Link to our Facebook Page
Link to our Twitter Page
Link to our Pinterest Page
Link to our Flickr Page
Link to our Youtube Page

Shamus Award


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]


Ingrid Thofts


David Rosenfelt


Brad Parks
The Good Cop

Book Cover2013

Robert Crais


Michael Wiley
A Bad Night’s Sleep


Lori Armstrong
No Mercy

Book Cover2010

Marcia Muller
Locked In

Book Cover2009

Reed Farrel Coleman
Empty Ever After


Book Cover Reed Farrel Coleman
Soul Patch

Book Cover2007

Ken Bruen
The Dramatist

Book Cover2006

Michael Connelly
The Lincoln Lawyer


Edward Wright
While I Disappear

Book Cover2004

Ken Bruen
The Guards

Book Cover2003

James W. Hall
Blackwater Sound

Book Cover2002

S.J. Rozan
Reflecting the Sky

Book Cover2001

Carolina Garcia-Aguilera
Havana Heat

Book Cover2000

Don Winslow
California Fire and Life

Book Cover1999

Bill Pronzini


Terrance Faherty
Come Back Dead

Book Cover1997

Robert Crais
Sunset Express

Book Cover1996

S.J. Rozan

Book Cover1995

Sue Grafton
K is for Killer

Book Cover1994

Lawrence Block
The Devil Knows You’re Dead

Book Cover1993

Harold Adams
The Man Who Was Taller Than God


Max Allan Collins
Stolen Away

Book Cover1991

Sue Grafton
G is for Gumshoe


Jonathan Valin
Extenuating Circumstances


John Lutz


Benjamin Schutz
A Tax in Blood


Jeremiah Healy
The Staked Goat

Book Cover1986

Sue Grafton
B is for Burglar


Loren D. Estleman


Max Allan Collins
True Detective

Book Cover1983

Lawrence Block
Eight Million Ways to Die


Bill Pronzini

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


J.L. Abramo
Circling the Runway


Vincent Zandri
Moonlight Weeps


P.J. Parrish
Heart of Ice

Book Cover2013

Alison Gaylin
And She Was


Duane Swierczynski
Fun and Games


Christopher G. Moore
Asia Hand


Ira Berkowitz
Sinner’s Ball

Book Cover2009

Lori Armstrong
Snow Blind


Richard Aleas
Songs of Innocence

Book Cover2007

P.J. Parrish
An Unquiet Grave


Reed Farrell Coleman
The James Deans


Max Phillips
Fade to Blonde


Andy Straka
Cold Quarry


D. Daniel Judson
The Poisoned Rose


Lyda Morehouse
Archangel Protocol


Thomas Lipinski
Death in the Steel City

Book Cover2000

Laura Lippman
In Big Trouble


Steven Womack
Murder Manual

Book Cover1998

Laura Lippman
Charm City

Book Cover1997

Harlan Coben
Fade Away


William Jaspersohn
Native Angels


Ed Goldberg
Served Cold


Rodman Philbrick
Brothers and Sinners


Marele Day
The Last Tango of Dolores Delgado


Paul Kemprecos
Cool Blue Tomb


W. Glenn Duncan
Rafferty: Fatal Sisters


Rob Kantner
Hell’s Only Half Full


Rob Kantner
Dirty Work


L.J. Washburn
Wild Night


Rob Kantner
The Back-Door Man


Earl Emerson
Poverty Bay


Warren Murphy
The Ceiling of Hell


Paul Engleman
Dead in Centerfield


William Campbell Gault
The Cana Diversion


Max Byrd
California Thriller

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


Lisa Sandlin
The Do-Right


Julia Dahl
Invisible City


Lachlan Smith
Bear is Broken

Book Cover2013

Michael Sears
Black Fridays

Book Cover2012

P.G. Sturges
The Shortcut Man


Michael Ayoob
In Search of Mercy


Brad Parks
Faces of the Gone


Ian Vasquez
In the Heat

Book Cover2008

Sean Chercover
