Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

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Posted by Writing PIs on December 29, 2020


For Works First Published in the U.S. in 2020

Following are the categories for the Private Eye Writers of America 2021 Shamus Awards for private eye novels and short stories first published in the United States in 2020. 

DEADLINE: Submissions must be postmarked by March 31, 2021. No extensions can be given.

Shamus Committees will forward their final lists to the Shamus Awards Chair by May 31, 2021.

ELIGIBILITY: Eligible works must feature as a main character a person paid for investigative work but not employed for that work by a unit of government. These include traditionally licensed private investigators, lawyers and reporters who conduct their own investigations, and others who function as hired private agents. These do not include law enforcement officers, other government employees, or amateur, uncompensated sleuths.

Independently published books (Indies) may be submitted to the Best Original Paperback P.I. Novel category.

SUBMISSIONS; Please send one copy of each eligible work to ALL members of the appropriate committee. Do not submit a book to more than one committee.

There is no application fee and no submission form, as a simple cover letter will suffice. If you have any questions, please e-mail Gay Toltl Kinman at before submitting.

BEST HARDCOVER P.I. NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction published in hardcover in 2020 that is not the author’s first published P.I. novel.

BEST FIRST P.I. NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction, in hardcover or paperback, first published in 2020 and that is the author’s first published novel featuring a private investigator as a main character. 

BEST ORIGINAL PAPERBACK P.I. NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction first published as a paperback original in 2020 that is not the author’s first P.I. novel. Paperback reprints of previously published novels are not eligible

BEST P.I. SHORT STORY: A work of fiction of 20,000 words or fewer.  Stories first published in an earlier year and reprinted in a magazine, anthology or collection in 2020 are not eligible.

2021 SHAMUS Awards Committees


Chair: Colleen Collins, 2255 Sheridan Blvd., Unit C #293, Edgewater  CO  80214

2          O’Neil DeNoux, 428 West 25th Avenue, Covington   LA 70433

3          Dennis Palumbo, 15300 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 402, Sherman Oaks  CA 91403


Chair: April Kelly, POB 5, Ooltewah  TN 37363

2          James D. F. Hannah, 3821 Nanz Avenue, apt. 4, Louisville  KY 40207

3          Clive E. Rosengren, 2030 Brookhurst St., apt. 3, Medford   OR 97504


Chair: Mary Keliikoa, 759 South 74th Place, Ridgefield  WA 98642

2          David Thompson, 17402 Wild Rose Lane, Huntington Beach  CA 92649

3          Matt Coyle, 3939 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego  CA 92117


Chair:  Andrew S. McAleer, 121 Follen Road, Lexington  MA 02421

2          Ron Katz, 2085 Cowper St., Palo Alto  CA 94301

3          Kevin Burton Smith, 3053 Rancho Vista #116, Palmdale  CA 93551

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