Annal: 1999 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 1999.

Book:A Cold Day in Paradise

A Cold Day in Paradise: An Alex McKnight Mystery

Steve Hamilton

Other than the bullet lodged less than a centimeter from his heart, former Detroit police officer Alex McKnight thought he had put the nightmare of his partner’s death and his own near-fatal injury behind him. After all, Maximilian Rose, convicted of the crimes, has been locked in the state pen for years, But in the small town of Paradise, Michigan, where McKnight has traded his badge for a cozy cabin in the woods, a murderer with Rose’s unmistakable trademarks appears to be back to his killing ways. With Rose locked away, McKnight can’t understand who else would know the intimate details of the old murders—not to mention the signature blood-red rose left on his doorstep. And it seems like it’ll be a frozen day in Hell before McKnight can unravel the cold truth from a deadly deception in a town that’s anything but Paradise.

Book:Dead Low Tide

Dead Low Tide

Jamie Katz

Wettamesett was supposed to be a safe shore town, the kind of place to escape the heat and crime of Boston, where Dan Kardon practices law. Not the kind of place where a clean-cut college kid would be mysteriously shot dead. But one was.

The police are dragging their feet, calling it a random act. The boy’s parents don’t buy it. They want answers, and Kardon, a close friend, is determined to find them. Butting heads with the cops and an eccentric breed of locals, however, can get a maverick investigator beaten up. A lot. And bring him closer to the truth. For Kardon’s search has turned up some big clues—and even bigger enemies out to leave him dead, unless he can fins them first.

Book:Like a Hole in the Head

Like a Hole in the Head: A Novel

Jen Banbury

Jill, a part-time bookseller and full-time wise-ass, buys a first edition Jack London from a slippery-looking dwarf. The dwarf returns soon after with a polite assassin who wants the book back. Unfortunately Jill has already unloaded it for a nice profit, to a fomer child actor turned book dealer turned love interest. She isn’t about to drop the dime on him, so the upshot is, Jill has to find it—or else. What at first seems like a lucky break turns into unexpected adventure when a cast of B-movie thugs, sleazy book dealers, and ambitious Hollywood moguls join the hunt for the book. Jill finds herself leading an antic chase—via motorcycle, station wagon, and hijacked bottled-water delivery truck—across Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and the Hollywood Hills. Before she can retrieve the book and discover its irresistible secret, Jill will be cheated, lied to, drugged, tortured, and even forced to act as a movie extra against her will.

Book:Zen and the Art of Murder

Zen and the Art of Murder: A Zen Moses Mystery

Elizabeth M. Cosin

To live and die in L.A.

Zen Moses is either having a bad day or bad karma. Her cat is dead. The IRS wants to talk to her. And she just found her long-lost cousin’s body bound to a beer keg at her favorite neighborhood bar. It’s enough to drive even a tough private investigator to drink, smoke a good cigar, and find a firm male shoulder to cry on.

But cynical, wise-cracking Zen is both a loner and survivor. At thirty-three she’s already beat a bout with cancer—and soon she’s being offered big bucks to find a talk-show celebrity’s missing father. It seems like an easy job until Zen finds out she’s just one step ahead of a hit man. Now Zen’s professional and private lives are converging into a world of murder and gunplay…and the sound of one hand clapping may end up being bang bang.

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