Annal: 2000 Hammett Prize for Crime-Writing

Results of the Hammett Prize in the year 2000.

Book:The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood takes the art of storytelling to new heights in a dazzling new novel that unfolds layer by astonishing layer and concludes in a brilliant and wonderfully satisfying twist.

For the past twenty-five years, Margaret Atwood has written works of striking originality and imagination. In The Blind Assassin, she stretches the limits of her accomplishments as never before, creating a novel that is entertaining and profoundly serious.

The novel opens with these simple, resonant words: “Ten days after the war ended, my sister drove a car off the bridge.” They are spoken by Iris, whose terse account of her sister Laura’s death in 1945 is followed by an inquest report proclaiming the death accidental. But just as the reader expects to settle into Laura’s story, Atwood introduces a novel-within-a- novel.…[more]

Book:The Bottoms

The Bottoms

Joe R. Lansdale

Today, the Sabine River runs as before, yet the bottoms have been drained. Long gone are the alligators, and the few birds that take to the air cast tiny shadows over concrete surfaces.

But way back then, during the thick of the Great Depression that squeezed Deep East Texas in its impoverishing grip, a boy could hear the crickets and the frogs in the star-studded southern night. And in this primordial time a killer stalked the land.

When young Harry Crane discovers the black woman’s body, mutilated and bound to a tree with barbed wire, he unwittingly unleashes a storm of uncontrolled fear, thinly buried racial animosities, and fearsomely escalating violence. Jacob Crane, Harry’s father and the town constable, struggles valiantly to see that proper justice gets done.

Book:Hot Springs

Hot Springs: An Earl Swagger Novel

Stephen Hunter

The undisputed master of the tough thriller, New York Times bestselling author Stephen Hunter delivers a masterpiece of crime fiction set in 1940s Arkansas, where law and corruption ricochet like slugs from a .45 automatic.

Earl Swagger is tough as hell. But even tough guys have their secrets. Plagued by the memory of his abusive father, apprehensive about his own impending parenthood, Earl is a decorated ex-Marine of absolute integrity—and overwhelming melancholy. Now he’s about to face his biggest, bloodiest challenge yet.

It is the summer of 1946, organized crime’s garish golden age, when American justice seems to have gone to seed for good. Nowhere is this more true than in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the reigning capital of corruption. When the district attorney vows to bring down the mob, Earl is recruited to run the show. As casino raids erupt into nerve-shattering combat amid screaming prostitutes and fleeing johns, the body count mounts—along with the suspense.

Book:The Ice Harvest

The Ice Harvest

Scott Phillips

Loaded guns, ladies of the night, broken neon, broken dreams. Here is a world that is immediately recognizable—through a shot glass at three A.M. This is life with rough edges, in a novel that gives you the straight goods—point blank— one cold, snowbound Christmas Eve in Kansas. One single night, defined in shadings of black and white, when everything changes…

For most, the city is closing up. For a few outsiders, this night, Christmas Eve 1979, is just beginning. Charlie Arglist is a lawyer saying goodbye to Wichita by revisiting the landscape of his used up life: the cold stare of his angry ex-wife, the empty strip clubs and bars where loneliness turns a profit, the frozen glare of ex-lovers and cops long snuggled in his deep pockets. Club owner Renata, an elegant dish in a smoky dive, dreams of financial prosperity and holds a single frame of a stolen film that could help her achieve them. And there’s Vic. He’s got a reputation, a bad temper, and a secret worth half a million dollars. Not to mention a knack for bringing people together…for the last time. Before the night is over, the decisions they face and the choices they make will irrevocably alter the course of their lives—if they can live long enough to see Christmas Day sunrise.

Book:One-Eyed Jacks

One-Eyed Jacks

Brad Smith

At 35, Tommy Cochrane is a washed-up boxer who missed out on a shot at the heavyweight title and has to hang up his gloves for good when he’s diagnosed with an aneurysm. His best friend and former sparring partner, T-Bone Pike, isn’t in great shape either as the two of them head to Toronto on a quest for the $5,000 Tommy desperately needs to buy back his grandfather’s farm.

In the big city, Tommy and T-Bone encounter an intriguing cast of characters operating on the questionable side of the tracks. Fat Ollie runs the weekly poker game on Queen Street; Buzz Murdoch gives Tommy a job as a doorman at the Bamboo club; Herm Bell is a sharp kid on a run of luck; and Tony Broad is a small-time hood with big-time ambitions and a seedy sidekick named Billy Callahan. There’s also Lee Charles, a sharp, cynical, smart-mouthed torch singer, who happens to be Tommy’s ex-girlfriend.

In thetradition of James Ellroy, Brad Smith has readers instantly embroiled in a quick-paced plot that involves guns and…[more]

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