extremely popular TV adaptation (HBO'sTrue Blood), Harris (Dead Reckoning, 2011, etc.) has provided her dedicated fanbase with this mostly superfluouscompanion work.The primary appeal of theCompanionis a new Sookie novella by Harris, "Small-Town Wedding," which finds Sookie accompanying her boss and friend Sam Merlotte to his brother's wedding in a small Texas town. Sam, a shape-shifter who can take the form of various animals, is worried about prejudice directed at his shape-shifting family now that the "two-natured" (as they're known in the series) have revealed themselves to the general public, just as vampires did in Harris' first Sookie novel,Dead Until Dark (2001). "Wedding" features a simple story that adds dimension to Harris' wider fictional world while remaining squarely focused on two of her long-running characters, and it serves as a nice spotlight for Sam and his family. The rest of the book is mostly filler, including painstakingly detailed (but completely dry) summaries of all the Sookie novels and short stories to date, as well as similarly exhaustive entries on every character, no matter how minor, who's ever appeared in the series. Those sections might at least be informative for readers who can't be bothered to check Wikipedia or fan websites, but features like the history of Harris' fan club, a selection of recipes inspired by the books and an instantly outdated interview withTrue Bloodcreator Alan Ball are almost completely useless. This hodgepodge of material will only become more irrelevant as Harris continues the series, adding narrative pieces outside of the scope of theCompanion.The previously unpublished novella is charming, but the rest of the book is for hardcore Sookie completists only.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
2011 (Best Novel)
Bury your dead
Book Jacket   Louise Penny
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. The sixth appearance of Armand Gamache, North America's most humane detective.Chief Inspector Gamache of the Canadian Sret and his associate Jean Guy Beauvoir are slowly healing from a case that turned horribly bad. Gamache spends hours reading in Qubec's Literary and Historical Society library. Beauvoir, at Gamache's instigation, reopens the Three Pines murder enquiry that sent BB owner Olivier to prison. While Beauvoir quietly interrogates the gently eccentric residents of Three Pines (The Brutal Telling, 2009, etc.) to see whether anyone else had motive to kill a hermit for his antique treasures, happenstance lands Gamache in the middle of another murder case. Augustin Renaud, obsessed with finding the burial place of idolized Qubec city founder Samuel de Champlain, lies dead in the library's basement. The riddles of who killed him and why force Gamache and his aging mentor Emile to examine 400 years of Qubec history. As they delve for clues among the library's old journals and diaries, they focus ever more closely on the endless rancor between the French and the English.Gamache's excruciating grief over a wrong decision, Beauvoir's softening toward the unconventional, a plot twist so unexpected it's chilling, and a description of Qubec intriguing enough to make you book your next vacation there, all add up to a superior read. Bring on the awards.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
2011 (Best First)
The damage done
 Hilary Davidson
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Even death doesn't stop the family's black sheep from causing more problems.Claudia, who ingested drugs the way most of us breathe air, apparently took her last fix, then toppled into her bathtub, where she died. Eerily, the date of her demise coincides with the anniversary of her mother's suicide. Lily, who spent years tidying up the messes left by their father's abandonment, their mother's temperament and Claudia's escapades, returns from a year doing travel writing in Spain to handle her sister's final misdeed. She's stunned to learn that the body in the tub isn't Claudia; the woman who phoned in the death has gone missing; and the new tenant in the neighboring apartment seems to know every aspect of the family's sad history. Hoping that Claudia is alive somewhere, Lily goes looking for her with the help of her chum Tiger. Her search leads to some unsettling developments. Claudia may have seduced Lily's ex-fianc Martin; Claudia's lover Tariq gets shot at; several people from the rehab center Claudia stayed at, including the corpse in the tub, are now dead. There will be one last revelation before all facts are known and Lily's days of mothering her sister come at last to an end.Davidson's first mystery follows 18 nonfiction books. The story is zealously overplotted, but Lily's emotional center is true, and her career as a travel writer might make her a decent candidate for more temperate adventures. ]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
  Book Jacket
2011 (Best Paperback)
Expiration date
 Duane Swierczynski
  Book Jacket
2011 (Best Graphic Novel)
The chill
