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Best Adult Crime Novel
Subcategory of Davitt Award
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Winners

2019 winner y separately published work icon The Rúin Dervla McTiernan , Sydney South : HarperCollins , 2018 12932996 2018 single work novel crime

'Galway 1993: Young Garda Cormac Reilly is called to a scene he will never forget. Two silent, neglected children - fifteen-year-old Maude and five-year-old Jack - are waiting for him at a crumbling country house. Upstairs, their mother lies dead.

'Twenty years later, a body surfaces in the icy black waters of the River Corrib. At first it looks like an open-and-shut case, but then doubt is cast on the investigation's findings - and the integrity of the police. Cormac is thrown back into the cold case that has haunted him his entire career - what links the two deaths, two decades apart? As he navigates his way through police politics and the ghosts of the past, Detective Reilly uncovers shocking secrets and finds himself questioning who among his colleagues he can trust.

'What really did happen in that house where he first met Maude and Jack? The Ruin draws us deep into the dark heart of Ireland and asks who will protect you when the authorities can't - or won't.' (Publication Summary)

2018 winner y separately published work icon And Fire Came Down Emma Viskic , Richmond : Echo Publishing , 2017 11614862 2017 single work novel thriller

'Deaf since early childhood, Caleb Zelic used to meet life head-on. Now he’s struggling just to get through the day. His best mate is dead, his ex-wife, Kat, is avoiding him, and nightmares haunt his waking hours.

'But when a young woman is killed after pleading for his help in sign language, Caleb is determined to find out who she was. And the trail leads straight to his hometown, Resurrection Bay. The town is on bushfire alert and simmering with racial tensions. As he delves deeper, Caleb uncovers secrets that could threaten his life and any chance of reuniting with Kat. Driven by his demons, he pushes on. But who is he willing to sacrifice along the way? ' (Publication summary)
 

2017 winner y separately published work icon The Dry Jane Harper , Sydney : Macmillan Australia , 2016 9592721 2016 single work novel detective

'WHO REALLY KILLED THE HADLER FAMILY?

'Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well ...

'When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.

'And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds are reopened. For Falk and his childhood friend Luke shared a secret ... A secret Falk thought long-buried ... A secret which Luke's death starts to bring to the surface ...' (Publication summary)

2016 winner y separately published work icon Resurrection Bay Emma Viskic , South Melbourne : Echo Publishing , 2015 8683019 2015 single work novel crime

'Caleb Zelic, profoundly deaf since early childhood, has always lived on the outside - watching, picking up telltale signs people hide in a smile, a cough, a kiss. When a childhood friend is murdered, a sense of guilt and a determination to prove his own innocence sends Caleb on a hunt for the killer. But he can’t do it alone. Caleb and his troubled friend Frankie, an ex-cop, start with one clue: Scott, the last word the murder victim texted to Caleb. But Scott is always one step ahead.

'This gripping, original and fast-paced crime thriller is set between a big city and a small coastal town, Resurrection Bay, where Caleb is forced to confront painful memories. Caleb is a memorable protagonist who refuses to let his deafness limit his opportunities, or his participation in the investigation. But does his persistence border on stubbornness? And at what cost? As he delves deeper into the investigation Caleb uncovers unwelcome truths about his murdered friend – and himself.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2015 winner y separately published work icon Big Little Lies Liane Moriarty , Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 2014 7584821 2014 single work novel crime

'I guess it started with the mothers.'

'It was all just a terrible misunderstanding.'

'I'll tell you exactly why it happened.'

'Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. A parent is dead. Was it murder, a tragic accident... or something else entirely?

'Big Little Lies is a funny, heartbreaking, challenging story of ex-husbands and second wives, new friendships, old betrayals and and schoolyard politics.

'No. 1 New York Times bestselling author turns her unique gaze on the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves every day and what really goes on behind closed suburban doors.

'Let me be clear. This is not a circus. This is a murder investigation.'

(Publication summary)

2015 winner y separately published work icon A Murder Unmentioned Sulari Gentill , Neutral Bay : Pantera Press , 2014 8144534 2014 single work novel crime historical fiction

'The black sheep of a wealthy grazier dynasty, gentleman artist Rowland Sinclair often takes matters into his own hands. When the matter is murder, there are consequences.

'For nearly fourteen years, Rowland has tried to forget, but now the past has returned.

'A newly-discovered gun casts light on a family secret long kept... a murder the Sinclairs would prefer stayed unsolved.

'As old wounds tear open, the dogged loyalty of Rowland's inappropriate companions is all that stands between him and the consequences of a brutal murder... one he simply failed to mention.' (Publication summary)

2014 winner y separately published work icon Dark Horse Honey Brown , Camberwell : Penguin , 2013 Z1908507 2013 single work novel thriller 'Sarah Barnard has lost her trail-riding business, her horses, her house and her husband. Avoiding the daunting task of facing family on Christmas Day, she sets off on her beloved black mare, Tansy, into the Mortimer Ranges. But when a flash storm turns Spinners Creek into a raging torrent, Sarah is trapped on Devil Mountain. Seeking shelter, she rides higher, to the summit, to the remote Hangman's Hut.