Big City, Bad Blood


Declan Hughes
The Wrong Kind of Blood

Book Cover2006

Louise Ure
Forcing Amaryllis


Ingrid Black
The Dead

Book Cover2004

Peter Spiegelman
Black Maps


Eddie Muller
The Distance

Book Cover2002

David Fulmer
Chasing the Devil’s Tail


Bob Truluck
Street Level

Book Cover2000

John Connolly
Every Dead Thing

Book Cover1999

Steve Hamilton
A Cold Day in Paradise


Rick Riordan
Big Red Tequila

Book Cover1997

Carol Lea Benjamin
This Dog For Hire

Book Cover1996

Richard Barre
The Innocents

Book Cover1995

Dennis Lehane
A Drink Before the War

Book Cover1994

Lynn Hightower
Satan’s Lambs


John Straley
The Woman Who Married a Bear


Thompas D. Davis
Suffer the Little Children

Book Cover1991

Walter Mosley
Devil in a Blue Dress

Book Cover1990

Karen Kijewski


Gar Anthony Haywood
Fear of the Dark


Michael Allegretto
Death on the Rocks


J.W. Rider
Jersey Tomatoes


Wayne Warga


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]

2016 — Parnell Hall — “The Dead Client” [in Dark City Lights: New York Stories]

2015 — Gon Ben Ari — “Clear Recent History” [in Tel Aviv Noir]

2014 — Max Allan Collins & Mickey Spillane — “So Long, Chief” [in The Strand Magazine, Feb-May 2013]

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 AH, Nov 2010]

2010 — Dave Zeltserman — “Julius Katz” [in EQ, Sep/Oct 2009]

2009 — Mitch Alderman — “Family Values” [in AH, Jun 2008]

2008 — Cornelia Read — “Hungry Enough” [in A Hell of a Woman (anthology)]

2007 — O’Neil De Noux — “Tje Heart Has Reasons” [in AH, Sep 2006]

2006 — Michael Wiecek — “A Death in Ueno” [in AH, 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 EQ, Nov 2002]

2002 — Ceri Jordan — “Rough Justice” [in AH, Jul 2001]

2001 — Brendan Dubois — “The Road’s End” [in AH, Apr 2000]

2000 — I.J. Parker — “Akitada’s First Case” [in AH, 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 EQ, 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 AH, 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 AH, 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.

2016S.J. Rozan

2015Parnell Hall

2013Loren Estleman

2011Ed Gorman

2010Robert Crais

2008Joe Gores

2007Stuart Kaminsky

2006Max Allan Collins

2005Sara Paretsky

2004Donald E. Westlake

2003Sue Grafton

2002Lawrence Block

2000Edward D. Hoch

1999Maxine O’Callaghan

1997Stephen Marlowe

1995 [two this year] — John Lutz

1995 [two this year] — Robert B. Parker

1994Stephen J. Cannell

1993Marcia Muller

1992Joseph Hansen

1991Roy Huggins

1988 [two this year] — Dennis Lynds (Michael Collins)

1988 [two this year] — Wade Miller (Robert Wade and Bob Miller)

1987Bill Pronzini

1986Richard S. Prather

1985Howard Browne

1984William Campbell Gault

1983Mickey Spillane

1982Ross Macdonald

The Hammer Award — [2007 to 2014] (for Best P.I. Series Character)

2014Kinsey Milhone by Sue Grafton

2012Nathan Heller by Max Allan Collins

2011V.I. Warshawski by Sara Paretsky

2009Matthew Scudder by Lawrence Block

2007Shell Scott by Richard S. Prather

Best Indie P.I. Novel — [2013 to present]


Trace Conger
The Shadow Broker


M. Ruth Myers
Don’t Dare a Dame


Paul D. Marks
White Heat

Updated December 2016 sdc