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The Shamus awards honor the traditional private eye story, and are awarded by the Private Eye Writers of America (PWA). According to the PWA, a "private eye" is a mystery protagonist who is a professional investigator, but not a police officer or government agent -- a person paid for investigative work but not employed by a unit of government -- "a person paid for investigative work but not employed by a unit of government. Thus books and stories about private investigators (licensed and unlicensed), lawyers and reporters who do their own legwork, and other hired agents are eligible; works centering on law enforcement officers or amateur sleuths are not." The PWA was founded in 1981 and The Shamus Awards were first presented in 1982, and have been given out annually ever since.

Initial categories were The Eye Award (for Lifetime Achievement), Best P.I. Novel and Best P.I. Paperback Original. Additional categories added over the years have included Best First P.I. Novel, Best P.I. Short Story, and The Hammer Award (for Best P.I. Series Character). Although no official website exists for the Private Eye Writers of America, there is a page with background about the awards on the Thrilling Detective website, set up by Robert Randisi, who originally founded PWA.

The titles in this list are "hotlinked" to our library's catalog, for all those titles currently owned by the Lincoln City Libraries. Please note that several of the Shamus-winning novels are no longer in our collection. They appear here for the sake of providing a complete list. If there is a title you are interested in which we no longer own, and you are a Lincoln City Libraries customer, please consider requesting it through our Interlibrary Loan service.

With regards to the winners in the Short Stories award category, please note that the Lincoln City Libraries does not own individual issues of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and we only carry limited back issues of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. However, numerous stories which originally saw print in these two periodicals have since been reprinted in anthologies under the Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock banners, and the library does own many of these reprint volumes.

Best P.I. Novel -- [1982 to present]

2013  Book Cover  Robert Crais
2012  Book Cover  Michael Wiley
A Bad Night's Sleep
2011  Book Cover  Lori Armstrong
No Mercy
2010  Book Cover  Marcia Muller
Locked In
2009  Book Cover  Reed Farrel Coleman
Empty Ever After
2008  Book Cover  Reed Farrel Coleman
Soul Patch
2007  Book Cover  Ken Bruen
The Dramatist
2006  Book Cover  Michael Connelly
The Lincoln Lawyer
2005  Book Cover  Edward Wright
While I Disappear
2004  Book Cover  Ken Bruen
The Guards
2003  Book Cover  James W. Hall
Blackwater Sound
2002  Book Cover  S.J. Rozan
Reflecting the Sky
2001  Book Cover  Carolina Garcia-Aguilera
Havana Heat
2000  Book Cover  Don Winslow
California Fire and Life
1999  Book Cover  Bill Pronzini
1998  Book Cover  Terrance Faherty
Come Back Dead
1997  Book Cover  Robert Crais
Sunset Express
1996  Book Cover  S.J. Rozan
1995  Book Cover  Sue Grafton
K is for Killer
1994  Book Cover  Lawrence Block
The Devil Knows You're Dead
1993  Book Cover  Harold Adams
The Man Who Was Taller Than God
1992  Book Cover  Max Allan Collins
Stolen Away
1991  Book Cover  Sue Grafton
G is for Gumshoe
1990  Book Cover  Jonathan Valin
Extenuating Circumstances
1989  Book Cover  John Lutz
1988  Book Cover  Benjamin Schutz
A Tax in Blood
1987  Book Cover  Jeremiah Healy
The Staked Goat
1986  Book Cover  Sue Grafton
B is for Burglar
1985  Book Cover  Loren D. Estleman
1984  Book Cover  Max Allan Collins
True Detective
1983  Book Cover  Lawrence Block
Eight Million Ways to Die
1982  Book Cover  Bill Pronzini

Best P.I. Paperback Original -- [1982 to present]

