Annal: 2009 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 2009.

Book:In the Heat

In the Heat: A Novel

Ian Vasquez

Boxer Miles Young thinks he’s got one more shot in him before it’s time to hang up the gloves for good. He may be the only one who thinks so. The truth is, he enjoys the recognition his career has brought him at home, in the small Latin American country of Belize, and he’s worried about how he’ll support his daughter once it’s over. So when his promoter comes to him with a proposition that includes one last big fight, he listens.

Isabelle Gilmore wants Miles to find her daughter, who’s run off with some of her mother’s money and her no-good boyfriend. Isabelle’s afraid Rian’s going to marry the kid, the only son of corrupt ex-police chief Marlon Tablada, and she wants Rian—and the money—found. In return, Miles gets put on a fight card with a $30,000 payday.

He’s reluctant, but Isabelle thinks a hometown hero can get people to talk in ways a private investigator can’t. Trouble is, before he can find Rian, he learns that there’s much more to Isabelle, her daughter, and Marlon than Isabelle let on.

Debut novelist Ian Vasquez is a bright new talent who infuses In the Heat with a steamy, exotic voice all his own.

Book:The Eye of Jade

The Eye of Jade: A Mei Wang Mystery

Diane Wei Liang

Present day, Beijing. Mei Wang is a modern, independent woman. She has her own apartment. She owns a car. She has her own business with that most modern of commodities—a male secretary. Her short career with China’s prestigious Ministry for Public Security has given her intimate insight into the complicated and arbitrary world of Beijing’s law enforcement. But it is her intuition, curiosity, and her uncanny knack for listening to things said—and unsaid—that make Mei Beijing’s first successful female private investigator.

Mei is no stranger to the dark side of China. She was six years old when she last saw her father behind the wire fence of one of Mao’s remote labor camps. Perhaps as a result, Mei eschews the power plays and cultural mores—guanxi—her sister and mother live by…for better and for worse. …[more]

Book:Stalking Susan

Stalking Susan: A Novel

Julie Kramer

Inside the desperate world of TV news, a reporter discovers a serial killer is targeting women named Susan.

Riley Spartz is recovering from a heartbreaking, headline-making catastrophe of her own when a Minneapolis police source drops two homicide files in her lap.Both cold cases involve women named Susan strangled on the same day, one year apart. Riley sees a pattern between those murders and others pulled from old death records. As the deadly anniversary approaches, she stages a bold on-air stunt to draw the killer out and uncover a motive that will leave readers breathless.

Book:Swann's Last Song

Swann's Last Song

Charles Salzberg

Skip tracer Henry Swann cares little about anything but money, so when a beautiful Upper East Side woman shows up in his office and hires him to find her missing husband, Harry Janus, he smiles and takes the cash. But when this seemingly simple missing-person case turns into homicide, Swann finds himself trapped in a complex web of connections and multiple identities that takes him out of New York City and across two continents. As Swann struggles to uncover the truth about Harry Janus and find his killer, he stumbles across drug smuggling, stolen antiquities, and lies, as well as deception that tests his limits as an investigator and as a man.

Book:Veil of Lies

Veil of Lies: A Medieval Noir

Jeri Westerson

Crispin Guest is a disgraced knight, stripped of his rank and his honor—but left with his life—for plotting against Richard II.  Having lost his bethrothed, his friends, his patrons and his position in society.  With no trade to support him and no family willing to acknowledge him, Crispin has turned to the one thing he still has—his wits—to scrape a living together on the mean streets of London.  In 1383, Guest is called to the compound of a merchant—a reclusive mercer who suspects that his wife is being unfaithful and wants Guest to look into the matter.  Not wishing to sully himself in such disgraceful, dishonorable business but in dire need of money, Guest agrees and discovers that the wife is indeed up to something, presumably nothing good.  But when he comes to inform his client, he is found dead—murdered in a sealed room, locked from the inside.  Now Guest has come to the unwanted attention of the Lord Sheriff of London and most recent client was murdered while he was working for him.  And everything seems to turn on a  religious relic—a veil reported to have wiped the brow of Christ—that is now missing.

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