Annal: 2000 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 2000.

Book:A Place of Execution

A Place of Execution

Val McDermid

On a freezing day in December 1963, thirteen-year-old Alison Carter vanishes from her village. Nothing will ever be the same again for the inhabitants of the isolated hamlet in the English countryside. A young George Bennett, a newly-promoted inspector, he is determined to solve this case—even if it just to bring home a daughter’s dead body to her mother.

As days progress, the likelihood that Alison has been murdered increases when a gruesome discovery is made in a cave. But with no corpse, the barest of clues, and an investigation that turns up more questions than answers, Bennett finds himself up against a stone wall…until he learns the shocking truth—a truth that will have far-reaching consequences.

Decades later, Bennett finally tells his story to journalist Catherine Heathcote. But just when the book is posed for publication, he pulls the plug on it without explanation. He has new information that he will not divulge. Refusing to let the past remain a mystery, Catherine sets out to uncover what really happened to Alison Carter. But the secret is one she might wish she’d left buried on that cold, dark day thirty-five years ago.

Book:Blood Rain

Blood Rain: An Aurelio Zen Mystery

Michael Dibdin

Despite his best efforts to please everyone and keep out of trouble, the veteran Italian Criminalpol officer Aurelio Zen has made more enemies than friends over the years. Now it’s payoff time. After his last case, amid the gentle hills and lush vineyards of Piedmont, Zen finally receives the order he has been dreading all his professional life: his next posting is to Sicily, heart of the Mafia’s power.

The gruesome discovery of an unidentified, decomposed corpse sealed in a railway wagon on a deserted part of the island marks the beginning of Zen’s most difficult and dangerous case. And indeed, it soon turns out that he will need all his cunning and skill to survive in a world where unwritten rules are enforced with ruthless violence, where one false step can prove fatal, and where the truth must be paid for in blood. …[more]

Book:Cold Is the Grave

Cold Is the Grave: A Novel of Suspense

Peter Robinson

In recent years, the career of Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks has been stalled—and, in fact, very nearly destroyed—by the petty animosities of his politically ambitious senior officer Chief Constable Jeremiah “Jimmy” Riddle. But when nude pictures of Riddle’s runaway teenage daughter show up on a pornographic website, he turns to Banks for help.

The trail first leads Banks to London’ Soho and then to Little Venice, where Emily Riddle is living with a dangerous gangster with ties to the world of rock music. At first refusing to go home, Emily later turns up at Banks’s hotel, bruised and frightened and asking for his help. Soon she is back with her family in Yorkshire, and Banks’s work appears to be done.

Now there are other concerns occupying Banks’s time, thoughts, and conscience. A major reorganization at Eastvale Regional Headquarters has brought DS Annie Cabbot back into his life, carrying with her disturbing memories of their brief shared romance…[more]

Book:Purple Cane Road

Purple Cane Road

James Lee Burke

Dave Robicheaux has spent his life confronting the age-old adage that the sins of the father pass onto the son. But what has his mother’s legacy left him? Dead to him since youth, Mae Guillory has been shuttered away in the deep recesses of Dave’s mind. He’s lived with the fact that he would never really know what happened to the woman who left him to the devices of his whiskey-driven father. But deep down, he still feels the loss of his mother and knows the infinite series of disappointments in her life could not have come to a good end.

While helping out an old friend, Dave is stunned when a pimp looks at him sideways and asks him if he is Mae Guillory’s boy, the whore a bunch of cops murdered 30 years ago. The pimp goes on to insinuate that the cops who dumped her body in the bayou were on the take and continue to thrive in the New Orleans area. …[more]

Book:Shame the Devil

Shame the Devil: A Novel

George P. Pelecanos

Shame the Devil opens with a restaurant robbery gone awry in Washington, D.C. Several workers are shot in cold blood, the gunman’s brother is killed by police, a young boy is run over by the getaway car. Victims and their relatives gather together in the aftermath, attempting to find a way past their grief. Except one: the gunman is determined to avenge, not grieve, his lost brother—by killing every person involved in his death.

Shame the Devil captures D.C. as only “the Zola of Washington” (PW) could, bringing together characters whose survival readers will care about desperately. This is a breathtaking book—vivid, fast, hard, moral—by a writer hailed as “one of the best crime novelists alive” (Dennis Lehane).

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