2013  Book Cover  Alison Gaylin
And She Was
2012  Book Cover  Duane Swierczynski
Fun and Games
2011  Book Cover  Christopher G. Moore
Asia Hand
2010  Book Cover  Ira Berkowitz
Sinner's Ball
2009  Book Cover  Lori Armstrong
Snow Blind
2008  Book Cover  Richard Aleas
Songs of Innocence
2007  Book Cover  P.J. Parrish
An Unquiet Grave
2006  Book Cover  Reed Farrell Coleman
The James Deans
2005  Book Cover  Max Phillips
Fade to Blonde
2004  Book Cover  Andy Straka
Cold Quarry
2003  Book Cover  D. Daniel Judson
The Poisoned Rose
2002  Book Cover  Lyda Morehouse
Archangel Protocol
2001  Book Cover  Thomas Lipinski
Death in the Steel City
2000  Book Cover  Laura Lippman
In Big Trouble
1999  Book Cover  Steven Womack
Murder Manual
1998  Book Cover  Laura Lippman
Charm City
1997  Book Cover  Harlan Coben
Fade Away
1996  Book Cover  William Jaspersohn
Native Angels
1995  Book Cover  Ed Goldberg
Served Cold
1994  Book Cover  Rodman Philbrick
Brothers and Sinners
1993  Book Cover  Marele Day
The Last Tango of Dolores Delgado
1992  Book Cover  Paul Kemprecos
Cool Blue Tomb
1991  Book Cover  W. Glenn Duncan
Rafferty: Fatal Sisters
1990  Book Cover  Rob Kantner
Hell's Only Half Full
1989  Book Cover  Rob Kantner
Dirty Work
1988  Book Cover  L.J. Washburn
Wild Night
1987  Book Cover  Rob Kantner
The Back-Door Man
1986  Book Cover  Earl Emerson
Poverty Bay
1985  Book Cover  Warren Murphy
The Ceiling of Hell
1984  Book Cover  Paul Engleman
Dead in Centerfield
1983  Book Cover  William Campbell Gault
The Cana Diversion
1982  Book Cover  Max Byrd
California Thriller

Best First P.I. Novel -- [1985 to present]

2013  Book Cover  Michael Sears
Black Fridays
2012  Book Cover  P.G. Sturges
The Shortcut Man
2011  Book Cover  Michael Ayoob
In Search of Mercy
2010  Book Cover  Brad Parks
Faces of the Gone
2009  Book Cover  Ian Vasquez
In the Heat
2008  Book Cover  Sean Chercover
Big City, Bad Blood
2007  Book Cover  Declan Hughes
The Wrong Kind of Blood
2006  Book Cover  Louise Ure
Forcing Amaryllis
2005  Book Cover  Ingrid Black
The Dead
2004  Book Cover  Peter Spiegelman
Black Maps
2003  Book Cover  Eddie Muller
The Distance
2002  Book Cover  David Fulmer
Chasing the Devil's Tail
2001  Book Cover  Bob Truluck
Street Level
2000  Book Cover  John Connolly
Every Dead Thing
1999  Book Cover  Steve Hamilton
A Cold Day in Paradise
1998  Book Cover  Rick Riordan
Big Red Tequila
1997  Book Cover  Carol Lea Benjamin
This Dog For Hire
1996  Book Cover  Richard Barre
The Innocents
1995  Book Cover  Dennis Lehane
A Drink Before the War
1994  Book Cover  Lynn Hightower
Satan's Lambs
1993  Book Cover  John Straley
The Woman Who Married a Bear
1992  Book Cover  Thompas D. Davis
Suffer the Little Children
1991  Book Cover  Walter Mosley
Devil in a Blue Dress
1990  Book Cover  Karen Kijewski
1989  Book Cover  Gar Anthony Haywood
Fear of the Dark
1988  Book Cover  Michael Allegretto
Death on the Rocks
1987  Book Cover  J.W. Rider
Jersey Tomatoes
1986  Book Cover  Wayne Warga
1985  Book Cover  Jack Early
A Creative Kind of Killer

Best P.I. Short Story -- [1983 to present]
[Honoring the best in shorter mystery works, often reprinted in anthologies or collections in later years]

