Annal: 2007 Shamus Award for Best Paperback Original P.I. Novel

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 2007.

Book:An Unquiet Grave

An Unquiet Grave: A Louis Kincaid Mystery

P.J. Parrish

In a remote corner of the Michigan woods, behind rusted iron gates and crumbling walls, lies a notorious sanitarium and its forgotten cemetery. The ruin is empty now, and the bulldozers have come to raze it. But as they do, a secret emerges. The coffin of Claudia DeFoe, the youthful love of Louis’s foster father Phillip, is empty. When Louis tries to find the remains, he crosses paths with a reporter searching out rumors that a former patient, assumed dead, is alive and killing again. In Hidden Lake hospital, where the walls are stained with secrets and the air thick with the history of lingering screams, Louis is on his darkest journey yet—into the mind of a deranged killer and into the locked rooms of his own psyche.

Book:Crooked

Crooked

Brian M. Wiprud

Nicholas Palihnic is a natty, tweed-suited hustler who knows every nook and cranny of New York–and a thousand ways to break a girl’s heart. Beatrice Belarus is a Manhattan art dealer with an insatiable appetite for money–and for anyone who gets in her way. And a painting titled Trampoline Nude, 1972 has neither nudity nor a trampoline. But when Nicholas is hired by an insurance company to find the recently stolen painting, a murdered art thief points him to a trove of gold buried beneath Manhattan–and suddenly all roads are leading back to Beatrice. As fortune hunters, lovers, and other strangers gather around him, there’s one thing Nicholas must remember above all else: in this business, it’s better to be crooked than dead….

Book:Hallowed Ground

Hallowed Ground

Lori G. Armstrong

Grisly murders are rocking the small county of Bear Butte where Julie Collins has spent the last few months learning the PI biz. Enter dangerous, charismatic entrepreneur Tony Martinez, who convinces Julie to take a case involving a missing five-year-old Native American girl, the innocent pawn in her parents’ child custody dispute.

Something about the case doesn’t ring true. The girl’s father is foreman on the controversial new Indian casino under construction at the base of the sacred Mato Paha, and the girl’s mother is secretly working for a rival casino. Local ranchers—including her father—a Lakota Holy group, and casino owners from nearby Deadwood are determined to stop the gaming facility from opening.

With the body count rising, the odds are stacked against Julie to discover the truth behind these hidden agendas before the murderer buries it forever. And when Julie unwittingly attracts the attention of the killer, she realizes no place is safe, not even hallowed ground.

Book:The Prop

The Prop: A Novel

Pete Hautman

National Book Award winner Pete Hautman delivers a fast-paced mystery set in the torrid, unforgiving Southwestern desert, where the stakes are sky high and all bets are off.

Peeky Kane is a prop player at an Arizona casino owned by the Santa Cruz tribe. Her job is to play poker. She makes a handsome living off the suckers who populate the card room. Life is sweet.

But something’s not right at Casino Santa Cruz. When Peeky inadvertently finds herself in a fixed game and comes away a couple thousand dollars richer, she finds herself drawn unwittingly toward the dark side of professional poker. Peeky has always thought of herself as a straight shooter, but now things aren’t so clear. And they’re about to get a lot murkier.

When a band of clown-masked robbers makes off with millions of the casino’s dollars and leaves behind four corpses,…[more]

Book:The Uncomfortable Dead

The Uncomfortable Dead: A Novel

Subcomandante Marcos, Paco Ignacio Taibo II

In alternating chapters, Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos and the consistently excellent Paco Ignacio Taibo II create an uproarious murder mystery with two intersecting story lines.

The chapters written by the famously masked Marcos originate in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico. There, the fictional “Subcomandante Marcos” assigns Elias Contreras—an odd but charming mountain man—to travel to Mexico City in search of an elusive and hideous murderer named Morales.

The second story line, penned by Taibo, stars his famous series detective Hector Belascoaran Shayne. Hector guzzles Coca-Cola and smokes cigarettes furiously amidst his philosophical and always charming approach to investigating crimes—in this case, the search for his own “Morales.” …[more]

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