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

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 2004.

Book:The Guards

The Guards

Ken Bruen

Still stinging from his unceremonious ouster from the Garda SÌoch·na—the Guards, Ireland’s police force—and staring at the world through the smoky bottom of his beer mug, Jack Taylor is stuck in Galway with nothing to look forward to. In his sober moments Jack aspires to become Ireland’s best private investigator, not to mention its first—Irish history, full of betrayal and espionage, discourages any profession so closely related to informing. But in truth Jack is teetering on the brink of his life’s sharpest edges, his memories of the past cutting deep into his soul and his prospects for the future nonexistent.

Nonexistent, that is, until a dazzling woman walks into the bar with a strange request and a rumor about Jack’s talent for finding things. Odds are he won’t be able to climb off his barstool long enough to get involved with his radiant new client, but when he surprises himself by getting hired, Jack has little idea of what he’s getting into. …[more]

Book:Blood is the Sky

Blood is the Sky: An Alex McKnight Novel

Steve Hamilton

Alex McKnight isn’t a man with many friends, but the few he has know they’re never alone in a fix. So when Vinnie LeBlanc asks for his help in taking a trip deep into Canada in search of his missing brother, the Ojibwa Indian knows he can count on Alex. Tom LeBlanc had taken a job as hunting guide for a rough crew of Detroit “businessmen.” The group was due back days ago, yet there’s been no sign of them, and there’s mounting evidence of something odd about their disappearing act. The trackless forests of northern Ontario keep many secrets, but none more shocking than the one that Alex is about to uncover. And the more closely Alex looks for answers, the more the questions become: where are the hunters…and who is the prey?

Book:Fatal Flaw

Fatal Flaw

William Lashner

“Lust will make a fool of any man, but it is only love that can truly ruin him.” So says Victor Carl, the ethically adventurous Philadelphia lawyer who usually ends up doing the right thing, but, as his law partner says, often for all the wrong reasons.

Late one night Victor gets a panicked phone call from an old law school classmate. Guy Forrest claims he has just found the body of his fiancée lying murdered in the house they shared. The victim is Hailey Prouix, for whose love Guy had abandoned his children, his job, his wife, his life. Hailey had mesmerized every man she ever met—including, unbeknownst to Guy, Victor Carl. Convinced that Guy is Hailey’s killer, Victor agrees to represent him, all the while secretly vowing to see justice done, whatever the cost. …[more]

Book:Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt

Robert Ferrigno

Jimmy Gage is a reporter for Slap magazine in Los Angeles—“a troublemaker by trade and inclination, with fast hands and too much curiosity for his own good. Fight or flight, it made no difference anymore.”

This time around, it’s definitely fight.

While on an L. A. party-scene scavenger hunt, Jimmy meets Garrett Walsh, a former boy-wonder director who has just been released from prison after serving seven years for the drug-rage murder of a seemingly innocent teenage girl. Out of prison and out for justice, Walsh chooses Jimmy to help him clear his name by getting the right people to read his newest script, Fall Guy, the story of the setup that sent him away. Walsh dubs it “The Most Dangerous Screenplay in Hollywood,” and apparently he’s right: two weeks after they first meet, Jimmy finds him dead. But there is something that rings true in Walsh’s story and something…[more]

Book:A Visible Darkness

A Visible Darkness: A Max Freeman Novel

Jonathon King

Max Freeman is seeking refuge from the familiar demons of his former life as a Philadelphia police officer in his secluded shack deep in the Everglades. But his self-imposed isolation is interrupted when he receives a desperate call from his best friend, attorney Billy Manchester. There has been a recent string of suspicious deaths—all elderly women, all from a poor neighborhood, and all with sizable and recently sold-off insurance policies—which the police have been unable, or unwilling, to investigate. Billy suspects something sinister may be at work, and so, to help his friend, Max must reluctantly pry where he’s not wanted and act like the cop he’s trying to forget he was.

To discover an unseen killer, Max will confront not only the dangers of a forgotten Florida cityscape but the unexpected and dark corners of his own past as well.

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