Cheap Thrills
The Year 2003 in Review


Here's the results for the 2003 Cheap Thrill Awards, as nominated, discussed, debated and otherwise squabbled about by the readers of this site.

THE BEST P.I. BOOK AWARD
For Books First Published in 2003

  • Dynamite Road by Andrew Klavan.
  • City of Strangers by John Shannon. Another year, another great book.
  • Lost Light by Michael Connelly
  • Blood Is the Sky by Steve Hamilton
  • Lost Light by Michael Connelly
  • The Killing of the Tinkers by Ken Bruen
  • Black Maps by Peter Spiegelmant
  • Tribeca Blues
  • The Light of Day by Graham Swift. An unlikely choice, I know, by a Booker-winning author, but it's crawled under my skin like no other book this year. The echoes of Hammett's The Maltese Falcon in this sad, slow-burn character study of a private eye waiting, waiting, waiting are undeniable, but merely the icing on the cake. Lift the lid and check out the works.
  • Soul Circus by George Pelecanos.
  • Lost Light by Michael Connelly.
  • Persuader by Lee Child
  • Dynamite Road took me by surprise, since I really hated True Crime.
  • Underkill, by Leonard Chang. I loved this book and have you seen the guy's website? Great essay on why he loves detective fiction.
    Yeah, it's a great essay. It's also on this site, with Leonard's permission.
  • Soul Circus by Pelecanos and Hard as Nails by Dan Simmons. I really can't say which was better, it depends on the mood you're in and what you're looking for that day. So I'll vote for both.
  • The Guards by Ken Bruen.
  • Poison Blonde by Loren D. Estleman

THE OTHER BEST P.I. BOOK AWARD
For Books You Read in 2003, Regardless of When They Were First Published

  • The Light of Day by Graham Swift
  • The Rockford Files #1: The Unfortunate Replacement by Mike Jahn. A guilty pleasure.Yeah, it's a novelization of the pilot, but it's actually even a little better than what eventually aired.. They must have based it on the shooting script, not the finished product.
  • The Drowning Pool by Ross Macdonald - utterly timeless and heartbreaking.
  • Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler.
  • Shrink Rap by Robert B. Parker or North of Nowhere by Steve Hamilton.
  • You Can Die Trying by Gar Anthony Haywood.
  • My Gun Is Quick (the opening page can never be duplicated). There were no good books in 2003.
  • Oh, Murderer Mine -- Norbert Davis, Top of the Heap -- A.A. Fair, No Chance in Hell -- Nick Quarry, Third on a Seesaw -- Neil MacNeil.
  • Tribeca Blues by Jim Fusilli.
  • The Guards by Ken Bruen
  • Dynamite Road by Andrew Klavan
  • Westerfield's Chain by Jack Clark.
  • Katy Munger's PI Casey Jones In Better Off Dead.
  • Rising Dog by Vince Kohler.
  • Blood is the Sky by Steve Hamilton.
  • Sally's in the Alley by Norbert Davis.
  • Gar Anthony Haywood's Fear of the Dark (Aaron Gunner).
  • I'll stick with Chang -- Over the Shoulder, the first Allan Choice novel.
  • Sunset Limited by James Lee Burke. I know, I know. Robicheaux isn't a PI. But he should be.
  • I reread The Big Sleep and Farewell, My Lovely, but if you mean read FOR THE FIRST TIME in 2003, I'd say Steve Hamilton's A Cold Day in Paradise.
  • The Drowning Pool by Ross Macdonald - utterly timeless and heartbreaking.

