Honor roll: Shamus Award for Best Paperback Original P.I. Novel

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

Book:The James Deans

The James Deans: A Moe Prager Mystery

Reed Farrel Coleman

It’s 1983 and Reaganomics is in full swing. But beneath the facade of junk bonds and easy money, New York remains a gritty metropolis offering Nirvana with one hand and desolation with the other. Moe Prager, ex-NYPD cop turned reluctant P.I. is too busy reeling from a family tragedy to see what’s coming. He’s about to be sucked into a case that might deliver him what he’s always wanted or plunge him into purgatory.

Two years earlier, Moira Heaton, a young intern for an up-and-coming politico, vanished without a trace. Although there is no evidence supporting her boss’s involvement, rumors and whispers have conspired to stall his once-promising career. Now, in a last-ditch effort to clear his name, state senator Steven Brightman, with the clout of a wealthy backer, enlists Moe’s help. With twists and turns galore and Moe’s inimitable voice, The James Deans is an absorbing page-turner that will add to the burgeoning reputation of one of today’s most promising writers.

Book:Butchers Hill

Butchers Hill: A Tess Monaghan Mystery

Laura Lippman

Tess Monaghan has finally made the move and hung out her shingle as a p.i.-for-hire, complete with an office in Butchers Hill. Maybe it’s not the best address in Baltimore, but you gotta start somewhere, and Tess’s greyhound Esskay has no trouble taking marathon naps anywhere there’s a roof. Then in walks Luther Beale, the notorious vigilante who five years ago shot a boy for vandalizing his car. Just out of prison, he says he wants to make reparations to the kids who witnessed his crime, so he needs Tess to find them. But once she starts snooping, the witnesses start dying. Is the “Butcher of Butchers Hill” at it again? Like it or not, Tess is embroiled in a case that encompasses the powers that-be, a heartless system that has destroyed the lives of children, and a nasty trail of money and lies leading all the way back to Butchers Hill.

Book:In Big Trouble

In Big Trouble: A Tess Monaghan Mystery

Laura Lippman

Edgar Award-winner Laura Lippman is developing a reputation as one of the most exciting new detective fiction authors in years. Now she delivers her most suspenseful novel yet, and places Baltimore’s Tess Monaghan…In Big Trouble.

First as a reporter and then as a p.i., Tess Monaghan has learned how to survive and thrive on the streets of Baltimore. But a new case will force her to confront her own past, and a man she loved and lost. It starts when she gets a newspaper photograph of her old boyfriend with a tantalizing shard of headline attached: In Big Trouble. The answers lie far from Baltimore, deep in a world of good-time music, old-fashioned ambiiton, and rich people’s games. For Tess must find out what happened to a man she thought she knew, to a woman who may have changed him forever, and to the victims of a killer who dances to a different—and deadly—drummer.

Book:Charm City

Charm City: A Tess Monaghan Mystery

Laura Lippman

As a practiced reporter until her newspaper went to that great pressroom in the sky, P.I. Tess Monaghan knows and loves every inch of her native Baltimore, even the parts being slobbered on by the sad-sack greyhound she’s minding for her uncle. It’s a quirky city where baseball reigns, but lately homicide seems to be the second most popular local sport. Business tycoon “Wink” Wynkowski is trying to change all that by bringing pro basketball back to town, and everybody’s rooting fro him—until a devastating, muckraking expose of his lurid past appears on the front page of the Baltimore Beacon-Light. It’s a surprise even to the Blight’s editors, who thought they’d killed the piece. Instead, the piece killed Wink—who’s found in his garage with the car running.

Now the Blight wants to nail the unknown computer hacker who planted the lethal story, and the assignment is right up…[more]

Book:Fade Away

Fade Away: A Myron Bolitar Mystery

Harlan Coben

The home was top-notch New Jersey suburban. The living room was Martha Stewart. The basement was Legos—and blood. For sports agent Myron Bolitar, the disappearance of a man he’d once competed against was bringing back memories—of the sport he and Greg Downing had both played and the woman they both loved. Now, among the stars, the wanna-bes, the gamblers and groupies, Myron is unraveling the strange, violent life of a sports hero gone wrong, and coming face-to-face with a past he can’t relive, and a present he may not survive.

