Annal: 2001 Hammett Prize for Crime-Writing

Results of the Hammett Prize in the year 2001.

Book:Kingdom of Shadows

Kingdom of Shadows

Alan Furst

Paris, 1938.

As Europe edges toward war, Nicholas Morath, an urbane former cavalry officer, spends his days working at the small advertising agency he owns and his nights in the bohemian circles of his Argentine mistress. But Morath has been recuited by his uncle, Count Janos Polanyi, a diplomat in the Hungarian legation, for operations against Hitler’s Germany. It is Morath who does Polanyi’s clandestine work, moving between the beach cafes of Juan-les-Pins and the forests of Ruthenia, from Czech fortresses in the Sudetenland to the private gardens of the declasse royalty in Budapest. The web Polyani spins for Morath is deep and complex and pits him against German intelligence officers, NKVD renegades, and Croat assassins in a shadow war of treachery and uncertain loyalties, a war that Hungary cannot afford to lose.

Alan Furst is frequently compared with Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, and John le Carre, but Kingdom of Shadows is distinctive and entirely original. It is Furst at his very best.

Book:Hollowpoint

Hollowpoint: A Novel

Robert Reuland

Brooklyn prosecutor Andrew Giobberti can still remember himself as a father, as a husband, and as the chief of the Homicide Bureau, working out of a hard city’s hardest precincts. That was before a car accident took his daughter but left him untouched—except where it matters. That was before his wife walked out. That was before he became mired in blame and regret that for a year has emptied his life of all meaning and purpose. Everyone wrote him off as too far gone for saving.

Then a case crosses Gio’s desk—the murder of a young girl—that may change everything.

Over one impossibly hot August, Gio confronts the fine line that separates the guilty from the innocent, the killers from those who put them away. And as he seeks the girl’s killer, the truth he uncovers may be the final hit. Or it may give him back his life.

With graphic intensity and mordant wit, Hollowpoint captures the stark urgency of lives on the edge.

Book:Mystic River: A Novel

Mystic River: A Novel

Dennis Lehane

When they were children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle were friends. But then a strange car drove up their street. One boy got in the car, two did not, and something terrible happened—something that ended their friendship and changed all three boys forever. Twenty-five years later, Sean is a homicide detective. Jimmy is an ex-con. And Dave is trying to hold his marriage together and keep his demons at bay-demons that urge him to do horrific things.

When Jimmy’s daughter is found murdered, Sean is assigned to the case. His investigation brings him into serious conflict with Jimmy. And then there is Dave, who came home covered in someone else’s blood the night Jimmy’s daughter died. While Sean attempts to use the law to return peace and order to the neighborhood, Jimmy finds his need for vengeance pushing him ever closer to a moral abyss from which he won’t be able to return.

A tense and unnerving psychological thriller, Mystic River is also an epic novel of love, loyalty, faith, and family.

Book:Right as Rain

Right as Rain

George P. Pelecanos

Derek Strange is an ex-cop who now runs his own private detective agency. The mother of a young police officer killed by another cop hires him to clear up the lingering doubts surrounding her son’s death. Although Terry Quinn, the other cop, has been cleared in the official investigation, his guilt torments him. After Strange interviews him, Quinn joins the investigation, even though in part he is investigating himself and whether his own prejudices led him to pull the trigger.

Strange and Quinn seek their answers in the darkest sectors of Washington, D.C., where racism and ruthless capitalism create a lawless world. This is a brilliant and savage thriller by the writer the Washington Post has called a fresh, new, utterly hard-boiled voice

Book:Silent Joe

Silent Joe

T. Jefferson Parker

With the horrible remnants of a childhood tragedy forever visible across his otherwise handsome face, Joe Trona is scarred in more ways than one. Rescued from an orphanage by Will Trona, a charismatic Orange County politician who sensed his dark potential, Joe is swept into the maelstrom of power and intimidation that surrounds his adoptive father’s illustrious career. Serving as Will’s right-hand man, Joe is trained to protect and defend his father’s territory—but he can’t save the powerful man from his enemies. Will Trona is murdered, and Joe will stop at nothing to find out who did it.

Looking for clues as he sifts through the remains of his father’s life—his girlfriends, acquaintances, deals, and enemies—Joe comes to realize how many secrets Will Trona possessed, and how many people he had the power to harm. But two leads keep rising to the surface: a little girl who was kidnapped by her mentally disturbed brother, and two rival gangs who seem to have…[more]

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