THE BEST P.I. SHORT STORY AWARD
For Stories Published in 2003 (and please list where they appeared)

  • Mike Doogan's "War Can Be Murder." A no-longer-young Dashiell Hammett shows the kids how to make like a real detective, while stationed in Alaska, in this entertaining "what if?" tale. It's already appeared in three "Year-end Best-of" collections.
  • "Get Miles Away" by Dave White in Thrilling Detective (just pop the cheque in the post, Dave) - nice to see a young P.I. instead of all these auld blokes hogging the limelight.
  • "Flight of the..." er, I mean, "Just Like Sui.." I mean, "Get Miles Away" by Dave White.
  • "Diamond Dogs" by Ray Banks. Hands down.
  • "I'm No Killer" by Allan Guthrie, in Hardluck Stories Zine.
  • "Get Miles Away" by Dave White.
  • "Ramadan" by Tom Sweeney in Hardbroiled; "Munchies" by Jack Bludis in Hardbroiled; "The Watcher on Sin Street" by Dan Sontup in Fedora II; "Expect Consequences" by O'Neil De Noux in Fedora II; "The Iberville Mistress" by O'Neil De Noux in Flesh & Blood: Guilty As Sin.
  • Jim Winter's PI In "Full Moon Boogie."
  • "Ramadan" by Tom Sweeney in Hardbroiled, "Secondhand Hearts" by Doug Al
    lyn in EQMM.
  • "War Can Be Murder" by Mike Doogan (The Mysterious North)
  • Anything by Stephen D. Rogers. The man can write.
  • "Raiding the Pantry" by Kenneth Thornton Samuels in Hardbroiled. What? What do you mean "conflict of interest?!?" Oh, all right. Actually, also from Hardbroiled, it's Tom Sweeney's "Ramadan," truly an award-worthy performance. One of the best PI stories, in any medium, short or long, from 2003.
  • "Get Miles Away" by Dave White in Thrilling Detective (just pop the cheque in the post, Dave) - nice to see a young P.I. instead of all these auld blokes hogging the limelight.

BEST P.I. SHORT STORY COLLECTION
Published in 2003

  • Hardbroiled, edited by Michael Bracken
  • Hardbroiled, edited by Michael Bracken
  • Hardbroiled or Scam and Eggs by Janet Dawson.
  • Enough Rope by Lawrence Block.
  • Multi-author anthology: Hardbroiled edited by Michael Bracken. Single-author collection: Cuddy Plus One by Jeremiah Healy.

BEST P.I. NON-FICTION OR REFERENCE WORK
Published in 2003

  • Tailing Philip Marlowe by Brian and Bonnie Olson. It's probably of dubious interest if you don't live in Los Angeles, but I love this guidebook, which points out the highlights of Marlowe's (and Chandler's) stomping grounds.
  • Definitely not Jeffrey Marks' ass-kissing Atomic Renaissance. Poorly researched, poorly written and he takes gratuitous pot shots at authors, books and genres he shows no sign of having ever read. Likle, you don't have to slam Ross Macdonald to praise Margaret Millar.
  • A Stranger No More by Tom Nolan. (Okay, so the Ross Macdonald biograpy came out a couple years back. I plead a slow reader.)
  • The new entries in Thrilling Detective for 2003.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
The Best New P.I. in 2003, in Any Medium

  • Scott Weiss and Jim Bishop. Klavan's Dynamite Road just blew me away, and now I find out these two will return? Count me in!
  • Can't say that any spring to mind.
  • Me.
  • John March from Black Maps.
  • Morris Ronald Boyette in "Feel the Pain" by Michael Bracken in Flesh & Blood: Guilty As Sin.
    (Michael Bracken)
  • Peter Crestfallen by Simon Wood.
  • George Webb by Graham Swift. Imagine if a P.I. novel won a Booker!
  • Allan Choice (do you see a trend?)
  • Peter Spiegelman's John March.
  • Ummmm. Wait, no. Holy shit, I can't think of anyone.
  • Obviously that's Errol Pucinski from "Raiding the Pantry" in . . . okay, okay, never mind. Was "Ramadan" Zak Haddad's debut? If so, Zak Haddad.
  • Can't say that any spring to mind.

