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

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 2003.

Book:Blackwater Sound

Blackwater Sound: A Thorn Mystery

James W. Hall

The Braswell family had everything people would kill for: money, looks, power. But their eldest son, the family’s shining light, died in a bizarre fishing accident. And when he disappeared—hauled into the depths by the giant marlin he had been fighting—he took with him a secret so corrupt that it could destroy the Braswells.

Ten years later, a huge airliner crashes in the steamy shallows off the Florida coast. Helping pull survivors from the water, Thorn finds himself drawn into a bizarre conspiracy: someone has developed a high-tech weapon capable of destroying electrical systems in a powerful flash. The terrorist potential is huge. How are the secretive Braswells and their family-owned company, MicroDyne, involved? And what does it have to do with the family’s obsessive hunt for the great marlin that killed their golden boy?

Book:Hell to Pay

Hell to Pay: A Novel

George P. Pelecanos

Derek Strange and Terry Quinn, the team of investigators who made their bestselling debut in Right As Rain, are hired to find a fourteen-year-old girl who’s run away from her home in the suburbs. It’s easy for Strange and Quinn to learn that the girl is now working as a prostitute in one of D.C.’s most brutal neighborhoods. Getting her to leave is harder. The two ex-cops think they know this world-but nothing in their experience has prepared them for the vengeance of Worldwide Wilson, the ruthless operator whose territory they are intruding upon.

Their mission is fractured by a violent criminal act against a young player from the neighborhood football team that Strange coaches. Tracking down the perpetrators becomes a point of honor for Strange and Quinn, and their investigation leads them deep inside the city’s labyrinth of crime-and back, again, to the lethal Worldwide Wilson.

Book:The Last Place

The Last Place: A Tess Monaghan Mystery

Laura Lippman

In hot legal water—and court-ordered therapy—for having assaulted a potential child molester, Tess Monaghan is more than ready for a distraction. So she agrees to look into a series of unsolved homicides that date back over the past six years despite the fact that the assignment originates in part from a most troubling source: wealthy Baltimore benefactor Luisa O’Neal, who was both instrumental in launching Tess’s present career and intimately connected with the murder of Tess’s former boyfriend.

There are other troubling aspects as well. Apart from the suspicion that each death was the result of domestic violence, nothing else seems to connect them, Five lives—those of four women and one man—were destroyed by fire, gunshot, and hit-and-run, and all five cases have gone ice cold. Though Luisa’s nonprofit organization hires Tess simply to review old police documents for inconsistencies and investigative blunders, curiosity is soon leading the P.I. off the paper trail. …[more]

Book:North of Nowhere

North of Nowhere: An Alex McKnight Novel

Steve Hamilton

Steve Hamilton’s debut novel A Cold Day In Paradise was the first novel to capture mystery’s three most prestigious awards-the Edgar, the Shamus, and the Anthony awards for best first novel. Now North of Nowhere returns to the beautiful and dangerous landscapes of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where former Detroit cop Alex McKnight’s attempts to leave civilization behind only lead to disaster…

Lying facedown on the floor with a gun to the back of his head is where Alex McKnight finds himself after a game of cards turns into a professional heist at the home of local developer Win Vargas. When the dust settles, McKnight is one of police chief Roy Maven’s lead suspects. Worse, Vargas’ own sense of vigilante justice has targeted the former private eye as well, and the brash millionaire may be responsible for the sudden disappearance of Alex’s best friend, Jackie. Now, with officials pointed in the wrong direction and his closest allies either missing or in jail, Alex knows he is the only one who can uncover the truth. But McKnight can’t possibly know how dark this conspiracy truly is-or how close to guilt he actually stands…

Book:Winter and Night

Winter and Night

S.J. Rozan

Private detective Bill Smith is hurtled headlong into the most provocative-and personal-case of his career when he receives a chilling late night telephone call from the NYPD, who are holding his fifteen-year-old nephew Gary. But before he can find out what’s going on, Gary escapes Bill’s custody and disappears into the dark and unfamiliar streets…

Bill and his partner, Lydia Chin, try to find the missing teen and uncover what it is that has led him so far from home. Their search takes them to Gary’s family in a small town in New Jersey, where they discover that one of Gary’s classmates was murdered. Bill and Lydia delve into the crime-only to find it eerily similar to a decades-old murder-suicide…

Now, with his nephew’s future-and perhaps his very life-at stake, Bill must unravel a long-buried crime and confront the darkness of his own past…

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