Annal: 1993 Hammett Prize for Crime-Writing

Results of the Hammett Prize in the year 1993.

Book:The Mexican Tree Duck

The Mexican Tree Duck

James Crumley

It seems that no one can find Sarita Cisneros Pines—not her well-connected Republican husband, not the FBI, not even a group of violence-prone guys with vaguely South American accents. And when Sughrue starts searching, working his way from Montana to Aspen, to the Mexican border, he comes up empty too. Empty but for a woman and infant who become Sughrue’s responsibility and obsession…the small, strange, hollowed-out sculpture of a duck that means more than he can imagine—and the blood that keeps getting spilled on his shoes. Sughrue, along with a ragged band of Vietnam buddies, a tough-talking female undercover deputy, and an assorted cast of wanderers, lawbreakers, and lost souls, is in the middle of a war he can’t understand. And unlike his last war, C.W. will fight this one to the end, trying to separate traitors from friends and the enemy from the innocent.

Book:The Black Echo

The Black Echo: A Harry Bosch Novel

Michael Connelly

For LAPD homicide cop Harry Bosch—hero, maverick, nighthawk—the body in the drainpipe at Mulholland Dam is more than another anonymous statistic. This one is personal.

The dead man, Billy Meadows, was a fellow Vietnam “tunnel rat” who fought side by side with him in a nightmare underground war that brought them to the depths of hell. Now, Bosch is about to relive the horror of Nam. From a dangerous maze of blind alleys to a daring criminal heist beneath the city to the tortuous link that must be uncovered, his survival instincts will once again be tested to their limit.

Joining with an enigmatic and seductive female FBI agent, pitted against enemies inside his own department, Bosch must make the agonizing choice between justice and vengeance, as he tracks down a killer whose true face will shock him.

Book:By Evil Means

By Evil Means: A Phoebe Siegel Mystery

Sandra West Prowell

Phoebe Siegel has a brother who’s a priest; her other brother was a cop and everyone thinks he killed himself. Her sister is a recovering drug addict. And Fee, as the folks in Billings, Montana, call her, is a divorced ex-cop with a private investigator’s license. Things could be worse…and they’re about to get that way.

Just north of Billings, there’s a place called Whispering Pines. It’s a nice, gentle name, a fitting name for a rehab center. But what happens there is anything but gentle, and the things Phoebe finds out about the people who run it, about her brother, and about some of the other things that happen under the Big Sky, leave the pines anything but whispering. It begins in March, a month Fee usually takes as a vacation because everything awful that has ever happened to her has happened then. But the woman seeking help with her daughter has an ace up her sleeve. In the file she turns over there’s a picture of a young woman wearing…[more]

Book:Catilina's Riddle

Catilina's Riddle: A Novel of Ancient Rome

Steven Saylor

Using scholarly historical insight and evocative storytelling that brings to life the glories of ancient Rome, Steven Saylor takes the reader from the bloody lines of clashing Roman armies to the backrooms of the Senate floor, where power-hungry politicians wrestle the Fates for control of Rome’s destiny.

With the consular election drawing near, Rome is fiercely divided between the conservative Cicero and the tempestuous Catilina, whose followers are rumored to be plotting a blood-thirsty siege for power if their leader fails to win office.

Gordianus the Finder, retired to his Etruscan farm, is happy to be free of the intrigue and danger of the capital. But when his old friend Cicero enlists the Finder in an elaborate plot to control Catilina, Gordianus is drawn back into a familiar world. Now caught in a cloak-and-dagger political struggle for the fate of the Republic, Gordianus finds himself strangely drawn to…[more]

Book:An Occasional Hell

An Occasional Hell

Randall Silvis

P.I. Ernest DeWalt snooped on two-timing spouses for twenty years until a hail of bullets knocked him out of the game. Whoever heard of a sleuth with bum kidneys? Denied such staples of gumshoe life as booze, salty food, and sex, Ernest DeWalt winds up teaching literature courses in a nearly comatose college town.

It’s a life that the reclusive DeWalt has nevertheless snuggled into with reasonable comfort. Too bad fate won’t just let this disillusioned sleeping dog lie. Too bad a fellow faculty member—in the throes of a fling with the sexy waitress wife of a small-time rock singer—ends up with a musket ball in his brain. And too bad it’s so hard to say no to the dead man’s wife, when she asks DeWalt to crawl out of his shell and bring his private-eye prowess into play just one more time….

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