SLIM PICKINGS: THE BEST P.I. FILM/TV SHOW AWARD
For Films/Shows First Released in 2003

  • Uh, was there one?
  • Karen Sisco has a great P.I. show in there struggling to get out.
  • Monk on ABC Just because it was original
  • Monk.
  • Everything sucked.
  • Lifetime's Wild Card. Barely boiled at all, more like gently poached, but occasionally quite entertaining.
  • Las Vegas.
  • TV Series, Adrian Monk And Clint Eastwood In Bloodwork.
  • The new promo for Monk, featuring a re-written theme from Shaft, is more witty and clever than any of the episodes I've seen lately. Sharona must die.
  • Wild Card.
  • There must have been something, but I can't think of it. How about Alias? That's a pretty darn good show.
  • Out of Time with Denzel Washington.
  • It doesn't really count, but I guess I'd have to say Karen Sisco on the basis of her old man (appropriately played by Robert Forster Banyon fame).
    And what ABC did to this smart, classy show is the REAL crime.

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
The Worst P.I. Film/TV Shows Released in 2003

  • Knee High, P.I. When big bad things happen to little people.
  • Nice Guy Eddie. With Ricky Tomlinson in it, it should have been a lot better. Instead it degenerated into family crises and cross-dressing.
  • LA Dragnet. The first season 'Dragnet' with Ed O'Neil wasn't bad but then this new season happened and you have to ask, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING???
    Thank god it wasn't a P.I. show.
  • Las Vegas -- the NBC series -- so bad it's great -- Jimmy Caan doing Brodrick Crawford.
  • Hollywood Homicide --the sorriest collection of cop/buddy flick cliches ever compiled; all the actors looked sedated (which maybe explains how they ended up in this flick).
  • Charlie's Angels Two. The neck of everyone involved with this turkey is what should be subjected to full throttle.
  • Wild Card? Gimme a break!
  • Las Vegas? Makes me yearn for Dan Tanna!
  • Hollywood Homicide isn't really P.I., but I agree that it was pretty terrible.
  • What happened to Danny Glover's show?
  • Monk. I HATE that show.
  • Wild Card walked a thin and tricky line between family drama and mystery, but usually managed to balance things well. But recent episodes have focused far too heavily on the domestic side of things. Sorry, but the kids themselves (and Zoe's lovelife) just aren't that interesting. and if you ask me, that school teacher she's hanging around with is just a little too creepy -- he looks like a child abuser.
  • The second Charlie's Angels movie.

DRAWN THAT WAY
BEST P.I. COMIC BOOK or GRAPHIC NOVEL OF 2003

  • Max Hamm, Fairy Tale Detective. Once upon a time there was a dead-on spoof of private eyes. And children's literature.
  • Odd Jobs. Always Odd Jobs. Keeps getting better. More. And faster, please. I'm jonesing.
  • Batman: Nine Lives, featuring Dick Grayson, P.I.
  • Mad Clown.
  • Chris Mills and Joe Staton's The Dingus. For some reason I dig the bad guy...
    (Kevin Burton Smith)
  • Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe.
  • Chris Mills and Joe Staton's The Dingus.
  • Odd Jobs. This site's secret weapon.
  • I'm interested in picking up Tardi's THE BLOODY STREETS OF PARIS, the English-language edition of Nestor Burma. What I've seen looks real good. And Max Hamm is scream. (Sorry about the email, the mail-to thing didn't work for me (I think))
    If anyone has problems submitting the form (fer instance, AOL and MSN users) just cut and paste your answers in a regular e-mail to me.
  • Dare I mention Hip Flask?
  • Brian Azzarello's take on Batman is shaping up pretty nicely and it started in '03.
  • This may be ten years late but can anything beat Sin City?
  • Raymond Chandler's Marlowe: A Trilogy of Crime by several different writers and artists adapting "Goldfish," "Trouble Is My Business," and "The Pencil" into comics form.

BEST MYSTERY MAG, WEB SITE, E-ZINE, LIST-SERV or NEWSGROUP
Fiction or Non-Fiction, In Print or On-Line Besides This One, Natch!

