Results of the Shamus Award in the year 1994.
Seven years ago, Lena Padget’s brother-in-law, Jeff Hayes, went to jail for the brutal murders of her sister and two-year-old nephew. Bitter that restraining orders couldn’t stop bullets, she became a private investigator and advocate for abused women and children whom the police and the legal system neglect.
Hayes is out on parole now, and he’s looking for Lena. Once a major figure in a brutal cult, he teams up with Archie Valetta, an old business partner who is also fresh from prison. When Archie kidnaps Charlie, his ex-wife’s four-year-old son, Eloise Valetta calls Lena for help. A few days later, Archie is found dead—the murder victim of a satanic cult. Charlie has disappeared, but Lena is certain he has been abducted by Jeff’s old cult.
Lena is taking big risks: a budding romance with her police contact; a dangerous on-line contact with the mysterious cult leader, Mr. Enoch; and the leads from her motley bunch of clients who owe her favors. Even if Lena makes all the right moves, will she be in time to save Charlie?
Lesbian private investigator Sydney Sloane had always had a troubled relationship with her brother. He had been reported dead 13 years ago, but now she finds herself staring at the photo of a recently escaped murderer who she is sure is her dead brother David. To find the truth, she begins to investigate and finds herself in the middle of a tangled web of deceit and treachery.
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]