Annal: 2008 Hammett Prize for Crime-Writing

Results of the Hammett Prize in the year 2008.

Book:The Turnaround

The Turnaround

George P. Pelecanos

On a hot summer afternoon in 1972, three teenagers drove into an unfamiliar neighborhood and six lives were altered forever.

Thirty five years later, one survivor of that night reaches out to another, opening a door that could lead to salvation. But another survivor is now out of prison, looking for reparation in any form he can find it.

The Turnaround takes us on a journey from the rock-and-soul streets of the ’70s to the changing neighborhoods of D.C. today, from the diners and auto garages of the city to the inside of Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, where wounded men and women have returned to the world in a time of war. It is a novel of fathers and sons, wives and husbands, loss, victory and violent redemption, another compelling, highly charged novel from George Pelecanos, “the best crime novelist in America” (Oregonian).

Book:City of the Sun

City of the Sun: A Novel

David Levien

Private detective Frank Behr has been perfectly content living a solitary life, working on a few simple cases, and attempting to move on from his painful past. But when Paul and Carol Gabriel ask him to help them find their missing son, he can hardly refuse. Going against everything he fears—Behr’s been around too long to hope for a happy ending—he enters into an uneasy partnership with Paul on a quest for the truth that will become both dangerous and haunting.

Richly textured and crackling with suspense on every page, City of the Sun weaves a moody narrative that hinges on the bond between a damaged detective and a lost father. From the antiseptic comforts of suburban Indianapolis to the city’s seamy underworld, David Levien introduces a private investigator as complex, idiosyncratic, and sympathetic as any in modern crime fiction. Levien is a gifted storyteller who will keep readers guessing rightup until the final, explosive scene.

Book:The Finder

The Finder: A Novel

Colin Harrison

Jin Li is a beautiful, driven young woman who happens to run one dangerous little operation. Manhattan corporations hire her for a simple but delicate task: to destroy the reams of highly classified documents they produce each day. But little do they know that she has been funneling their secrets to her brother, Chen, in Shanghai, and that together they’ve been gaming the international markets, and making a pile of cash. When someone at the Good Pharma corporation, whose stock is plummeting, uncovers the scheme, two of Jin Li’s workers die a grisly death, and Jin is on the run. Her brother extorts Jin’s old flame Ray Grant—an ex-firefighter with a disturbing 9/11 past—to track her down. He’ll have to comb every strata of New York, from the brutal Mexican mafia to the greed-fueled penthouse billionaires of Wall Street, to find her.

An intricate tale of avarice, corruption, and power, Colin Harrison’s masterful new thriller is a “brilliantly executed novel” (The Baltimore Sun).

Book:Leading Lady

Leading Lady

Heywood Gould

On a gray winter’s day in New York, a motley group of strangers are thrust together. The cast of characters includes: an escaped convict, an “exotic” dancer, a coked-up Mafia killer, a shady Russian billionaire, a super agent on a secret mission, a wealthy woman hiding a guilty past, a three-fingered Albanian crook who hopes he’ll make it through the day, and a decrepit wiseguy who just wants to finish his Cream of Wheat.

Their lives collide when high-class burglar Jerry Lang breaks out of jail intent on avenging the murder of Gloria Pavlich, his partner and “leading lady.” Two years before, they had returned from stealing a rare painting to find the cops waiting. In the ensuing struggle, Lang shot a detective. And Gloria disappeared, never to be heard from again.

Lang’s first stop is the Casbah, where he meets a “leading-lady-for-a-day” and they embark on a twisting, turning journey through New York’s underworld with a surprise around every corner.

Book:South by South Bronx

South by South Bronx

Abraham Rodriguez, Jr.

When Puerto Rican ladies’ man Alex awakes one morning to find a mysterious woman in his bed, he assumes he’s suffered another embarrassing blackout. He soon learns, however, that Ava is no one-night stand-in fact, he’s never met her before. As her story begins to unfold and her reason for appearing in his bed emerges, it is not just Alex’s life that she risks, nor her own, but the entire character of the South Bronx.

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