Annal: 1996 Shamus Award for Best P.I. Novel

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 1996.

Book:Concourse

Concourse: A Lydia Chin, Bill Smith Mystery

S.J. Rozan

It flows through the Bronx like a river between banks of faded elegance. And at the end of the avenue called the Grand Concourse is the place people go to die, the Bronx Home for the Aged. The only trouble is the people dying there are going before their time.

Bill Smith has been hired by an old friend to investigate the brutal killing of a young security guard on the Bronx Home grounds. Going undercover, Smith wades out into a sea of violence and lies washing up against the old brick building. When a second murder is committed, Smith knows that there’s a method to the madness. With the help of bright, young Chinese-American investigator Lydia Chin, Smith uncovers a web of corruption that’s found a home in the Bronx. Now he has to figure out who will die next.

Book:Come to Grief

Come to Grief

Dick Francis

Although more than a decade has passed since the publication of Whip Hand, little time has elapsed in Sid Halley’s life. Still in his mid-thirties, he remains troubled, courageous, unwilling to admit defeat to disabling injury or to corruption. Now, though, Sid faces nineties’ dilemmas, dangers, and deeply demanding decisions.

Having exposed an adored racing figure as a monster, Sid must testify at the man’s trial. But the morning of his appearance, a tragic suicide shatters the proceedings and jars Halley’s conscience. Plagued by regret and the suspicion that there’s more to the death than has yet come to light, he is catapulted into days of hard, rational detection, heart-searching torments, and the gravest of perils. Business as usual for Sid…

Book:Movie

Movie: A Stanley Hastings Mystery Novel

Parnell Hall

No, Stanley can’t quite quit his day job as an ambulance chasing private investigator, but he has managed to get a movie produced. Hot young producer/director Sidney Carfellow is filming Stanley’s script, neophyte superstar Jason Clairemont is rewriting all of Stanley’s best lines, the producer’s favorite starlets are running around in their birthday suits, and everything would be movie business as usual, if bodies didn’t start dropping on the set. Talk about film noir—is it murder, or just a bizarre series of accidents? Whichever, Stanley’s movie is in trouble. It was tough enough filming in New York City on a shoestring without policemen tripping all over the set. When the next attack happens right under their very noses, the cops are sure that someone connected to Hands of Havoc, Flesh of Fire is a killer. Bad luck for Stanley. When they started tinkering with his script, he figured it was the death of his career. Now, if he can’t figure out who the killer is, it just could really be the “The End,” “Fin,” “Fine,” of his life…

Book:The Neon Smile

The Neon Smile: A Novel

Dick Lochte

When Terry Manion, the New Orleans private investigator introduced in Blue Bayou, agrees to work for Pierre Reynaldo, the king of exploitation TV, he doesn’t have a clue about what he’s getting into. Reynaldo wants to reopen a case the police slammed shut thirty years ago—the racially motivated murder of Tyrone Pano, a black militant leader. But the more Manion learns about the case, the more personal it becomes. Both Manion’s father and his revered mentor, J.J. Legendre, had ties to Pano that might have been better left buried.

The Neon Smile takes the reader back to 1965, a fateful year for J. J. Legendre. It is then that Legendre, a young and cynical homicide detective, tackles both the Pano case and a series of brutal murders committed by a killer as clever as he is cold-blooded. Each victim is found with a voodoo doll, the signature previously employed by a nineteenth-century murderer known…[more]

Book:Vanishing Smile

Vanishing Smile: A Thomas Black Mystery

Earl Emerson

Marian Wright is an amateur sleuth in the employ of two attractive young women eager to catch up with their no-account ex-lovers. But when Marian’s investigation ends abruptly and ferociously, Seattle private eye Thomas Black has a new case on his hands.

Picking up the pieces of Marian Wright’s search for her clients’ rogue boyfriends, Thomas encounters a network of people—from ex-cons and prostitutes to other private investigators—all webbed together by a chilling common thread. It’s a discovery that speaks volumes about the zealousness of Marian’s manhunt, and even suggests a monstrous reason for her sudden death. Yet equally monstrous is an unknown, baseball bat-wielding assailant who seems hell-bent on making sure Thomas Black’s investigation stays closed….

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