Annal: 2006 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 2006.

Book:Forcing Amaryllis

Forcing Amaryllis: A Novel

Louise Ure

Once Calla Gentry wore bright colors, buttery yellow and hot orange. Now she shrouds herself in the bleak shades of a desert landscape, her wardrobe a field of sand and shadow and quartz. But her current fashion choices are more than an instinct to blend with her present home in the Arizona desert. Like the evolution of female birds, she has learned to soften her sounds and colors for survival.” “It has been seven years since her sister Amaryllis—or Amy, as she has always called her—was attacked and left for dead. But seven years isn’t long enough to push the horror out of Calla’s nightmares, or the fear from her waking hours.

Today Amy lies in a coma after a failed suicide attempt, while Calla hides behind locked doors and jumps at shadows, imagining a monster behind every tree. Calla works as a trial consultant in Tucson but, because of her fears, will handle only civil…[more]

Book:Blood Ties

Blood Ties

Lori G. Armstrong

Julie Collins is stuck in a dead-end secretarial job with the Bear Butte County Sheriff’s office, and still grieving over the unsolved murder of her Lakota half-brother. Lack of public interest in finding his murderer, or the killer of several other transient Native American men, has left Julie with a bone-deep cynicism she counters with tequila, cigarettes, and dangerous men. The one bright spot in her mundane life is the time she spends working part-time as a PI with her childhood friend, Kevin Wells.

When the body of a sixteen-year old white girl is discovered in nearby Rapid Creek, Julie believes this victim will receive the attention others were denied. Then she learns Kevin has been hired, mysteriously, to find out where the murdered girl spent her last few days. Julie finds herself drawn into the case against her better judgment, and discovers not only the ugly reality of the young girl’s tragic life and brutal death, but ties to her and Kevin’s past that she is increasingly reluctant to revisit. …[more]

Book:The Devil's Right Hand

The Devil's Right Hand: A Novel

J.D. Rhoades

The Devil’s Right Hand is the story of Jack Keller, a man tormented by the nightmares he’s had ever since a disastrous tour in Desert Storm. Destroyed by his experience, Keller now makes his living tracking bailjumpers for H&H, a North Carolina bail bonds company run by a reclusive, beautiful, and horribly scarred woman named Angela. In truth, Keller doesn’t work bail enforcement to live, he lives to work: the only thing that breaks through the numbness is the thrill of the hunt, the sound of gunfire, the high that comes with each successful takedown.

When H&H is required to track down a lifelong loser for jumping bail on a routine burglary collar, Keller has no idea how gravely events are about to spiral out of his control. He chases his quarry straight into the center of a firestorm involving a pair of local Indians blinded by rage and hell-bent to avenge their father’s murder. Along the way they encounter a vicious North…[more]

Book:Still River

Still River: A Lee Henry Oswald Mystery

Harry Hunsicker

It’s not easy being named Oswald, not in the city where Lee Harvey grabbed his fifteen minutes of infamy and choked it to death. It’s especially hard when half the town seems determined to kill you for reasons as murky as the river that splits the city in two.

For Lee Henry Oswald, a private investigator, Gulf War vet, and terminal loner, it’s just one more burden to face as he trudges through the gritty underbelly of the concrete and glass metropolis that is Dallas in the new millennium. A simple assignment turns deadly when Oswald asks the right questions in the wrong places, and finds himself drawn into a shadowy world of smooth-talking drug lords and double-dealing real estate developers. In the end, he learns that blood is not always thicker than water, especially the muddy tributaries of the Trinity River, where he confronts the deadly results of his own decisions as he races to…[more]

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