This year I'm one of the judges for the Shamus Awards so I am reading thru a stack of private eye novels. That's good news for you because I can tell you about some great new books, like John Gilstrap's "No Mercy."

With this book, bestseller Gilstrap is launching a thriller series but since the protagonist, Jonathan Grave, is a private detective the book qualifies for Shamus consideration. Grave's real expertise is hostage rescue and in this book he investigates the disappearance of a reporter who happens to be married to Grave's ex-wife. This is a fast-paced action story, but with plenty of plot to keep your brain engaged. Grave is really a troubleshooter of sorts, like my own Hannibal Jones. So if you like your heroes to be truly heroic, this one's for you. It's way too soon to decide who'll take home the Shamus award for best first private eye novel, but I can tell you here and now that this novel is a serious contender.

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