Annal: 2010 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 2010.

Book:Faces of the Gone

Faces of the Gone: A Mystery

Brad Parks

Four bodies, each with a single bullet wound in the back of the head, stacked like cordwood in a weed-choked vacant lot: That’s the front-page news facing Carter Ross, investigative reporter with the Newark Eagle-Examiner.  Immediately dispatched to the scene, Carter learns that the four victims—an exotic dancer, a drug dealer, a hustler, and a mama’s boy—came from different parts of the city and didn’t seem to know one another.

The police, eager to calm jittery residents, leak a theory that the murders are revenge for a bar stickup, and Carter’s paper, hungry for a scoop, hastily prints it. Carter doesn’t come from the streets, but he understands a thing or two about Newark’s neighborhoods. And he knows there are no quick answers when dealing with a crime like this.

Determined to uncover the true story, he enlists the aide of Tina Thompson, the paper’s smoking-hot city editor, to…[more]

Book:Chinatown Angel: A Chico Santana Mystery

Chinatown Angel: A Chico Santana Mystery

A.E. Roman

Chico Santana is broke and brokenhearted after his wife, Ramona, leaves him. On New Year’s Eve, he comes out of his self-imposed seclusion and runs into an old friend from St. Mary’s Home for Boys, a member of “The Dirty Dozen.” Albert Garcia is now a waiter and a wannabe filmmaker, tangled up with rising film star Kirk Atlas and his wealthy, eccentric family. On learning Chico’s a PI, Atlas hires him to track down his cousin Tiffany, a beautiful Chinese-Cuban-American girl who has packed up and left her family, sending letters saying she doesn’t want to be found. It seems like easy dough, which Chico could use.

But on the night he gets the job, Atlas’s Brazilian maid falls from the rooftop of her apartment in Queens. Albert and everyone else insists it was a suicide, but Chico has a bad feeling. His search for Tiffany is soon thwarted by other family members, and more disturbing and sinister details come to light. Although Chico’s being paid good money to look the other way, he’s…[more]

Book:The Good Son (Russel D. McLean)

The Good Son: A Novel

Russel D. McLean

Recipient of widespread praise for his award-winning crime short stories, Russel McLean’s full-length debut has been characterized by key crime authors and critics alike as the emergence of a major talent. 

There is something rotten behind the apparent sucide of Daniel Robertson and it’s about to come bursting into the life of J. McNee, a Scottish private investigator with a near-crushing level of personal baggage. James Robertson, a local farmer, finds his estranged brother’s corpse hanging from a tree. The police claim suicide. But McNee is about to uncover the disturbing truth behind the death. With a pair of vicious London thugs on the move in the Scottish countryside, it’s only a matter of time before people start dying. As the body count rises, McNee finds himself on a collision course with his own demons and an increasing array of brutal killers in a violent, bloody showdown that threatens to leave none involved alive.

Plumbing the depths of love, loss, betrayal, and one broken man’s attempt to come to terms with his past, The Good Son successfully blends the classic style of the gumshoe era with the outer edges of modern noir.

Book:The Last Gig

The Last Gig: A Mystery

Norman Green

A teenage runaway from the Brownsville projects, Alessandra Martillo lived with an indifferent aunt who had taken her in when her mother killed herself, and later, after more than a year on the streets, a caring uncle found her, took her in, and showed her she had a chance. That was many years ago, and now Alessandra’s all grown up, working for a sleazy P.I., repossessing cars, and trolling for waitstaff on the take.  The cases aren’t glamorous, or interesting, but the work pays the bills.  And she’s good at it—if there’s one thing she’s learned since leaving the streets, it’s how to take care of herself around life’s shadier elements.

When an Irish mobster named Daniel ““Mickey” Caughlan thinks someone on the inside of his shipping operation is trying to set him up for a fall, it’s Al he wants on the job.  She’s to find the traitor and report back.  But just a little…[more]

Book:Loser's Town

Loser's Town: A David Spandau Novel

Daniel Depp

Private investigator David Spandau, an ex-stuntman familiar with the ins and outs of Hollywood—a smart, tough, and wickedly funny observer of la vie L.A.—finds his patience almost sapped when he’s hired to protect actor Bobby Dye from a blackmailing scheme gone wrong. Dye—young, brash, and on the verge of becoming a major star—has been set up by gangster Richie Stella, a nightclub owner and drug dealer with dreams of becoming a Hollywood producer.

And he has a movie perfect for Dye. Problem is, it’s the worst script anyone’s ever read. But Richie is not easy to say no to, and when he retaliates, the game becomes deadly for more than a few of its players. Charged with the elements of all great L.A. noir—crackling dialogue, fast-paced plot, and seedy, jaded characters—Loser’s Town is a deftly written thriller and a gruesomely hilarious depiction of what goes on beneath those white letters on the mountainside

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