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

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 2009.

Book:Empty Ever After

Empty Ever After: A Moe Prager Mystery

Reed Farrel Coleman

There are no second acts for the dead…or are there?

For over twenty years, retired NYPD officer and PI Moe Prager, has been haunted by the secret that would eventually destroy his family. Now, two years after the fallout from the truth, more than secrets are haunting the Prager family. Moe Prager follows a trail of graverobbers from cemetery to cemetery, from ashes to ashes and back again in order to finally solve the enigma of his dead brother-in-law Patrick. He plunges deeper into the dark recesses of his past than ever before, revisiting all of his old cases, in order to uncover the twisted alchemy of vengeance and resurrection. Will Moe, at last, put his past to rest? Will he find the man who belongs in that vacant grave or will it remain empty, empty ever after?

Book:The Ancient Rain

The Ancient Rain: A North Beach Mystery

Domenic Stansberry

Edgar Award winner and master of contemporary noir Domenic Stansberry returns to San Francisco’s North Beach and Dante Mancuso, the dark PI who grew up on its tough streets.

After a career with a shadowy security firm with interests on both sides of the law, Dante has come home to put all that behind him and has gone to work for a private investigator. A call alerts him early one morning that Bill Owens, a fellow PI, has been charged with a notorious thirty-year-old killing. Bill was involved in a political group in the late sixties, which among other pranks and small-time crimes, held up a bank. Except that time, an innocent bystander was shot and killed. To clear Owens of these charges, Dante will have to retrace the original investigation through San Francisco’s radical underground and bring in the man who was pulling the strings.

The Ancient Rain is a chilling novel from one of crime fiction’s finest. Stansberry spools out a narrative filled with deceit and betrayal, and in his hands the line between justice and revenge is razor sharp.

Book:The Blue Door

The Blue Door: A Mystery

David Fulmer

As welterweight boxer Eddie Cero makes his way home through a dark Philadelphia alley, he steps in on two punks beating up an older man. It’s a favor that’s going to turn Eddie’s life upside down. Sal Giambroni buys Eddie a round and offers him a part-time gig helping with his private-detective work. Despite Eddie’s reluctance, a few days on the job reveal that he has a knack for snooping—and then he stumbles onto a cold case involving a missing soul singer. A music lover with a budding interest in the singer’s attractive, talented sister, Eddie finds himself involved in a violent, twisted story of betrayal and intrigue, power and passion—all set to the beat of rock and roll.

David Fulmer’s acclaimed Storyville series brought us a New Orleans teeming with jazz. The Dying Crapshooter’s Blues took fans to Atlanta and the blues. The Blue Door now brings us the vibrant city of Philadelphia and the early days of its famous soul.

Book:The Price of Blood

The Price of Blood: An Irish Novel of Suspense

Declan Hughes

What’s in a name? Apparently everything for Ed Loy, because that’s the only information Father Vincent Tyrrell, brother of prominent racehorse trainer F. X. Tyrrell, offers when he asks for Ed’s help in finding a missing person. Even the best private eye needs more than just a name, but hard times and a dwindling bank account make it difficult for Loy to say no.

He is not without luck, however. While working another case, Loy discovers a phone number that seems linked to F.X. found on an unidentified body. Thinking it more than a coincidence, he begins digging into the history of the Tyrrells—a history consumed with trading and dealing, gambling and horse breeding—and soon realizes there is more to the family than meets the eye, a suspicion confirmed when two more people with connections to the Tyrrells are killed.

On the eve of one of Ireland’s most anticipated sporting events, the four-day Leopardstown Race-course Christmas Festival,…[more]

Book:Salvation Boulevard

Salvation Boulevard

Larry Beinhart

Some cases test a private investigator’s wits, others test his courage, and still others, his character. In Salvation Boulevard, P.I. Carl Van Wagener has found a case that tests them all, and then goes on to test his soul.

A professor is dead and a suspect—who has confessed—is in custody. But nothing is what it seems. After all, the dead man is an atheist professor, the accused an Islamic foreign student, the defense attorney a Jew, and the detective a Born Again Christian. As Carl gets deeper and deeper into the investigation of the death of professor Nathaniel MacLeod, his most basic beliefs and relationships are tried and his world is turned upside down. The mega-church, the pastor, and his new wife who have redeemed Carl from a life of grim debauchery insist on his dropping the case. But he can’t stop searching for the real killer and the truth—no matter what the personal cost.

Salvation Boulevard is a page-turning thriller in the tradition of John Grisham and Richard Condon that grapples with the ecstatic and entropic nature of religious faith in contemporary America.

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