Honor roll: Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel

Each of these books has been nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel. They are ranked by honors received.

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.

Book:Black Fridays: A Novel

Black Fridays: A Novel

Michael Sears

Sometimes a man can be redeemed. But not in the way he expects.

Jason Stafford is a former Wall Street hotshot who made some bad moves, paid the price with two years in prison, and is now trying to put his life back together. He’s unemployable, until an investment firm asks him to look into possible problems left by a junior trader who died recently in an accident. What he discovers is big—there are problems, all right, the kind that get you killed.

But it’s not his only concern. Stafford has another quest as well: to reclaim his five-year-old son, “the Kid,” from his unstable ex-wife, and then learn just what it means to make a life with him. The things Stafford discovers about himself in the process are every bit as gripping as his investigation, and when the two threads of his life come together—the results are unforgettable.

Black Fridays marks the arrival of a remarkable new A Novel writer.

Book:The Distance

The Distance: A Billy Nichols Novel

Eddie Muller

Morris White is a Sous Chef at a first-rate Philadelphia French restaurant. All he wants is to leave behind his past—the poor neighborhood and petty crime he knew as a kid—and open his own restaurant. His dream comes one step closer to reality when the affair he’s having with Vicky Ward heats up. Not only is she the manager of the restaurant, but she comes from money and a privileged background. The only thing that could stop them from turning their dream into a reality, is Morris’s half-brother, Vince Kammer, who is about to get out of Graterford Prison.

Vince may have done the time, but the crime is far from behind him. Soon poor Morris is stuck in the middle. His job is in jeopardy, his new relationship is in jeopardy, his dream is in jeopardy, all because he’s finding it harder and harder to escape his hometown roots, which, unlike the crisp, bright white linens of the restaurant, are black as hell and dark as night.

Book:One for the Money

One for the Money: A Stephanie Plum Novel

Janet Evanovich

Watch out, world. Here comes Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter with attitude. In Stephanie’s opinion, toxic waste, rabid drivers, armed schizophrenics, and August heat, humidity, and hydrocarbons are all part of the great adventure of living in Jersey. She’s a product of the “burg,” a blue-collar pocket of Trenton where houses are attached and narrow, cars are American, windows are clean, and (God forbid you should be late) dinner is served at six. Now Stephanie’s all grown up and out on her own, living five miles from Mom and Dad’s, doing her best to sever the world’s longest umbilical cord. Her mother is a meddler, and her grandmother is a few cans short of a case.

Out of work and out of money, with her Miata repossessed and her refrigerator empty, Stephanie blackmails her bail bondsman cousin, Vinnie, into giving her a try as an apprehension agent. Stephanie knows zilch about the job requirements, but she figures…[more]

Book:A Cold Day in Paradise

A Cold Day in Paradise: An Alex McKnight Mystery

Steve Hamilton

Other than the bullet lodged less than a centimeter from his heart, former Detroit police officer Alex McKnight thought he had put the nightmare of his partner’s death and his own near-fatal injury behind him. After all, Maximilian Rose, convicted of the crimes, has been locked in the state pen for years, But in the small town of Paradise, Michigan, where McKnight has traded his badge for a cozy cabin in the woods, a murderer with Rose’s unmistakable trademarks appears to be back to his killing ways. With Rose locked away, McKnight can’t understand who else would know the intimate details of the old murders—not to mention the signature blood-red rose left on his doorstep. And it seems like it’ll be a frozen day in Hell before McKnight can unravel the cold truth from a deadly deception in a town that’s anything but Paradise.

Book:Big Red Tequila

Big Red Tequila

Rick Riordan

Everything in Texas is bigger…even murder.

Meet Tres Navarre…tequila drinker, Tai Chi master, unlicensed P.I., with a penchant for Texas-size trouble.

Jackson “Tres” Navarre and his enchilada-eating cat, Robert Johnson, pull into San Antonio and find nothing waiting but trouble. Ten years ago Navarre left town and the memory of his father’s murder behind him. Now he’s back, looking for answers. Yet the more Tres digs, trying to put his suspicions to rest, the fresher the decade-old crime looks: Mafia connections, construction site payoffs, and slick politicians’ games all conspire to ruin his homecoming. It’s obvious Tres has stirred up a hornet’s nest of trouble. He gets attacked, shot at, run over by a big blue Thunderbird—and his old girlfriend, the one he wants back, turns up missing. Tres has to rescue the woman, nail his father’s murderer, and get the hell out of Dodge before mob-style Texas justice catches up to him. The chances of staying alive looked better for the defenders of the Alamo….

Book:Devil in a Blue Dress: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

Devil in a Blue Dress: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

Walter Mosley

Los Angeles, 1948: Easy Rawlins is a black war veteran just fired from his job at a defense plant. Easy is drinking in a friend’s bar, wondering how he’ll meet his mortgage, when a white man in a linen suit walks in, offering good money if Easy will simply locate Miss Daphne Money, a blonde beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs….

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:Big City, Bad Blood

Big City, Bad Blood: A Novel

Sean Chercover

Disillusioned newspaper reporter-turned-private detective Ray Dudgeon doesn’t want to save the world; he just wants to do an honest job well. But when doing an honest job threatens society’s most powerful and corrupt, Ray’s odds of survival make for a sucker’s bet…

A simple bodyguard job for a Hollywood locations manager uncovers a rats’ nest of sexual blackmail, murder, and high-level political corruption…and Ray Dudgeon is caught in a war between the FBI, the Chicago police, and the mob. With the line between good and bad blurring, Ray doesn’t know who he can trust—or if he can even trust himself.

Book:Chasing the Devil's Tail

Chasing the Devil's Tail: A Mystery of Storyville, New Orleans

David Fulmer

Not New Orleans—but Storyville—noir…and all that jazz! 1907 Storyville. Cultures, races, and religions more often blend than clash in a rich gumbo only New Orleans could serve up. But trouble brews. In this red light district, prostitutes ply their trade whether in cramped cribs or elegant houses of French ancestry, while music surges through its streets and helps harmonize the light and dark elements. King Bolden rules the Storyville brass with his golden coronet and his gift—jasser—to blow a riff on the city’s music that pulses with new rhythms and notes. But the real King of Storyville is Tom Anderson, the district’s powerful property owner and political fixer, who employs Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr to dig into the deaths of a string of prostitutes. Each victim is found with a black rose. Is a serial killer leaving a calling card? Is King Bolden losing his mind as he stretches his genius to its limits? Why is an elderly priest sent away under care?

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