In novels that crackle with wit and suspense, Edgar Award winner Harlan Coben has created one of the most fascinating and complex heroes in suspense fiction—Myron Bolitar—a hotheaded, tenderhearted sports agent who grows more and more engaging and unpredictable with each page-turning appearance.

Book:Blood of Paradise

Blood of Paradise

David Corbett

El Salvador: America’s great Cold War success story and the model for Iraq’s fledgling democracy–if one ignores the grinding poverty, the corruption, the spiraling crime, and a murder rate ranked near the top in the hemisphere. This is where Jude McManus works as an executive protection specialist, currently assigned to an American engineer working for a U.S. consortium.

Ten years before, at age seventeen, he saw his father and two Chicago cop colleagues arrested for robbing street dealers. The family fell apart in the scandal’s wake, his disgraced dad died under suspicious circumstances, and Jude fled Chicago to join the army and forge a new life.

Now the past returns when one of his father’s old pals appears. The man is changed–he’s scarred, regretful, self-aware–and he helps Jude revisit the past with a forgiving eye. Then he asks a favor–not for himself, but for the third member…[more]

Book:Fun & Games: A Charlie Hardie Thriller

Fun & Games: A Charlie Hardie Thriller

Duane Swierczynski

The first of three explosive pulp thrillers arriving back-to-back from cult crime fiction sensation and Marvel Comics scribe Duane Swierczynski.

Charlie Hardie, an ex-cop still reeling from the revenge killing of his former partner’s entire family, fears one thing above all else: that he’ll suffer the same fate.

Languishing in self-imposed exile, Hardie has become a glorified house sitter. His latest gig comes replete with an illegally squatting B-movie actress who rants about hit men who specialize in making deaths look like accidents. Unfortunately, it’s the real deal. Hardie finds himself squared off against a small army of the most lethal men in the world: The Accident People.

It’s nothing personal-the girl just happens to be the next name on their list. For Hardie, though, it’s intensely personal. He’s not about to let more innocent people die. Not on his watch.

Book:And She Was

And She Was: A Novel of Suspense

Alison Gaylin

On a summer afternoon in 1998, six-year-old Iris Neff walked away from a barbecue in her small suburban town…and vanished. Missing persons investigator Brenna Spector has a rare neurological disorder that enables her to recall every detail of every day of her life. A blessing and a curse, it began in childhood, when her older sister stepped into a strange car never to be seen again, and it’s proven invaluable in her work. But it hasn’t helped her solve the mystery that haunts her above all others—and it didn’t lead her to little Iris. When a local woman, Carol Wentz, disappears eleven years later, Brenna uncovers bizarre connections between the missing woman, the long-gone little girl…and herself.

Book:Body Blows

Body Blows: A Joe Grundy Mystery

Marc Strange

Ex-boxer Joe Grundy is embroiled in the intrigues of his own boss, millionaire Leo Alexander, the owner of Vancouver’s Lord Douglas Hotel. Somebody has murdered Leo’s live-in servant and not-so-secret lover, and Grundy has to get to the bottom of the incident in order to clear the man he’s forged a bond with since first coming to work for him as security for the hotel. But Leo’s past serves up more surprises than Grundy bargained for

It seems Leo has had a life full of death, jilted mistresses, spurned spouses, sharp business deals, and explosive relationships with estranged children. Another corpse pops up, Leo is arrested and jailed, and Grundy takes more hits to his body and psyche than perhaps even he can handle.

Thoughts of real and imagined death are stalking the corridors of the Lord Douglas, and Joe Grundy has to keep swinging to stay alive and remain sane.

Book:Fulton County Blues

Fulton County Blues: A Sunny Childs Mystery

Ruth Birmingham

“Sunny Childs is…a wham-bam thank you ma’am great read.” —J.A. Jance, author of Name Withheld Sunny investigates the death of her late father’s friend, another Vietnam vet—and finds clues suggesting her dad isn’t the war hero she grew up believing in. And when survivors slam doors in her face, Sunny is determined to find the answers. But those answers may be more painful than Sunny ever dreamed…

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