Annal: 2002 Hammett Prize for Crime-Writing

Results of the Hammett Prize in the year 2002.

Book:Honor's Kingdom

Honor's Kingdom

Owen Parry

As casualty lists grimly mount in America’s Civil War, the death of a lowly man of the cloth in London attracts an unaccountable degree of attention. Confederate agents seek warships for their struggling navy at any cost. The Union’s representative to Britain—the son and grandson of U.S. presidents—maneuvers desperately to block them. And a federal officer with a limp and a Welsh lilt returns to the land he once left in hope of a better life.

In a stunning re-creation of 1860s London and Glasgow that reaches from the worst slums in Europe to the lobbies of Parliament, Owen Parry brings the past to ravishing life. Grotesque murders multiply as Major Abel Jones pursues a monstrous killer who may be a well-connected Confederate agent or a ghost from Jones’s bloody past in India—or both. England’s political leaders—including Benjamin Disraeli—appear to have a great deal to hide. Everyone seems determined to thwart Jones’s search for…[more]

Book:Bad Boy Brawly Brown

Bad Boy Brawly Brown: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

Walter Mosley

Easy Rawlins is out of the investigation business and as far away from crime as a black man can be in 1960s Los Angeles. But living around desperate men means life gets complicated sometimes. When an old friend gets in enough trouble to ask for Easy’s help, he finds he can’t refuse.

Young Brawly Brown has traded in his family for The Clan of the First Men, a group rejecting white leadership and laws. Brown’s mom asks Easy to make sure her baby’s okay, and Easy promises to find him. His first day on the case, Easy comes face-to-face with a corpse, and before he knows it he is a murder suspect and in the middle of a police raid. Brawly Brown is clearly the kind of trouble most folks try to avoid. It takes everything Easy has just to stay alive as he explores a world filled with betrayals and predators like he never imagined.

Big Boy Brawly Brown is the masterful crime novel that Walter Mosley’s legions of fans have been waiting for. This book marks the return of a master at the top of his form.

Book:The Eighth Day

The Eighth Day: A Thriller

John Case

For Danny Cray, a struggling artist and part-time private investigator, the offer is too good to be true. A wealthy, enigmatic lawyer, Jude Belzer, would like to retain Danny for a little damage control. His client, an elusive billionaire named Zerevan Zebet, is the target of a vicious campaign in the Italian press that threatens to destroy his reputation. Belzer wants Danny to find out who is responsible—and he will pay handsomely.

Danny’s only lead is the meager estate of a recently deceased professor of religious studies, a man so deeply terrified that he buried himself alive in the basement of an isolated farmhouse. Belzer swears that if Danny can get at the late professor’s files, the conspiracy against his own reclusive client will unravel. It’s the perfect assignment, in a way, and Danny can sure use the money. But the more he probes, the more apparent it becomes that nothing is what it seems. There is something he isn’t…[more]

Book:Flykiller

Flykiller: A St-Cyr & Kohler Mystery

J. Robert Janes

It’s February 1943 and the famous old spa town of Vichy, France, has been closed for the duration of the German occupation. All the grand hotels are taken up by the Government of Marechal Petain, but corruption and murder reach into its highest levels. Detectives Jean-Louis St-Cyr and Hermann Kohler are summoned from Paris by Premier Pierre Laval who is desperate for outside assistance: Flykiller slays mistress of high-ranking Government employee. Murder follows murder, but is The Flykiller guilty or has he or she used the murders to focus on the corruption? Is there a threat to Petain’s life and that of the Government itself? Set against the oppressive backdrop of a captive society, this latest novel follows Beekeeper in an astonishingly original and gripping series of crime novels.

Book:Jolie Blon's Bounce

Jolie Blon's Bounce: A Dave Robicheaux Novel

James Lee Burke

When a beautiful teenage girl is killed, the victim of a particularly savage rape, New Iberia, Louisiana, police detective Dave Robicheaux senses from the very start of the investigation that the most likely suspect, Tee Bobby Hulin, is not the actual killer. Though a drug addict and general ne’er-do-well, Hulin just doesn’t fit the profile for this kind of brutal crime.

But when another murder occurs—this victim a drugged-out prostitute who happens to be the daughter of one of the local mafia bigwigs—all clues once again point to Tee Bobby Hulin, and the cries for arrest become too loud to ignore. The dead girl’s father, however, prefers to take matters in his own hands and sets out to find—and punish—the killer himself.

But before Robicheaux can solve these crimes and bring the killer or killers to justice, he is forced to battle his own inner demons, including a painkiller addiction, a habit that begins as the result of a brutal and humiliating beating he suffers…[more]

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