Best Hardcover Novel
The Chain by Adrian McKinty
You just dropped off your child at the bus stop. A panicked stranger calls your phone. Your child has been kidnapped. The stranger then explains that their child has also been kidnapped, by a completely different stranger. The only way to get your child back is to kidnap another child – within 24 hours. Your child will be released only when the next victim’s parents kidnap yet another child. And most importantly, the stranger explains, if you don’t kidnap a child, or if the next parents don’t kidnap a child, your child will be murdered. You are now part of The Chain.
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Best First Novel
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
In rural Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community.
Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night—trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges—as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.
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Best Paperback Original
The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan
When Dr. Emma Sweeney stumbles across the victim of a hit-and-run outside Galway University early one morning, she calls her boyfriend, Detective Cormac Reilly, bringing him first to the scene of a murder that would otherwise never have been assigned to him. The dead girl is carrying an ID that will put this crime at the center of a scandal-her card identifies her as Carline Darcy, heir apparent to Darcy Therapeutics, Ireland’s most successful pharmaceutical company. Darcy Therapeutics has a finger in every pie, from sponsoring university research facilities to funding political parties to philanthropy-it has even funded Emma’s own groundbreaking research.
As the murder investigation twists in unexpected ways and Cormac’s running of the case comes under scrutiny from the department and his colleagues, he is forced to question himself and the beliefs that he has long held as truths. Who really is Emma? And who is Carline Darcy? A gripping and atmospheric follow-up to The Ruin, The Scholar is perfect for fans of Tana French and Flynn Berry.
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Best Short Story
“The Long-Term Tenant” by Tara Laskowski, from Ellery Queen Magazine
Best Young Adult Novel
Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan
It’s been a year since the Catalog Killer terrorized the sleepy seaside town of Camera Cove, killing four people before disappearing without a trace. Like everyone else in town, eighteen-year-old Mac Bell is trying to put that horrible summer behind him-easier said than done since Mac’s best friend Connor was the murderer’s final victim. But when he finds a cryptic message from Connor, he’s drawn back into the search for the killer-who might not have been a random drifter after all. Now nobody-friends, neighbors, or even the sexy stranger with his own connection to the case-is beyond suspicion. Sensing that someone is following his every move, Mac struggles to come to terms with his true feelings towards Connor while scrambling to uncover the truth.
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