2013  John Shepphird "Ghost Negligence" [in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Jul/Aug 2012]
2012  Michael C. Lewin "Who I Am" [in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Dec 2011]
2011  Gar Anthony Haywood "The Lamb Was Sure to Go" [in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Nov 2010]
2010  Dave Zeltserman "Julius Katz" [in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Sep/Oct 2009]
2009  Mitch Alderman "Family Values" [in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Jun 2008]
2008  Cornelia Read "Hungry Enough" [in A Hell of a Woman (anthology)]
2007  O'Neil De Noux "Tje Heart Has Reasons" [in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Sep 2006]
2006  Michael Wiecek "A Death in Ueno" [in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Mar 2005]
2005  Pearl Abraham "Hasidic Noir" [in Brooklyn Noir (anthology)]
2004  Loren D. Estleman "Lady on Ice" [in A Hot and Sultry Night (anthology)]
2003  Terence Faherty "The Second Coming" [in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Nov 2002]
2002  Ceri Jordan "Rough Justice" [in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Jul 2001]
2001  Brendan Dubois "The Road's End" [in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Apr 2000]
2000  I.J. Parker "Akitada's First Case" [in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Jul/Aug 1999]
1999  Warren Murphy "Another Day, Another Dollar" [in Murder on the Run (anthology)]
1998  Carolyn Wheat "Love Me For My Yellow Hair Alone" [in Marilyn: Shades of Blonde (anthology)]
1997  Lia Matera "Dead Drunk" [in Guilty as Charged (anthology)]
1996  Gar Anthony Haywood "And Pray Nobody Sees You" [in Spooks, Spies and Private Eyes (anthology)]
1995  Brendan DuBois "The Necessary Brother" [in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, May 1994]
1994  Lawrence Block "The Merciful Angel of Death" [in The New Mystery (anthology)]
1993  Benjamin Schutz "Mary, Mary, Shut the Door" [in Deadly Allies (anthology)]
1992  Nancy Pickard "Dust Devil" [in The Armchair Detective, Winter 1991]
1991  Marcia Muller "Final Resting Place" [in Justice for Hire (anthology)]
1990  Mickey Spillane "The Killing Man" [in Playboy, Dec 1989]
1989  Loren D. Estleman "The Crooked Way" [in The New Black Mask (anthology)]
1988  Ed Gorman "Turn Away" [in Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction (anthology)]
1987  Rob Kantner "Fly Away Home" [in Mean Streets (anthology)]
1986  Loren D. Estleman "Eight Mile and Dequindre" [in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, May 1985]
1985  Lawrence Block "By the Dawn's Early Light" [in Playboy, Aug 1984]
1984  Bill Pronzini "Cat's Paw" [in Waves Press (stand-alone volume)]
1983  John Lutz "What You Don't Know Can Hurt You" [in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Nov 1982]

The Eye Award -- [1982 to present] (for Lifetime Achievement)

Not all winners of The Eye Award are purely fiction writers -- this award has also been given to screenwriters and television producers, as well as editors, all of whom made important contributions to the Private Eye field. Not given in every year.

2013  Loren Estleman
2011  Ed Gorman
2010  Robert Crais
2008  Joe Gores
2007  Stuart Kaminsky
2006  Max Allan Collins
2005  Sara Paretsky
2004  Donald E. Westlake
2003  Sue Grafton
2002  Lawrence Block
2000  Edward D. Hoch
1999  Maxine O'Callaghan
1997  Stephen Marlowe
1995 [two this year] John Lutz
1995 [two this year] Robert B. Parker
1994  Stephen J. Cannell
1993  Marcia Muller
1992  Joseph Hansen
1991  Roy Huggins
1988 [two this year]  Dennis Lynds (Michael Collins)
1988 [two this year] Wade Miller (Robert Wade and Bob Miller)
1987  Bill Pronzini
1986  Richard S. Prather
1985  Howard Browne
1984  William Campbell Gault
1983  Mickey Spillane
1982  Ross Macdonald

The Hammer Award -- [2007 to present] (for Best P.I. Series Character)

2012  Nathan Heller by Max Allan Collins
2011  V.I. Warshawski by Sara Paretsky
2009  Matthew Scudder by Lawrence Block
2007  Shell Scott by Richard S. Prather

Updated January 2015 sdc

Looking for additional novels on this or other subjects? Try out the NoveList database!

Interested in other mystery books? You might want to sign up for the Mystery Book Club at our On-Line Book Clubs page, or take a look at our other mystery-themed lists on our booklists page.
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