Annal: 1999 Hammett Prize for Crime-Writing

Results of the Hammett Prize in the year 1999.

Book:Havana Bay

Havana Bay: A Novel

Martin Cruz Smith

The body, at least what was left of it, was drifting in Havana Bay the morning Arkady arrived from Moscow. Only the day before, he had received an urgent message from the Russian embassy in Havana that his friend Pribluda was missing and asking that he come.

The Cubans insisted that this corpse floating in an inner tube was Pribluda, but Arkady wasn’t so sure.

“You don’t investigate assault, you don’t investigate murder. Just what do you investigate?” Arkady asks Ofelia Osorio, a detective in the Policía Nacional de la Revolución. “Or is it simply open season on Russians in Havana?”

The comrades of the Cold War have parted bitterly, and the Russians who used to swarm through Havana’s streets are now as rare as they are despised, much more so than Americans. …[more]

Book:Heartwood

Heartwood

James Lee Burke

A brilliantly layered novel of crime, character, and place from the two-time Edgar Award winner, Gold Dagger Award winner, and New York Times bestselling author of Sunset Limited.

Few writers in America today combine James Lee Burke’s lush prose, crackling story lines, and tremendous sense of history and landscape. In Cimmaron Rose, longtime fans of the Dave Robicheaux series found that the struggles of Texas defense attorney Billy Bob Holland show Burke at his best in exploring classic American themes—the sometimes subtle, often violent strains between the haves and the have-nots; the collision of past and present; the inequities in the criminal justice system.

Heartwood is a kind of tree that grows in layers. And as Billy Bob’s grandfather once told him, you do well in life by keeping the roots in a clear stream and not letting anyone taint the water for you. But in Holland’s dusty little hometown…[more]

Book:In a Dry Season

In a Dry Season

Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson, internationally acclaimed author of literary suspense, knows the serenity found in the rustic Yorkshire countryside can be deceptive. For evil can strike in the most pastoral of surroundings, and go unpunished for years-even decades.

Water is the essence of life. Yet during a dry season, when supply cannot meet demand, the precious commodity rapidly drains from a manmade reservoir to reveal a forgotten town that was sacrificed for the sake of water. A blistering summer has struck, and thirst has consumed the resources provided by the Thornfield Resevoir, unmasking the remains of Hobb’s End, a small village at its bottom that ceased to exist in post World War II England.

A curious child thinks of the resurfaced hamlet as a mystical playground, until he unearths a human skeleton. Modern forensics determine that the skeleton belongs to a young woman who appears to have been brutally murdered and hidden beneath the floor…[more]

Book:L.A. Requiem

L.A. Requiem

Robert Crais

The day starts like any other in L.A. The sun burns hot as the Santa Ana winds blow ash from mountain fires to coat the glittering city. But for private investigator Joe Pike, the city will never be the same again. His ex-lover, Karen Garcia, is dead, brutally murdered with a gun shot to the head.

Now Karen’s father calls on Pike and his partner, Elvis Cole, to keep an eye on the LAPD as they search for his daughter’s killer—because in the City of Angels, everyone has something to hide. But what starts as routine turns into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. For a dark web of conspiracy threatens to destroy Pike and Cole’s twelve-year friendship—if not their lives.

Book:Personal Injuries

Personal Injuries

Scott Turow

A gripping, suspenseful, deeply satisfying new novel about corruption, deceit, and love.

Robbie Feaver (pronounced “favor”) is a charismatic personal injury lawyer with a high profile practice, a way with the ladies, and a beautiful wife (whom he loves), who is dying of an irreversible illness. He also has a secret bank account where he occasionally deposits funds that make their way into the pockets of the judges who decide Robbie’s cases.

Robbie is caught by the Feds, and, in exchange for leniency, agrees to “wear a wire” as he continues to try to fix decisions. The FBI agent assigned to supervise him goes by the alias of Evon Miller. She is lonely, uncomfortable in her skin, and impervious to Robbie’s charms. And she carries secrets of her own.

As the law tightens its net, Robbie’s and Evon’s stories converge thrillingly. Scott Turow takes us into, the world…[more]

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