I'll be posting some of the more intriguing, controversial or
just plain fun comments of the current poll throughout the month,
to entertain and provoke.
The final results will be posted here
and utilized in our Trivia Section
The question was:
Who is the best private
eye of the nineties (so far)?
More specifically, I guess what
I mean is the best private eye active in the nineties.
List your five favorites, and feel free to comment on your choices.
And don't limit yourself to series heroes or even books. Eyes
from film, television and any other media are also welcome.
I only voted for two, Nick Stefanos, by George Pellecanos and
D.K.A. by Gores. Maybe I'm too cranky, but I don't like much
of what's being written right now. I prefer Spade, Marlowe, Hammer,
Wolfe & Goodwin, the Op, etc. Most of the 90's writing I've
read has been too soft or too hard. Leonard is still entertaining,
but not necessarily writing about Private Investigators, per
se. I do like Pellecanos, but mainly for the authentic DC atmosphere.
The one D.K.A. novel of the 90's was very enjoyable, but was
actually a 70's novel in disguise.
I finally worked up the guts a few months ago to tell
Bob Crais, an acquaitance of mine, that I was in love with Elvis
and thought he should ditch that Lucy broad. He told me I wasn't
the first woman to suggest it.
I don't read many P.I. books (my tastes range more to police
procedurals) - but Grafton's books are on my do-not-miss list...
Mike Hammer talked and said things that I wish I had the courage
to say when someone acts rude toward me.
James Lee Burke is a modern master, and Robicheaux is a great
character who develops and changes as the series progresses.
Easy Rawlins....well, odd to say since I'm an early-30s Montrealer,
but I can really relate to this character! Yep, I like his attitudes,
his reactions to his surroundings and the situations he finds
himself in. And if you ever have a poll for best supporting character
Mouse wins hands-down! McCone 'cause Muller allows her time to
get older, change and adapt, and yet still retain a sharp, sharp
edge to her. Burke because for a half-dozen books this guy was
the spooky, gritty, tough yet realistic avenging angel with but
one plan in mind; I admire this kind of dedication and single-mindedness!
Nate Heller 'cause I still read the damn books, even if I (as
a rule) dislike historicals and don't share the Spillane fixation
In the most recent books in the series, Amsterdam policemen
Gripstra & De Gier (and the Commisaris) have retired and
Of course if we could REALLY stretch it I'd put Patricia Cornwell's
Scarpetta at number 1.
I hesitate to include Joe Gores's "DKA file"
novels in the P.I. category. However, this is one of the best
crime series of the past twenty-five years. Loren Estleman's
Amos Walker series should be included, but unfortunately there
are only five choices.
Easy Rawlins is great, but I thought the rules were P.I. active
in the nineties. Isn't Easy post-WWII L.A.? (Yep. See my comments
below-.ed). While Henri Castaing is (or was) a police inspector
and not a P.I., in Freeling's last book about him A Dwarf Kingdom,
he is retired, and therefore should qualify as a P.I. -- or am
I stretching it? (I think so-.ed)
Who the hell is Pepe Carvahlo? Spenser rules!
Who's Pepe Carvalho?!? The best, that's all. Don't give me
Spenser, infograffiti! What can I say? "Walkies!!!".
You wouln't catch Pepe with a pooch, that's for damn sure.
Burke walks the walk and talks the talk, a hard man who
takes no prisoners. Sharman's the best the Brits have at the
moment, an egomaniac who doesn't give a s**t.
Estleman's Amos Walker, Block's Matt Scudder and Pronzini's
Nameless are the most obvious ones to me. After that it gets
muddled a bit.
From Mari Hall:
Sorry, I'll probably wish I had listed others, as Nate Heller
(Max Allan Collins) is probably my all-time fave (because I like
the history aspect also) but he's sure not a '90's guy. And then
there's a lot of characters I like who don't fit the "private
eye" mould because they don't have a license, but are true
"investigators" rather than just LOL stumbles on body,
nosy, end of story.
From Reed Andrus
I would also include Wyatt Storme as #6.