  • Plots With Guns.
  • Mystery Scene.
  • Bullet. Where the hell did this come from?
  • Out of the new ones, I'd definitely go with Bullet Magazine, but Hardluck Stories and Noir Originals still float my proverbial boat.
  • Plots With Guns has really rocked this year.
  • Mystery Scene.
  • Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.
  • Futures.
  • Yeah, EQ and Alfred Hitchcock take it a lot on the chin, but they continually print damn good stories by damn good writers, and have for decades. In terms of quality and consistency, no other magazine or even web site (sorry, Kev) comes close.
  • For non-fiction, Noir Originals kicks serious butt.
  • Mad Clown, Plotswithguns
  • The Short Mystery Fiction Society's Yahoo Group
    (Michael Bracken)
  • Crimestalker Casebook (Mystery Mag), Plots With Guns (Ezine), Short Fiction Mystery Society (List-Serv).
  • On line: PWG, Print: EQMM (extra credit for the cool covers).
  • Mystery Scene.
  • 4MA. The best book discussions I've found on the 'net.
  • Plots With Guns.
  • Hands down it's Plots with Guns.
  • Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine is still top-of-the-line, and I love those new pulpy covers!

HOW MUCH LONGER?
Most Anxiously Awaited P.I. Event

  • The release of -- hopefully -- Ross Macdonald's last Lew Archer book. The notes for it have recently been discovered, and it would be a blast to find someone who could complete the novel, or at least whip the notes into decent shape. Okay, Poodle Springs by Parker (after Chandler) wasn't the greatest P.I. novel ever written, but it sure was fascinating. And supposedly, Macdonald left an entire outline, not just four chapters....
  • Still waiting on a decent Block adaptation. This whole Walk Through The Tombstones thing is beginning to make my hair fall out.
  • Crais's Forgotten Man.
  • Spenser meeting Jesse Stone in Back Story; it went off surprisingly well. Next, the rumor is Spenser will meet Sunny Randall. Is Parker falling victim to Guest Star Syndrome?
  • The New Mike Hammer Novel by the great Mickey Spilane.
  • The Scudder /Tombstone movie.
  • Denzel Washington in anither Easy Rawlings flick (Or, is it too late?).
  • The return of Ben Perkins.
  • The next Dan Simmons novel and Lehane's next Kenzie-Gennaro.
  • Where the heck is Ivan Monk?
  • A successful, gimmick-free PI show on TV. And the return of Ms. Tree.

REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
What gives you the most hope for the future of the P.I.?

  • Quality writing by the guys (and gals) who I know will be big some day soon. And, of course, those ezine editors who maintain that quality, making the free stuff a hell of a lot better than some of the mainstream novelists.
  • The sheer quality of work currently being produced in the field. This might actually be the genre's Golden Age.
  • A publisher asked to see my manuscript. (Well, that makes me cheerful, anyway.)
  • Young writers and old writers who continue to push the envelope.
  • The fact that the P.I. is still written and discussed today, with new writers emerging via the e-zines.
  • Me and the new Mike Hammer novel by the great Mickey Spillane.
  • Great new writers! Cool small presses!
  • Small presses that aren't afraid to publish P.I. anthologies.
  • Yeah, small publishers doing P.I. collections are cool. Now if only they'd pay their contributors...
  • The tidal wave of new crime and P.I. books coming out from some of our best writers in the next few months -- Estleman, Pelecanos, Crais, Gorman, Block, Westlake, McBain, Mosley, even that guy Kevin likes, Swan...
  • All the e-zines on the net. Damn you guys are good.
  • Increasing short story markets, especially on the 'Net. Thogh I DO wish there were a few more paper-and-ink magazines taking crime fiction.

