Annal: 2003 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 2003.

Book:The Distance

The Distance: A Billy Nichols Novel

Eddie Muller

Morris White is a Sous Chef at a first-rate Philadelphia French restaurant. All he wants is to leave behind his past—the poor neighborhood and petty crime he knew as a kid—and open his own restaurant. His dream comes one step closer to reality when the affair he’s having with Vicky Ward heats up. Not only is she the manager of the restaurant, but she comes from money and a privileged background. The only thing that could stop them from turning their dream into a reality, is Morris’s half-brother, Vince Kammer, who is about to get out of Graterford Prison.

Vince may have done the time, but the crime is far from behind him. Soon poor Morris is stuck in the middle. His job is in jeopardy, his new relationship is in jeopardy, his dream is in jeopardy, all because he’s finding it harder and harder to escape his hometown roots, which, unlike the crisp, bright white linens of the restaurant, are black as hell and dark as night.

Book:The Bone Orchard

The Bone Orchard

D. Daniel Judson

A Town Getting Away With Murder

Beneath the glamour of a trendy Hamptons summer town lies another world–one of dark lives and desperate secrets. And when Labor Day arrives and the beautiful people depart, locals like Declan MacManus are left behind to make a living out of just surviving. A sometime P.I., MacManus is an expert at self-defense and a master of self-destruction, but nothing he’s seen of the dark side of fortune can prepare him for what he is about to discover.

On a dark, deserted road Mac witnesses a bizarre, single-car wreck, but he knows that what he saw was murder. Following a trail of clues to a chilling conspiracy, Mac is running out of time, out of chances, and out of luck. He is about to become part of a secret no one is willing to talk about…

Book:Open and Shut

Open and Shut: A Novel

David Rosenfelt

Attorney Andy Carpenter’s legal maneuvers are legion in and out of the courtrooms of Paterson, New Jersey. A talented lawyer who knows how to play all the cards, he is torn between mending a marriage that no longer works and growing attached to a beautiful, no-nonsense private investigator. Besides his love for sports, Andy also adores Tara, a golden retriever clearly smarter than half the lawyers who clog the courts of Passaic County.

Then one day the fun stops.

It all begins when Andy’s father, venerated ex-district attorney Nelson Carpenter, asks him to take the appeals case of Willie Miller, a young black man on death row for the murder of a white woman. Nelson himself had prosecuted Miller but refuses to disclose why he wants Andy to represent the convicted man. A few days later, Nelson drops dead in front of his son at a game…[more]

Book:Private Heat

Private Heat: An Art Hardin Mystery

Robert Bailey

Private detective and retired colonel Art Hardin usually stays away from the flashy kind of PI work, preferring to pay his bills by checking up on false disability claims, routine surveillance, and the like. So when the senior partner of one of the premier legal firms in Grand Rapids approaches Hardin about a job protecting his niece from her soon-to-be ex-husband for a couple of days, Hardin isn’t exactly eager to take on the job-especially since the niece herself is under house arrest pending a murder investigation of her former boss, and the sudden disappearance of eleven million dollars. However, Hardin finds that the fee offered is too great to pass up.

Of course, after a hatchet attack, a house burnt down, and a few violent encounters with some crooked cops, Hardin can hardly wait for the case to be over…

Book:Westerfield's Chain

Westerfield's Chain: A Mystery

Jack Clark

It was another nothing case. That’s the only kind private eye Nick Acropolis seemed to get lately. But this one leads to Westerfield’s Pharmacy, which sits in the heart of Chicago’s West Side ghetto, surrounded by ruins.

Nick was a real cop years ago, a homicide detective, and there’s something about the drugstore that gets the old juices flowing. There’s no customers for one thing. No pharmacist either, and nobody seems to know where the boss, Eugene Westerfield, has gone.

And then Becky Westerfield shows up. She’s taken a sudden leave from medical school to look for her father, who didn’t call on her 25th birthday. Becky knows something must be wrong. Eugene Westerfield would never forget.

Becky and Nick join forces, going from one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country to one of its wealthiest suburbs.…[more]

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