Annal: 2005 Hammett Prize for Crime-Writing

Results of the Hammett Prize in the year 2005.

Book:Alibi

Alibi: A Novel

Joseph Kanon

It is 1946, and a stunned Europe is beginning its slow recovery from the ravages of World War II. Adam Miller has come to Venice to visit his widowed mother and try to forget the horrors he has witnessed as a U.S. Army war crimes investigator in Germany. Nothing has changed in Venice-not the beautiful palazzi, not the violins at Florian’s, not the shifting water that makes the city, untouched by bombs, still seem a dream.

But when Adam falls in love with Claudia, a Jewish woman scarred by her devastating experiences during the war, he is forced to confront another Venice, a city still at war with itself, haunted by atrocities it would rather forget. Everyone, he discovers, has been compromised by the Occupation-the international set drinking at Harry’s, the police who kept order for the Germans, and most of all Gianni Maglione, the suave and enigmatic Venetian who happens to be his mother’s new suitor. And when, finally,…[more]

Book:The Door to Bitterness

The Door to Bitterness: A Sergeants Sueño & Bascom Mystery

Martin Limón

The pair of GI cops Martin Limon first introduced in Jade Lady Burning, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, are back with a vengeance in their latest adventures in Seoul and the sin cities surrounding the capital in the 1970s. While North Korea menaces and Vietnam burns, these two weave through back alleys and bordellos, trying to tip the scales of justice back in the right direction.

This time they are not only pursuing criminals, they’re chasing themselves. Homicidal thieves have gotten hold of Sueno’s badge and are using it to lull their victims just long enough to strike-with his gun. That they are murderers makes it that much worse for the dynamic duo. The army wants its equipment accounted for and the ID and weapon recovered. George and Ernie want to recover their reputation, such as it is. And stop the killings.

Book:Islandbridge

Islandbridge: A Matt Minogue Mystery

John Brady

Book:No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men

Cormac McCarthy

Llewelyn Moss, hunting antelope near the Rio Grande, instead finds men shot dead, a load of heroin, and more than $2 million in cash. Packing the money out, he knows, will change everything. But only after two more men are murdered does a victim’s burning car lead Sheriff Bell to the carnage out in the desert, and he soon realizes how desperately Moss and his young wife need protection. One party in the failed transaction hires an ex–Special Forces officer to defend his interests against a mesmerizing freelancer, while on either side are men accustomed to spectacular violence and mayhem. The pursuit stretches up and down and across the border, each participant seemingly determined to answer what one asks another: how does a man decide in what order to abandon his life?

A harrowing story of a war that society is waging on itself, and an enduring meditation on the ties of love and blood and duty that inform lives and shape destinies, No Country for Old Men is a novel of extraordinary resonance and power.

Book:The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog: A Novel

Don Winslow

From Don Winslow (“A writer so good you almost want to keep him to yourself”—Ian Rankin), an electrifying new novel of love and revenge, politics and influence, corruption and honor. Moving at breakneck speed, it tells a riveting, sometimes harrowing story set in the shifting nexus of power among the Latin American drug cartels, the American mob, and the U.S. government.

Spanning the years from the rise of the Mexican drug Federación in the 1970s to the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s to the vicious drug wars of the 1990s, the action ranges from Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen and the halls of Washington to the streets of Tijuana and the deserts of the American Southwest.

The players: a DEA agent, a drug lord, a call girl, a hit man, a priest. Caught up in the war on drugs, willingly or not, each is trying to escape the sins of the past while negotiating the treacherous currents of the present. Their seemingly disparate…[more]

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