Annal: 2002 Shamus Award for Best P.I. Novel

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 2002.

Book:Reflecting the Sky

Reflecting the Sky

S.J. Rozan

S. J. Rozan is widely regarded as one of the finest crime writers to emerge in the past decade. Praised by critics and colleagues alike, her works have been finalists for most of the major awards and have won both the Shamus and the Anthony Awards for Best Novel. Now, with Reflecting the Sky, she has written her finest, most broad-ranging novel to date.

Lydia Chin, a Chinese-American private investigator in her late twenties, is hired by Grandfather Gao, one of the most respected figures in New York City’s Chinatown, for what appears to be a simple task. Lydia, along with her professional partner Bill Smith, is to fly to Hong Kong to deliver a family heirloom to the young grandson of a recently deceased colleague of Grandfather Gao. They arrive in Hong Kong safely but before they can deliver the heirloom, the grandson is kidnapped and two, separate ransom demands are made. While the family of the kidnapped boy tries to freeze them out, Lydia and Bill must quickly learn their way around a place where the rules are different, the stakes are high, and the cost of failure is too dire to imagine.

Book:Angel in Black

Angel in Black: A Nathan Heller Novel

Max Allan Collins

She was a woman of uncompromising beauty who had come to Los Angeles to seek fame and fortune. Her quest ended in an abandoned lot on the outskirts of the city. First on the crime scene is newshound Bill Fowley, and at his side is Chicago private eye Nathan Heller, in town to help launch the West Coast branch of his famed detective agency. The police arrive at the brutal scene of the crime and suddenly the postwar world of Hollywood is plunged into the terror that is the Black Dahlia case. Only one problem persists: uncovering the woman’s identity.

Her name was Elizabeth Short, and Heller vividly remembers her from Chicago. But revealing that he knew her can only land him atop a very short list of suspects. Heller’s own investigation starts with what he knew of the doomed wannabe starlet, with the crazed phone call he received from her just days before her death. But looking into her past means opening old wounds—and revealing secrets of his own. At the risk of his marriage, his career, and maybe even his life, Heller is drawn into an inescapable maze to lay bare a terrifying truth behind the facade of Hollywood’s make-believe world.

Book:Ashes of Aries

Ashes of Aries: An Elizabeth Chase Mystery

Martha C. Lawrence

When Matthew Fielding, the four-year-old son of a San Diego telecommunications mogul, turns up missing, the psychic skills of P.I. Elizabeth Chase are requested. The stakes are raised soon after Elizabeth begins her investigation when a wildfire breaks out in Rancho Santa Fe, the secluded community where Matthew and his family-and Elizabeth’s own parents-live. Aided and abetted by the Santa Ana winds, flames rage out of control, consuming thousands of acres and dozens of homes.

Before the ashes can be cleared away, another fire blazes through everything in its path. Are the kidnapper and arsonist one and the same? Will Elizabeth be able to find the clues she needs in the dying embers around her? It’s a race against time itself as man and nature combine to wreak destruction on Elizabeth’s community and keep a little boy lost forever.

In the fifth installment of a series Sue Grafton referred to as “a natural…and a supernatural as well,” Martha C. Lawrence once again combines the quirky and the familiar as her smart, resilient and endearing heroine uses her psychic ability and incomparable detecting skills to hunt down a killer.

Book:Cold Water Burning

Cold Water Burning

John Straley

P.I. Cecil Younger works out of Sitka, Alaska, a land of perfect beauty and not-so-perfect lives, where there is nothing more dangerous than an unsolved crime—except maybe the man trying to solve it….

Three years ago someone brutally killed four people on the scow Mygirl. In a crowded courtroom Cecil Younger helped the accused go free. Now the man charged with the Mygirl murders has disappeared. As a storm bears down on the Alaskan coast, two people connected with the case die in separate, sudden, and bizarre explosions of gunfire.

Younger is certain that someone is trying to finish the grisly job begun on the Mygirl three years earlier. But to prove it he must chase down a wooden sloop on the wind-lashed sea. Out in the lethal storm Younger will come face-to-face with the shocking truth that has already twisted so many lives—and now could end his own.

Book:The Devil Went Down to Austin

The Devil Went Down to Austin

Rick Riordan

Tres Navarre, private eye and sometimes English professor, is hoping for a laid-back working vacation when he accepts a teaching gig at the University of Texas at Austin, even if it means shacking up for six weeks with his big brother Garrett, who calls Austin home.

Garrett Navarre—computer programmer extraordinaire, Jimmy Buffett fanatic, and all-around eccentric—is hoping to retire a multimillionaire thanks to a high-tech start-up company he and two buddies have launched. Garrett has bet everything from his career to the Navarre family ranch that the company will stay alive long enough to make a public stock offering, allowing him to ride the Austin high-tech boom right into the saddle of luxury.

Both Tres’s and Garrett’s hopes are shattered with a single gunshot. Garrett’s oldest friend and business partner…[more]

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