THE ASHES, ASHES, WE ALL FALL DOWN AWARD
Biggest Disappointment

  • Most self-published P.I. books continue to be poorly written, barely edited and shabbily produced.
  • Robert Crais' The Last Detective. After L.A. Requiem, merely very good is a giant step down.
  • The demise of HandHeldCrime.
  • The demise of Handheld Crime. They paid me money. I liked that a lot.
  • Milan Jacovich went MIA this year.
  • What felt like a watered down The Last Detective by Crais.
  • I tried to read Rat City by Curt Colbert this year, but couldn't make it past the cheesy Grade B dialogue, see?
  • Just about all the current works on the book shelves.
  • The Cat in the Hat.
    ???
  • The demise of HandHeld Crime.
  • Fedora II. After Fedora and Hardbroiled, it's a giant step down.
  • "Beating On The Border" on Thrilling Detective Web Site. While I would be the last person to say you should censor what you publish or base your decisions on what may offend readers, next time you publish something like this summer's "Beating On The Border," perhaps you'd consider putting a warning label on it. Something along the lines of, "WARNING: Neanderthal attitudes expressed in this story may be considered offensive" would help. I mean, c'mon: "...Carolyn's actions seemed the kind that led all too often to a violent end." What's next? A story in which a rape victim "deserved" it because she was wearing "provocative" clothing? Sheesh."
    (Alberta Bond)
  • The terrible news that Alex McKnight would be getting a girlfriend. Hmmm, maybe "Most Anxiously Awaited Event" should be hoping that he'll dump her.
  • Robert Crais' The Last Detective was a disappointment. And the delaying of his next book isn't a good sign.
  • HandHeld Crime is now gone. And what the hell happened to The Third Degree?
  • The demise of HandHeldCrime.

NO FUTURE, NO FUTURE
Most Depressing P.I. Trend.

  • British PI writers playing American, thinking we won't notice the difference.
    Like Chandler?
  • The loss of Handheld Crime.
  • The rise of spam and the hijacking of some once respectable lists by excessive BSP and self-interest groups (ie: self-publishers, magazine publishers and politics) and the persecution complex these whiners exhibit whenever it's pointed out. This fuss with the MWA is a good example. And spineless moderators who allow it to happen, or even participate.
  • Series writers doing standalones and returning to series in less than top form.
  • In most of the books today the P.I.'s are all people that have regular 9-5 jobs and are suddenly thrust into the world of private investigations.
  • The shrinkage of mid-list authors due to media consolidations.
  • At the risk of sounding sexist, why is it that more and more female PIs of a certain age seem to be doing things strictly for personal reasons? Whatever happened to paying clients?
  • Creating an ever more colorful individual to be a P.I. (wears a mohawk, owns a pot-bellied pig, works as a bike messenger, etc., ad nauseum).
  • Lack of PI shows on TV. And when they make them, they're always heavily gimmicked and (deservedly) don't last long.

THE "MICROWAVED CAT" AWARD
Most Nauseating Cover Design

  • The Dark Side by David J. Sherman - I'm generally not drawn to covers with staring eyes.
  • Every thing beginning with the year 1970 and on..........
  • Any issue of FUTURES.
  • Five Star's for THE CHESTER DRUM CASEBOOK. Not really awful, but quite a disappointment, considering how long it took to get a Chet Drum short story collection
    published.

THE "THAT''S MORE LIKE IT" AWARD
Cover Designs That Don't Suck

  • Uglytown keep surpassing themselves.
  • I like the recent pulp-style covers Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine has been using recently.
  • The photo on the cover of Graham Swift's The Light of Day is rather striking.
  • Bangkok 8 by John Burdett - full of atmosphere. I can taste the chili sauce.
  • The rerelease of Dashiell Hammets The Dain Curse form Ventage Crime and the Mike Hammer Collection vol 1&2.
  • The Tempest by Juan Manuel de Prada (Overlook Press); also all the Henning Mankell books from Black Lizard.
  • EQMM Pulp covers.
  • Anything by UglyTown.
  • Pretty much anything by Uglytown.
  • Cuddy Plus One. I really LOVE those Crippen & Landru covers.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE GOOD BOOKS GONE?
P.I. Classics Too Long Out of Print

  • As always, Interface by Joe Gores and Texas Wind by James Reasoner.
  • Rob Kantner's Ben Perkins series. Letting it go out of print is nothing short of criminal.
  • Pronzini's Nameless, Rob Kantner, Jonathan Valin.
  • John Lutz' Carver series.
  • Too many to type.
  • Ron Goulart's John Easy series.
  • Wade Miller's PI Max Thursday.
  • Deming's Manville Moon series.
  • Bill Pronzini's Nameless series (it took some work to track these all down in used bookstores, even).
  • They finally brought back Norbert Davis' Doan and Carstairs. Now let's see 'em dig up Bart Spicer's Carney Wilde series.
  • Gotta stick with Texas Wind by James Reasoner. James, think POD!
    Good call. Backlists are perfect for this format.

