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

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 1999.


Boobytrap: A “Nameless Detective” Novel

Bill Pronzini

Emotionally exhausted from the events surrounding his partner’s suicide, “Nameless” welcomes the chance for a quiet vacation that comes when San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Patrick Dixon proposes that the burnt-out detective drive Dixon’s wife and son to their summer cottage on a remote High Sierra lake. In exchange, “Nameless” will have a week’s free use of a neighboring cabin.

The same week, unknown to both the assistant D.A. and “Nameless,” also among the vacationers at Deep Mountain Lake is a recently paroled explosives expert, Donald Michael Latimer. The timing is not coincidental, for Latimer has meticulously devised a warped plan for revenge against the men who sent him to prison. His viciously ingenious boobytraps have already claimed the lives of two of his intended victims, and at Deep Mountain Lake he has lined up his next three targets: Pat Dixon, Dixon’s twelve-year-old son, and “Nameless” himself.

Book:Flying Blind

Flying Blind: A Novel of Amelia Earhart

Max Allan Collins

The year is 1970. Nathan Heller has retired from his distinguished career as a private investigator. But now a stranger has come knocking at his door. He wants Heller to travel to Saipan, the last place Amelia Earhart may have been seen alive. For Heller, it is an offer he can’t resist—the chance to find out what really happened to the woman he once loved…

Now, decades later, Heller is determined to discover what really happened on that final, fateful flight. It is a journey that will take him to distant, deadly shores, into a world of international intrigue, espionage, betrayal, and finally, to a stunning secret buried at the bottom of the sea, locked away in the vaults of time.

Book:Gone, Baby, Gone

Gone, Baby, Gone: A Novel

Dennis Lehane

Boston private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are hired to find four-year-old Amanda McCready, abducted from her bed on a warm, summer night. They meet her stoned-out, strangely apathetic mother, her loving aunt and uncle, the mother’s dangerous, drug-addled friends, and two cops who’ve found so many abused or dead children they may be too far over the edge to come back.

Despite enormous public attention, rabid news coverage, and dogged police work, the investigation repeatedly hits a brick wall. Led into a world of drug dealers, child molesters, and merciless executioners, Patrick and Angie are soon forced to face not only the horrors adults can perpetrate on innocents but also their own conflicted feelings about what is best, and worst, when it comes to raising children. And as the Indian summer fades and the autumn chill deepens, Amanda McCready stays gone, banished…[more]

Book:No Badge, No Gun

No Badge, No Gun: A Carl Wilcox Mystery

Harold Adams

Carl Wilcox, a sort of Sam Spade of the Depression-era Prairie, sets out to find the killer of a brilliant teenage girl.

Book:The Only Good Lawyer

The Only Good Lawyer: A John Francis Cuddy Mystery

Jeremiah Healy

As a favor to a friend, Boston P.I. John Francis Cuddy is looking into the case of Alan Spaeth—a racist, a misogynist, and a suspected cold-blooded killer. But as much as he’s repulsed by the accused, Cuddy’s convinced of Spaeth’s innocence; he’s also intrigued by the victim, Woodrow Wilson Gant, the African-American lawyer who had been representing Spaeth’s wife in a very nasty divorce. Three quick bullets on a deserted roadside knocked Gant’s rising star out of the Boston skyline for good, and now Cuddy’s discovered the attorney was a man of strange desires—and deadly secrets.

Ricocheting from Gant’s law offices, Cuddy picks up the trail of a woman who fled the scene of the murder and stumbles on a more personal question. The mere mention of Gant’s name puts a cold, hard kink in his relationship with Assistant D.A. Nancy Meagher, and Cuddy’s losing sleep wondering why. With greed, revenge, and jealousy just a few of the motives in Gant’s high-profile homicide, it’s up to Cuddy to explore the raw passion—and touch every nerve—of a city on the edge.

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