I don’t normally recommend books before I’ve read them, but in the case of these two volumes I’ll make an exception because I have read many of the stories included in them. THE SHAMUS WINNERS, VOLUMES 1 AND 2 reprint all the winners of the Private Eye Writers of America Shamus Award for Best Short Story from 1982 through 2009, plus a couple of bonus stories from the other nominees in each volume. Among them are two stories that became the basis for full-length novels, Lawrence Block’s “By the Dawn’s Early Light”, which was expanded into WHEN THE SACRED GINMILL CLOSES, and Mickey Spillane’s “The Killing Man”, which became the novel of the same name. There are also great stories from Sue Grafton, Bill Pronzini, Ed Gorman, Loren Estleman, John Lutz, Max Allan Collins, Jeremiah Healy, and a host of other fine authors. As I mentioned, I’ve read many of these stories, and I look forward to rereading them and reading the others for the first time.
In addition to the stories themselves, you get a couple of introductions by Robert J. Randisi, the founder of PWA, and an appendix in each volume listing not only all the Shamus winners in all the categories, but also the other nominees in each category. This is an excellent reference source, and it’s great to have all that information in one place. (Two places, actually, since it’s split up between the volumes, but you know what I mean.)
If you’re a fan of private eye short fiction at all, these books are must-have items and another example of why Perfect Crime Books has become an important publisher in the field of crime fiction in a short period of time. Honest, I don’t work for Perfect Crime and I don’t have anything coming out from them. They’re just putting out a lot of really good books these days, and THE SHAMUS WINNERS, VOLUMES 1 AND 2 are among the best. Highly recommended.