Annal: 1996 Hammett Prize for Crime-Writing

Results of the Hammett Prize in the year 1996.



Martin Cruz Smith

The American adventurer Jonathan Blair has been chased by scandal out of West Africa to the stranger land of Victorian England. Gin-soaked and shaking from malaria, he must travel to Wigan, a town in the darkest part of England, to solve the mysterious disappearance of a young cleric.

Nineteenth-century Wigan is two worlds. On the surface it is a serene baize-green land of the moneyed. But in the pits that reach a mile below the surface lurks a separate world where coal miners eke out their short, violent lives covered in black dust. And while the world on the surface may have fine ladies, the world of miners has pit girls, the social and sexual scandal of the country.

The missing cleric, John Maypole, has crossed the line. He was engaged to Charlotte, the daughter of the bishop who owns…[more]

Book:Buzz Cut

Buzz Cut

James W. Hall

A brutal hijacker,
A missing heiress,
And a luxury liner racing toward disaster…

In the quiet shallows of the Florida Keys, Thorn has made a home, tying fishing flies and trying to forget the violence of his past. Now Key Largo is his world. He fishes it, breathes it, makes love in it. Until a phone call from Miami changes everything plunging Thorn into the deep waters of madness and revenge…

In Miami, Thorn’s best friend, Sugarman, is fighting for his life. While working security for a luxury liner plagued by theft, Sugarman was attacked by a man with a knife in one hand and 400,000 volts of electricity in the other. And when the M.S.…[more]

Book:Damaged Goods

Damaged Goods: A Stanley Moodrow Crime Novel

Stephen Solomita

Jilly Sappone is back on the streets. Why would the New York State parole board release a killer known for such mindless violence? And why did the parole board first turn down Jilly Sappone’s application, then suddenly change its mind? Most disturbing of all, why wasn’t Jilly’s ex-wife Ann Kalkadonis, notified that her revenge-seeking former spouse was about to go free?

Such questions become shockingly academic when Jilly teams up with former cell mate Jackson-David Wescott to kidnap Ann’s four-year-old daughter, Theresa. Ann knows that the child must be found and found quickly. If the police get to Jilly first, he will go down fighting, taking the little girl with him.

Ann turns for help to computer investigation specialist Guinevere Gadd and street-smart ex-cop Stanley Moodrow to search for her child. Together Moodrow and Gadd begin a relentless pursuit, using any means, within or beyond the law, to bring them closer…[more]

Book:Innocent Graves

Innocent Graves

Peter Robinson

The worst that can possibly happen…has.

A beautiful child is dead—defiled and murdered in a lonely graveyard on a fog-shrouded evening. It is the sort of horrific crime Chief Inspector Alan Banks fled the city to escape. But the slaying of a bright and lovely teenager from a wealthy, respected family is not the end of a nightmare. Lies, dark secrets, unholy accusations, and hints of sexual depravity swirl around this abomination like leaves in an autumn wind, leading to a shattering travesty of justice that will brutally divide a devastated community with suspicion and hatred. But Banks must remain vigilant in his hunt—because when the devil is left free to pursue his terrible calling, more blood will surely flow.

Book:The Poet

The Poet

Michael Connelly

Jack McEvoy specializes in death. As a crime reporter for the Rocky Mountain News, he has seen every kind of murder. But his professional bravado doesn’t lessen the brutal shock of learning that his only brother is dead, a suicide.

Jack’s brother was a homicide detective, and he had been depressed about a recent murder case, a hideously grisly one, that he’d been unable to solve.

McEvoy decides that the best way to exorcise his grief is by writing a feature on police suicides. But when he begins his research, he quickly arrives at a stunning revelation. Following his leads, protecting his sources, muscling his way inside a federal investigation, Jack grabs hold of what is clearly the story of a lifetime. He also knows that in taking on the story, he’s making himself the most visible target for a murderer who has eluded the greatest investigators alive.

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