Book Jacket   writer, Jason Starr ; art, Mick Bertilorenzi ; letters, Clem Robins
2011 (Best Non-fiction)
Agatha Christie's secret notebooks : fifty years of mysteries in the making
Book Jacket   John Curran
2010 (Best Novel)
The brutal telling
 Louise Penny
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Chief Inspector Gamache of the Canadian Sret is again called to restore order to the tiny Quebecois hamlet of Three Pines. Olivier and Gabri, gay owners of the Bistro and BB, insist they that they don't know the dead man and can't imagine how he came to be lying on their floor. That's not quite the truth, but it's merely the setup for the first of many surprises. The real story will unravel for Gamache and his subordinates Beauvoir and Lacoste in startling ways. These include the discovery that the corpse has been moved three times by two different people; the return of a father declared dead over 20 years ago; a word woven into a spider's web; and the disclosure of several wood carvings emanating evil that require Gamache to fly to British Columbia and inspect totem poles. Priceless antiques sequestered in a hermit's cabin and sorrowful tales of Czech citizens cheated of their belongings will come to light before Gamache, to his considerable distress, will have to arrest a friend. Penny (A Rule Against Murder, 2009, etc.) is a world-class storyteller. If you don't want to move to Montreal with Gamache as your neighboror better yet, relocate to Three Pines and be welcomed into its community of eccentricsyou have sawdust in your veins, which must be very uncomfortable. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
  Book Jacket
2010 (Best First)
A bad day for sorry
 Sophie Littlefield
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Renegade justice takes a turn when a domestic-violence case becomes a kidnapping. Stella Hardesty is no lady. She owns a small sewing shop in the depths of Missouri, but she's also got a side job delivering her own special brand of justice to dealers of domestic violence. It's her way of giving back after a life with Ollie, her own death-do-us-part abuser. Having disposed of him years ago, she's managed to keep this little domestic secret and her side job from the watchful eyes of Sheriff Goat Jones. Too bad, too, because she wouldn't mind spending a little more time in the gaze of those eyes. Stella's got a routine down pat: five days a week peddling sewing goods to old ladies, the other two for extracurriculars. When she spots poor Chrissy Shaw, who suffers regularly at the hands of her loser husband Roy Dean, Stella makes a quick visit to Roy Dean and thinks she's taken care of the situation. But then Chrissy's two-year-old son Tucker disappears, with Roy Dean the obvious suspect. Preliminary investigations suggest that the story is far more complex than Stella ever imagined. In addition, Chrissy's quite a bit tougher than Stella figured. Will the two be able to team up and figure out where Tucker's stashed while staying under Goat's radar? First-timer Littlefield creates characters with just the right quirks who charm even in the face of unrealistic plot turns. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
  Book Jacket
2010 (Best Paperback)
Starvation Lake : a mystery
Book Jacket   Bryan Gruley
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Ten years after it disappears beneath the icy waters of Starvation Lake, a beloved hockey coach's snowmobile is found in another lake. Jack Blackburn had it all. His players adored him, and his success in bringing them closer and closer to the Michigan championship put his adopted town on the map, brought a welcome influx of new investment capital and made him the first citizen of the hockey-mad hamlet. Now the snowmobile on which his assistant Leo Redpath watched him sink into Starvation Lake has turned up five miles away. Did it drift there through an underground tunnel, or is there a more sinister explanation? Gus Carpenter, the former goalie who blew the state championship game for Blackburn's finest team, would seem the logical person to investigate. But Gus's experience digging up juicy stories for the Detroit Times has come at a high price, and not even his secluded gig as associate editor of the Pine County Pilot can prevent his scandalous past from resurfacing. Gus's struggle with this new mystery is complicated by his old rival Teddy Boynton's attempt to put Soupy Campbell, Gus's best friend, out of business, and by his painful discovery that all the people he's been closest to, from his mother to his old girlfriend to his society columnist, have been hoarding secrets that have made them strangers to him. Gruley's debut is generously plotted and rewardingly solid on character and atmosphere, though most readers will be ahead of Gus every step of the way. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
2010 (Best Non-fiction)
Talking about detective fiction
Book Jacket   PD James


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