Annal: 2011 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 2011.

Book:In Search of Mercy

In Search of Mercy

Michael Ayoob

Dexter Bolzjak is an ex-hockey goalie who was abducted and tortured by perverted sports fans eight years ago. Now he’s muddling along in a Pittsburgh warehouse when he meets an old, terminally ill drunk named Lou Kashon. Lou wants to see his lost love, the actress Mercy Carnahan, and offers Dexter a fortune to find her. Dexter embarks on the search, retracing Mercy’s past online and on foot. Soon, Mercy begins to haunt Dexter, appearing in his dreams while flashbacks to his own traumatic experience plague his waking hours. Dexter persists and follows Mercy’s trail to New York, where he finds a voyeuristic film of the actress recorded shortly before her disappearance. Once Dexter connects that film to its source, he finds himself trapped in the ultimate nightmare.

Michael Ayoob’s first novel offers a captivating new PI and a provocative mystery.

Book:City of Dragons

City of Dragons

Kelli Stanley

February, 1940. In San Francisco’s Chinatown, fireworks explode as the city celebrates Chinese New Year with a Rice Bowl Party, a three day-and-night carnival designed to raise money and support for China war relief. Miranda Corbie is a 33-year-old private investigator who stumbles upon the fatally shot body of Eddie Takahashi. The Chamber of Commerce wants it covered up. The cops acquiesce. All Miranda wants is justice—whatever it costs. From Chinatown tenements, to a tattered tailor’s shop in Little Osaka, to a high-class bordello draped in Southern Gothic, she shakes down the city—her city—seeking the truth.

An outstanding series debut.

Book:One Man's Paradise

One Man's Paradise

Douglas Corleone

Hotshot New York criminal defense lawyer Kevin Corvelli was rolling. He had all the right connections to get way ahead. Guilty? Innocent? It didn’t matter so long as he won, got in the papers, and got paid. That’s until he loses—and loses big—when a client, who was convicted and then killed in jail, is later proven innocent. The media has a field day plastering Corvelli’s face all over Manhattan, so Corvelli, disgraced and in a professional free fall, bolts for Hawaii.

Committed to being a lawyer if only because of the knee-buckling debts he accumulated becoming one in the first place, he sets up shop in paradise and swears to handle only misdemeanors this time around—no felonies, no murders, no media attention, no high stakes, no real responsibility. But his first case turns out to be exactly that: law student Joseph Gianforte, Jr., is accused of chasing his ex-girlfriend to Hawaii and killing her. He’s innocent, same as Corvelli’s last case, only this time…[more]

Book:Random Violence

Random Violence: A Jade de Jong Investigation

Jassy Mackenzie

In Johannesburg prosperous whites live in gated communities; when they exit their cars to open the gates, car-jackings are common. But seldom is the victim killed, much less shot twice, like Annette Botha. Piet Botha, the husband of the wealthy woman, is the primary suspect in his wife’s murder.

P.I. Jade de Jong fled South Africa ten years ago after her father was killed. Now back in town, she offers to help her father’s former assistant, Superintendent David Patel, with his investigation of this case. Under apartheid, Patel, of Indian descent, could never have attained his present position. But he is feeling pressure from his “old line” boss with respect to this investigation and fears lingering prejudice is at work.

As Jade probes into this and other recent car-jacking cases, a pattern begins to emerge, a pattern that goes back to her father’s murder and that involves a vast and intricate series of crimes for profit.

Book:Rogue Island

Rogue Island: A Novel

Bruce DeSilva

Liam Mulligan is as old school as a newspaper man gets. His beat is Providence, Rhode Island, and he knows every street and alley. He knows the priests and prostitutes, the cops and street thugs. He knows the mobsters and politicians—who are pretty much one and the same.

Someone is systematically burning down the neighborhood Mulligan grew up in, people he knows and loves are perishing in the flames, and the public is on the verge of panic. With the whole city of Providence on his back, Mulligan must weed through a wildly colorful array of characters to find the truth.

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