Annal: 2004 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 2004.

Book:Black Maps

Black Maps: A Novel

Peter Spiegelman

The stronghold of white-collar crime in the rarefied world of high finance—this is the setting for Peter Spiegelman’s edgy, suspenseful, sharply-honed debut novel.

At the center: John March, who walked away from his family’s venerable merchant bank for the life of a rural deputy sheriff—a life that would explode in personal tragedy and professional disaster. Three years later, he’s back in Manhattan, working as a PI and running from his grief and the expectations of his wealthy family.

March takes the case of Rick Pierro, a self-made man who has everything–and who’s in danger of losing it all. An anonymous, poisonous threat has implicated him in a vast money-laundering scheme already under investigation by the feds.

March’s own investigation uncovers a blood-stained paper trail that leads him deep into the lives of both insiders and…[more]

Book:Lovers Crossing

Lovers Crossing: A Mystery

James C. Mitchell

After a confrontation with a group of smugglers on the border leaves him nearly dead, Agent Brinker turns in his INS badge and starts up a safer line of work as a private investigator. And now that he’s aced a few open-and-shut missing child cases, Brinker thinks he has finally escaped the nightmare of Lovers Crossing. But when Brinker is approached by the wealthy Tucson businessman Mo Crain to investigate the brutal murder of his wife, trouble is close behind. Desperately short on leads, Brinker can’t find anyone in Tucson with a motive to kill Mrs. Crain. And then an acquaintance of hers is found dead in the trunk of his car, showing Brinker that he’s up against a cold-blooded murderer who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.

As Brinker travels from border to border in search of answers, his investigation leads him back to the very place he swore never to return—the underbelly of Lovers Crossing. And this time, he may not get out alive.

In the tradition of Michael McGarrity, James C. Mitchell introduces a border detective who is as fully human as he is smart and tough.

Book:Spiked

Spiked

Mark Arsenault

Reporter Eddie Bourque chases stories for the Lowell Empire, a second-class rag in a Massachusetts city of first-generation immigrants and bare-knuckled politicians. The talented and ambitious Eddie has one eye on finding a better job. However, when the dead junkie found floating in a mill canal is identified as his beat partner, he gives the story his full attention. That is, until he finds himself stonewalled by powerbrokers in Lowell law enforcement—and at his own newspaper.

Bent on finding his partner’s killer, Eddie disobeys orders and follows a mysterious Cambodian woman into the city’s poorest neighborhood—with violent results. Battered, dumped in a canal and left for dead, Eddie survives an encounter with an invisible underworld, only to find himself entangled in an international plot of murder and revenge. It’s do or die for Eddie as he struggles to stay one step ahead of ruthless hitmen, the city’s self-serving power elite, and the curious police detective who always shows up when Eddie wishes she wouldn’t. The story of a lifetime beckons, but the closer he comes to the truth, the greater the chance that the story—and Eddie will be spiked.

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