A man, a bushwalker also trapped, joins Sarah there. Heath is friendly, capable and handsome. There are elements to his story that don't ring true though. Why is he so deep in the wilderness without any gear? Where is his vehicle? Why does he seem in no rush to be rescued?

Surviving together means Sarah must put aside her doubts and trust him. Yet the closer they get the more her suspicions grow. Isolated, with no rescuers in sight, Sarah finds herself locked into dangerous game of intimacy and survival with a man displaying all the hallmarks of a killer.' (Publisher's blurb)
2013 winner y separately published work icon Mad Men, Bad Girls and the Guerilla Knitters Institute Maggie Groff , Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 2012 Z1845117 2012 single work novel

'When a secretive American cult moves to the Gold Coast, freelance journalist Scout Davis's investigative antennae start quivering. She sets out to expose the cult's lunatic beliefs and bizarre practices, but when she learns the identity of a recent recruit, her quest becomes personal. And dangerous.

'The cult isn't the only case on Scout's agenda. Someone is cutting up girls' underwear at an exclusive school and Scout agrees to look into it. And the sinister secret behind the vandalism is not nice. Not at all.

'But Scout has her secrets too. In the dead of night she sneaks out with an underground group of yarn bombers to decorate the locality with artworks. The next mission ticks all the right boxes - it's risky, difficult and extremely silly. However, not everyone is amused, and Scout has a sneaking suspicion that the local police sergeant, Rafe Kelly, is hot on her tail.

'Mad Men, Bad Girls and the Guerilla Knitters Institute is frequently hilarious, always surprising, and delivered with a strong cast of charmingly eccentric characters.' (From the publisher's website.)

2012 winner y separately published work icon A Decline in Prophets Sulari Gentill , Seaforth : Pantera Press , 2011 Z1779650 2011 single work novel historical fiction crime

'In 1932, the RMS Aquitania embodies all that is gracious and refined, in a world gripped by crisis and doubt. Returning home on the luxury liner after months abroad, Rowland Sinclair and his companions dine with a suffragette, a Bishop and a retired World Prophet. The Church encounters less orthodox religion in the Aquitania's chandeliered ballroom, where men of God rub shoulders with mystics in dinner suits. The elegant atmosphere on board is charged with tension but civility prevails... until people start to die. Then things get a bit awkward.

'And Rowland Sinclair finds himself unwittingly in the centre of it all. "I'm afraid, Sinclair has a habit of being in the wrong place every possible time. I would think twice about standing next to him." "God forbid, Rowland, you should return home without some sort of scandal... leading some kind of insane cult!".(Trove)

2011 winner y separately published work icon Cold Justice Katherine Howell , Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 2010 Z1651237 2010 single work novel crime

'A teenage girl stumbles across the body of her classmate, Tim Pieters, hidden amongst the bushes. His family is devastated, the killer is never found.

'Eighteen years later, political pressure sees the murder investigation reopened. Detective Ella Marconi tracks down Georgie Riley, the student who found the body, and who is now a paramedic. Georgie seems to be telling the truth, so then why does Ella receive an anonymous phone call insisting that Georgie knows more? And is it mere coincidence that her ambulance partner, Freya, also went to the same high school?

'Ella's confusion increases when Tim's mother, once so willing to get the police involved, suddenly turns her back on the investigation. Meanwhile, Tim's cousin, the MP whose influence reopened the case, can't seem to do enough to help.

'The more Ella digs into the past, the more the buried secrets and lies are brought to light. Can she track down the killer before more people are hurt?' (From the publisher's website.)

2010 winner y separately published work icon Sharp Shooter Marianne Delacourt , Crows Nest : Arena , 2009 Z1624320 2009 single work novel crime detective humour

'Tara Sharp should be just another unemployable, twenty-something, ex-private schoolgirl . . . but she has the gift - or curse as she sees it - of reading people's auras. The trouble is, auras sometimes tell you things about people they don't want you to know.

When a family friend recommends Mr Hara's Paralanguage School, Tara decides to give it a whirl - and graduates with flying colours. So when Mr Hara picks up passes on a job for a hot-shot lawyer she jumps at the chance despite some of his less-than-salubrious clients.

Tara should know better than to get involved when she learns the job involves mob boss Johnny Vogue. But she's broke and the magic words "retainer" and "bonus" have been mentioned. Soon Tara finds herself sucked into an underworld 'situation' that has her running for her life. Sharp Shooter is a hilarious, action-packed novel and Tara Sharp is Triple F: Funny. Fast. Feisty.' (From the publisher's website.)

2009 winner y separately published work icon A Beautiful Place to Die Malla Nunn , Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 2008 Z1539018 2008 single work novel crime

'In the tiny South African town of Jacob's Rest, Detective Emmanuel Cooper is sent to investigate the murder of an Afrikaner police officer, Captain Willem Pretorius.

