Annal: 1997 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 1997.

Book:This Dog for Hire

This Dog for Hire: A Rachel Alexander and Dash Mystery

Carol Lea Benjamin

She gets top billing. But he’s the real teeth of the operation. In the search for a killer, they make the perfect team….

She’s thirty-eight, too independent for most men’s taste, and too suspicious for her own good. In her back-alley Greenwich Village cottage, private investigator Rachel Alexander has one ace in the hole: Dash, the devoted, barrel-chested pit bull terrier she once saved from certain death, and who is now about to return the favor.

Dash and Rachel are looking for a missing barkless champion basenji named Magritte, and for a killer. The basenji belonged to a struggling artist found dead on a downtown pier near a sign that said “don’t be caught alone.” As Rachel pursues a string of clues that take her from the SoHo art scene to the world of Manhattan’s homeless to the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, those words echo in her mind. For in an urban landscape where good friends are hard to come by and true lovers even harder, Rachel soon discovers how dangerous it can be to trust the wrong person. Unless, of course, that person is a dog…

Book:Keeper

Keeper

Greg Rucka

In a heartbeat, a crowded auditorium or a city street can become a kill zone, where life and death are separated by a split second. For Atticus Kodiak, professional bodyguard, the object is to keep people alive, and there is no margin for error. Now Kodiak faces his toughest challenge: to protect a woman and her daughter from a killer with a fanatic agenda of his own….

Tense, taut, and as brutally real as this morning’s headlines, Keeper marks the debut of a talented young writer of tough, unflinching prose—and the beginning of an electrifying new series.

Book:The Low End of Nowhere

The Low End of Nowhere: A Streeter Mystery

Michael Stone

Meet Streeter. Yeah, his name’s just Streeter, and the streets of Denver are his investigative patch. He’s an ex-linebacker, ex-accountant, and ex-bouncer who’s become a smooth, honest-to-God bounty hunter. He’s just been hired by a blonde bombshell of an advertising executive to find the money hidden by her drug-dealing boyfriend, Doug, before he exited life’s fast lane in a car crash. Trouble is, Streeter isn’t the only one looking for the loot, and his competition is definitely on the unsavory side. There’s Doug’s slippery, ambulance-chasing attorney, Cooper, and Cooper’s curvaceous, street-wise secretary—not to mention his over-the-edge musclemen—as well as some of the local boys in blue who may have been better acquainted with Doug and his drugs than cops should be.

Taut writing, card-carrying PI talk, a bevy of characters from the noir to the nasty, and enough hard-bitten humor to cut a five-dollar steak launch this fantastic new series that’s on a whiplash start with The Low End of Nowhere.

Book:This Far, No Further

This Far, No Further

John Wessel

No boundaries. No limits. No turning back.

His boots are frozen. His hands are covered with sin: the blood and sweat of a trashed motel room where a wealthy Chicago doctor has been on a binge of sex, sadism, and drugs. Harding is just doing his job, an unlicensed PI running surveillance on a cheating husband. At stake is a woman’s divorce settlement, two million dollars in a Swiss bank account, and some harrowing videotape. But for Harding, a simple domestic case is about to explode into the Chicago night.

Suddenly, the investigation into Elenya Rosenberg’s depraved doctor husband is leading Harding to places he can’t afford to go-and to a bizarre killer with a taste for body-piercing and ancient Greek philosophy. And as Harding gets closer to the sordid truth about the Rosenbergs, he collides with a violent chapter of his own past-when Harding made a choice, a bad man went free, and a good man went too far, but also not far enough…

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