The 2011 ITW Thriller Award for the Best First Novel

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Best First Novel

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The Things That Keep Us Here

Author: Buckley, Carla
Format: Hardcover
Type: Thriller Novel
Page Count: 404pp.
Pub. Date: February 2010
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

 

Nominated for the 2011 ITW Thriller Award for the Best First Novel
Nominated for the 2011 Ohioana Book Award for Best Fiction

Publisher’s Summary:
Everything seems quiet on Ann Brooks’s suburban cul-de-sac. Despite her impending divorce, she’s created a happy home and her daughters are adjusting to the change. She feels lucky to be in a supportive community and confident that she can handle any other hardship that life may throw her way.

But then, right before Thanksgiving, a crisis strikes that turns everybody’s world upside down. Suddenly her estranged husband is forced back onto her doorstep, bringing with him his beautiful graduate assistant.

Trapped inside the house she once called home, confronted by challenges she never could have imagined, Ann must make life-or-death decisions in an environment where the simple act of opening a door to a neighbor could jeopardize all she holds dear.

The choices she makes will impact the lives of those around her irrevocably and linger in the reader’s memory in this marvelous first novel, written with authority, grace, and wisdom.

The Poacher’s Son (The Mike Bowditch Series #1)

Author: Doiron, Paul
Format: Hardcover
Type: Thriller Novel
Page Count: 324pp.
Pub. Date: May 2010
Publisher: Minotaur Books

 

Nominated for the 2011 ITW Thriller Award for the Best First Novel
Nominated for the 2011 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American Author

The audio book is available from the CLEVNET eMedia Collection.

Publisher’s Summary:
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. He knows firsthand Jack’s brutality, but is the man capable of murder?

Desperate and alone, he strikes up an uneasy alliance with a retired warden pilot, and together the two men journey deep into the Maine wilderness in search of a runaway fugitive. But the only way for Mike to save his father is to find the real killer — which could mean putting everyone he loves in the line of fire.

The Poacher’s Son is a sterling debut of literary suspense. Taut and engrossing, it represents the first in a series featuring Mike Bowditch.

The Insider

Author: Hirsch, Reece
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Type: Thriller Novel
Page Count: 336pp.
Pub. Date: May 2010
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)

 

Nominated for the 2011 ITW Thriller Award for the Best First Novel

Publisher’s Summary:
First corporate attorney Will Connelly’s colleague hurtles to his death outside his office window.

Within days, Will is a prime suspect in a murder, the target of an S.E.C. insider trading investigation, and a pawn in a complex criminal scheme involving the Russian mafia and a ruthless terrorist plot.

Now, to top things off, he must ensure a deadly enemy doesn’t gain access to the nation’s most sensitive and confidential information — that has the power to do incalculable, irrevocable harm.

Drink the Tea

Author: Kaufman, Thomas
Format: Hardcover
Type: Thriller Novel
Page Count: 294pp.
Pub. Date: March 2010
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

 

Nominated for the 2011 ITW Thriller Award for the Best First Novel

Publisher’s Summary:
Willis Gidney is a born liar and rip-off artist, an expert at the scam. Growing up without parents or a home, by age twelve he is a successful young man, running his own small empire, until he meets Shadrack Davies.

That’s Captain Shadrack Davies, of the D.C. Police. Davies wants to reform Gidney and becomes his foster father. Though he tries not to, Gidney learns a small amount of ethics from Shad — just enough to bother a kid from the streets for the rest of his life.

Now Gidney is a PI, walking those same streets. So it’s no surprise that when his closest friend, jazz saxophonist Steps Jackson, asks Gidney to find his missing daughter, Gidney is compelled to say yes — even though she’s been missing for twenty-five years. He finds a woman who may be the girl’s mother — and within hours she turns up dead. The police accuse Gidney of the murder and throw him in jail.

Maybe Gidney should quit while he’s behind. But when his investigation puts him up against a ruthless multinational corporation, a two-faced congressman, and a young woman desperate to conceal her past, Gidney has no time left for second thoughts. In fact, he may have no time left at all.

Thomas Kaufman is a winner of the PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Competition. His debut novel, Drink the Tea, which boasts an original PI and an engaging cast of characters, adds a fresh perspective to the genre.

Still Missing

Author: Stevens, Chevy
Format: Hardcover
Type: Thriller Novel
Page Count: 352pp.
Pub. Date: July 2010
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

 

Nominated for the 2011 ITW Thriller Award for the Best First Novel

The audio book is available from the CLEVNET eMedia Collection.

Publisher’s Summary:
On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two-year-old Realtor, had three goals — sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend.

The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.

Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent captive in a remote mountain cabin — which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist — is the second narrative recounting the nightmare that follows her escape: her struggle to piece her shattered life back together, the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor, and the disturbing sense that things are far from over.

Still Missing is a shocking, visceral, brutal, and beautifully crafted novel about surviving the unsurvivable — and living to bear witness.

The 2011 ITW Thriller Award Nominations Series:

Part 1 — Best Hard Cover Novel
Part 2 — Best Paperback Original
Part 3 — Best First Novel
Part 4 — Best Short Story
Part 5 — The 2011 ITW Thriller Award Winners

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