Annal: 2012 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 2012.

Book:Shortcut Man

Shortcut Man: A Novel

P.G. Sturges

A smart and entertaining crime series debut set in the underbelly of Los Angeles, with a cast of characters that runs the gamut from saints to sinners.

In the City of Angels, not everyone plays by the rules. When people need a problem fixed fast, and discreetly, they call Dick Henry. Henry is known as a “shortcut man,” someone who believes that the shortest answer to many problems may not always be legal. As he cuts through the red tape for his clients, who range from an elderly woman ripped off by shady contractors to a landlord with a tenant many months behind on the rent, Henry always gets the job done, no matter what the cost. In Shortcut Man, Henry spends his days hunting down slimy con men and his nights seducing Lynette, an intoxicating, long-legged vixen. But when Henry gets an assignment from porn producer Artie Benjamin, his life suddenly becomes much more complicated. Now Henry must complete…[more]

Book:Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead: A Mystery

Sara Gran

Claire DeWitt is not your average private investigator. She has brilliant deductive skills and is an ace at discovering evidence. But Claire also uses her dreams, omens, and mind-expanding herbs to help her solve mysteries, and relies on Détection—the only book published by the late, great, and mysterious French detective Jacques Silette. 

The tattooed, pot-smoking Claire has just arrived in post-Katrina New Orleans, the city she’s avoided since her mentor, Silette’s student Constance Darling, was murdered there. Claire is investigating the disappearance of Vic Willing, a prosecutor known for winning convictions in a homicide- plagued city. Has an angry criminal enacted revenge on Vic? Or did he use the storm as a means to disappear? Claire follows the clues, finding old friends and making new enemies—foremost among them Andray Fairview, a young gang member who just might hold the key to the mystery. 

Littered with memories of Claire’s years as a girl detective in 1980s Brooklyn, Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead is a knockout start to a bracingly original new series.

Book:The Ocean Forest

The Ocean Forest: Murder in Myrtle Beach

Troy D. Nooe

Frankie McKeller hates the beach. He has ever since that day on the one they called Omaha. If the guy who saved his life during the war wasn’t getting married he’d never have made the trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. As a low budget gum shoe out of Baltimore, he isn’t prepared for a weekend of hobnobbing with the Southern elite.

When a prominent wedding guest is found with a bullet to the brain, the six week course he took in private investigation proves lacking as well. Frankie is out of his element at the exclusive Ocean Forest Hotel, snooping and stumbling his way through his first ever murder case. In three days at the beach he is seduced by a sultry debutante, threatened by a controlling father and roughed up by a mysterious henchman running muscle for the rich and privileged. The deeper he wades into the mystery the more things keep pointing back to his best friend and he is forced to come face to face with his own ghosts and demons. …[more]

Book:The Plot Against Hip Hop

The Plot Against Hip Hop: A Novel

Nelson George

The Plot Against Hip Hop is a noir novel set in the world of hip hop culture. The stabbing murder of esteemed music critic Dwayne Robinson in a Soho office building is dismissed by the NYPD as a gang initiation. But his old friend, bodyguard/security expert D Hunter, suspects there’s much more to his death. An old cassette tape, the theft of a manuscript Robinson was working on, and some veiled threats suggest there are larger forces at work.

D Hunter’s investigation into his mentor’s murder leads into a parallel history of hip hop, a place where renegade government agents, behind-the-scenes power brokers, and paranoid journalists know a truth that only a few hard core fans suspect. This rewrite of hip hop history mixes real-life figures including Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Russell Simmons with characters pulled from the culture’s hidden world, as the Illuminati, FBI agents, and West Coast gangstas roam the hard streets D Hunter walks down…After reading The Plot Against Hip Hop, you’ll never hear the music the same way.

Book:The Stranger You Seek

The Stranger You Seek: A Novel

Amanda Kyle Williams

In the sweltering heat of an Atlanta summer, a killer is pushing the city to its breaking point, preying on the unsuspecting, writing taunting letters to the media, promising more death. Desperate to stop the Wishbone Killer before another victim meets a shattering end, A.P.D. lieutenant Aaron Rauser turns to the one person he knows can penetrate a deranged mind: ex-FBI profiler Keye Street.

Keye was a rising young star at the Bureau until addiction derailed her career and her life. Now sober and fighting to stay so, Keye picks up jobs where she can get them: catching adulterers, serving subpoenas, chasing down bailjumpers, and dodging the occasional bullet. With multiple victims, little to go on, and an entire police force looking for direction, the last thing Keye wants is to be pulled into the firestorm of Atlanta’s worst nightmare. …[more]

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