Annal: 2008 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 2008.

Book:Big City, Bad Blood

Big City, Bad Blood: A Novel

Sean Chercover

Disillusioned newspaper reporter-turned-private detective Ray Dudgeon doesn’t want to save the world; he just wants to do an honest job well. But when doing an honest job threatens society’s most powerful and corrupt, Ray’s odds of survival make for a sucker’s bet…

A simple bodyguard job for a Hollywood locations manager uncovers a rats’ nest of sexual blackmail, murder, and high-level political corruption…and Ray Dudgeon is caught in a war between the FBI, the Chicago police, and the mob. With the line between good and bad blurring, Ray doesn’t know who he can trust—or if he can even trust himself.

Book:The Cleaner

The Cleaner

Brett Battles

Meet Jonathan Quinn: a freelance operative with a take-no-prisoners style and the heart of a loner. His job? Professional “cleaner.” Nothing too violent, just disposing of bodies, doing a little cleanup if necessary. But in Brett Battles’s electrifying debut novel, Quinn’s latest assignment will change everything, igniting a harrowing journey of violence, betrayal, and revenge.

The job seemed simple enough: investigating a suspicious case of arson. But when a dead body turns up where it doesn’t belong—and Quinn’s handlers at “the Office” turn strangely silent—he knows he’s in over his head. With only a handful of clues, Quinn scrambles for cover, struggling to find out why someone wants him dead…and if it’s linked to a larger attempt to wipe out the Office. …[more]

Book:Keep It Real

Keep It Real

Bill Bryan

Ted used to be an investigative reporter—a good one. But that was before the divorce, the meltdown, the subsequent supervised visitation of his adorable little girl. Now he’s one of several peon producers for the inexplicably successful reality show, ‘The Mogul.’ Ted’s not a happy man. Unlike his viewers, he takes no joy in the vapid “reality” he helps edit together for ratings.

Then Ted inadvertently witnesses a violent exchange between gangsta rapper Boney and Boney’s hot-enough-to-dance-in-videos girlfriend, Patrice. When Patrice goes missing, it’s all Ted can do to keep his reporter instincts in check. With no real excuse for hanging out in the world of Cristal and grillz, Ted uses the resources at his disposal to snoop around. And what better way to invade a celebrity’s privacy than by featuring him on Reality TV?

Book:The Last Striptease

The Last Striptease: A Mystery

Michael Wiley

In his impressive and confident debut, Michael Wiley delivers a thrilling tale about how greed and revenge play out on the streets of Chicago.

Private eye Joe Kozmarski has just been asked to clear his childhood friend Bob Piedras of murder. Bob’s latest girlfriend, a young Vietnamese-American beauty, has turned up dead in an airport hotel. No one’s very surprised. She had a taste for hard liquor, drugs, and stripping in front of a camera. And Bob has a history of violence. But Bob’s boss, retired judge Peter Rifkin, is convinced Bob is innocent and he thinks Joe is the one to find the real killer.

But Joe’s life is complicated. He hasn’t spoken to Rifkin for fifteen years—ever since his father, now dead, found out that the judge had double-crossed him. The dead woman’s brothers, a pair of tough guys, are bent on being the first to find…[more]

Book:When One Man Dies

When One Man Dies: A Novel

Dave White

A hit and run. Simple as that. And suddenly harmless old Gerry Figuroa is lying dead on the asphalt. New Jersey cop turned private investigator Jackson Donne sure as hell doesn’t want to investigate his drinking buddy’s death, but he’s made a promise that leaves him no choice.

And before long, he’s drawing uncomfortably close to a murderer.

Meanwhile, an apparently routine divorce case takes a dangerous turn, and sinister connections to Gerry’s death start to emerge. Just when it seems things can’t get any worse, Donne learns that a bitter old enemy is mixed up in the whole mess. Bill Martin, his ex–Narcotics Department partner, has secrets to expose that could reopen the still-aching wounds of Donne’s past. Permanently. …[more]

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