'Cooper, an "English" South African, is viewed with suspicion by both the Boer Afrikaners and the dead man's prominent family, and his investigation is quickly taken over by Security Branch. But Cooper isn't interested in political expediency, or making friends in high places, and as he pursues his own inquiry, he discovers that Captain Pretorius had led a deadly double life.

'The more Cooper digs, the more dangerous the investigation becomes. For Cooper is a man with his own secrets, and learning the truth about Captain Pretorius just might save life... if he isn't killed first.

'In this riveting debut, Malla Nunn combines a thrilling, action-packed story with a thoughtful, complex portrayal of an unforgettable time and place and the human desires that drive us all, regardless of race, colour or creed.' (Publisher's blurb)

2008 winner y separately published work icon Frantic Katherine Howell , 2006 single work novel crime thriller
— Appears in: On The Edge of Their Seats: The Novel Manuscript 'Frantic' and the Critical Essay 'Suspense in Fiction: Its Operation and Techniques' 2006;

'In one terrible moment, paramedic Sophie Phillips' life is ripped apart - her police officer husband, Chris, is shot on their doorstep and their ten-month-old son, Lachlan, is abducted from his bed. Suspicion surrounds Chris as he is tainted with police corruption, but Sophie believes the attack is much more personal - and the perpetrator far more dangerous...

While Chris is in hospital and the police, led by Detective Ella Marconi, mobilise to find their colleague's child, Sophie's desperation compels her to search for Lachlan herself. She enlists her husband's partner, Angus Arendson, in the hunt for her son, but will the history they share prove harmful to Sophie's ability to complete her mission?

And could one dangerous decision cause Sophie to ultimately lose everything important in her life?' (Publisher's blurb)

2007 winner y separately published work icon Undertow Sydney Bauer , Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 2006 Z1306373 2006 single work novel crime thriller Following an alleged conversation between respected attorney Rayna Martin and teenager Christina Haynes during a boating trip at Cape Ann, Massachusetts, one of them is dead, the other arrested for murder. Boston lawyer David Cavanaugh faces his toughest case to date as what appears to be a tragic but blameless accident turns into something else entirely. With the victim's father one of the most powerful politicians in the US Senate and the Assistant District Attorney prepared to put his personal ambition ahead of legal justice, David finds that his most dangerous battle is taking place outside the courtroom. Lies, deception, blackmail, threats... and finally the precision of an assassin's bullet combine to create a shocking finale. (Backcover)
2006 winner y separately published work icon The Butterfly Man Heather Rose , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2005 Z1204887 2005 single work novel mystery 'If Lord Lucan escaped his past, what was his future?...The story of the infamous British peer...twenty years after his escape from England following the murder of the family nanny. Set in Tasmania, Africa and London's West End...' - from back cover
2004 winner y separately published work icon Due Preparations for the Plague Janette Turner Hospital , Pymble : HarperCollins , 2003 Z1029013 2003 single work novel thriller (taught in 2 units)

'Lowell tries not to think about the past, about the hijacking that killed his mother. Samantha, on the other hand, cannot let go. As a child she survived the hijacking of Air France 64, and as an adult she obsessively digs for answers, seeking a man called Salamander whom she believes holds key information.

'It is the death of Lowell's father, and his legacy of a blue sports bag crammed with documents and videotapes, that finally brings Lowell and Samantha together and unravels the interconnections between victims and perpetrators, saved and damned.

'But in this murky world of endless aliases and surveillance, who can be trusted? When does the quest for truth become a dangerous obsession? And what difference can the truth make?

'Janette Turner Hospital has crafted a taut and confronting novel that propels us into the chaos of terror and the cruelty - and unexpected hope - of survival. ' (Publication summary)

2003 joint winner y separately published work icon Blood Redemption Alex Palmer , Pymble : HarperCollins , 2002 Z976276 2002 single work novel crime
2003 joint winner y separately published work icon Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing Gabrielle Lord , Sydney : Hodder Headline Australia , 2002 Z970212 2002 single work novel crime detective

'Gemma Lincoln is trying to discover who has been raping and murdering girls from Kings Cross. Her own business is being sabotaged and her boyfriend is getting up close and personal with a beautiful woman. Gemma struggles to pull her life together in increasingly sinister circumstances.' (Publication summary)

2001 winner y separately published work icon Eye to Eye Caroline Shaw , Milsons Point : Random House , 2000 Z668281 2000 single work novel crime Lights! Action! Murder! Super-cool sleuth Lenny Aaron is back battling murder, mayhem and her own personal demons in another darkly funny whodunnit. A pill-popping loner with a penchant for green tea, Zen meditation and bonsai, Lenny is making a living out of catching cats with a bit of PI work on the side. When she is hired to track down a malicious vandal at a private film school and a student is brutally murdered, Lenny is drawn into a world of Hitchcock-sized egos and deceptive camera angles. Another bloody murder, a smoke screen of motives, and Lenny finds herself hunting a serial killer while her private life unravels like a B-grade movie. Which will crack first: the case or Lenny? (Publisher's blurb, back cover)
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