HIT US WITH YOUR BEST SHOT!
Who should take a stab at the P.I. genre?

  • Stephen King. And no haunted cars, space aliens or werewolves -- I'd love to see him do a straight private eye story.
  • Nick Hornsby.
  • Richard Price. (Shaft doesn't count.)
  • The Coen Brothers. C'mon, guys, you know you want to...
  • Definitely the Coens - they've been teasing us too long. I'd like to see Ian Rankin have a go, too.
  • Grisham could have fun with it.
  • Ed McBain, Quentin Tarantino.
  • Me.
  • Tom Waits.
    Which reminds me, I just got a Christmas card from a hooker in Minneapolis...
  • Stephen J. Cannell. Bring back Rockford in a novel!
  • Harry Crews.
  • Stephen King would be fun.
  • I'm going to cheat a bit here. I'd like to see Paul Bishop put Ramon Quintana (from the previously Shamus-nominated short story "Quint and the Braceros") front and center in a novel of his own. (He made a cameo appearance in a police procedural, Tequila Mockingbird.)
    Actually, Paul Bishop allegedly did write a P.I. novel, 1991's Chapel of the Ravens.
  • I like the suggestion of Stephen King, even if he were to throw in a few horror trappings.
  • Tom Clancy could really go to town with a high-tech PI who had worldwide reach.

MIX-AND-MATCH
Best Cross-Genre P.I.

  • Sure, it's a spoof, but Frank Cammuso's Max Hamm perfectly splices the hard-boiled P.I. genre and Mother Goose.
  • Dixon Hill, 1940s San Fran P.I. as often role-played by his biggest fan, Star Trek's Capt. Jean-Luc Picard.
  • blah blah blah
  • Scott Morrison's Old West Pinkerton operative Mike Segretto. What'd you say? Damn, nothing gets by you, does it. Okay, Max Allan Colins's Nate Heller, combining historical fiction with mystery fiction.

WELCOME TO THE FOLD
Mystery Fiction Character Who Should Become a P.I.

  • I was going to say Harry Bosch, but that's been taken care of Thanks, Mike.
  • TV's Karen Sisco. She should quit the Feds, and go to work for her dad, release her inner Rockford.
  • Inspector Rebus, even though it'll never happen.
  • Sam Jones. She's got enough brass already to be one, and there's nothing cozy about her.
  • Chili Palmer, James Bond.
  • blah blah blah.
  • Marty Quirk -- lose the shield and lighten up, Marty...
  • Munch from Law and Order: SVU.
  • Nina Zero by Robert Eversz.
  • Frank Belson (after a nasty divorce).
  • Robin Light in Barbara Block's series. She pretty much acts as an unlicensed PI anyway. (And don't let the fact that she owns a pet store fool you - these books are not cozies.)
  • Without question it should be Dave Robicheaux.
  • Frankly, I'm not a big fan of cops or secret agent characters becoming PI's. I didn't even watch the Matt Helm series because the character was a PI on TV rather than a counterspy. And my biggest hope is that Harry Bosch gets back into law enforcement

TOO LONG IN THE WASTELAND
P.I.s Missing In Action

  • Dan Fortune
  • Shell Scott
  • Trace by Warren Murphy.
  • Nick Stefanos. C'mon, George, stop teasing us with these walk-on roles and cameos.
  • I'd kinda like to see The Sleeze Brothers return. And Crumley can't write fast enough.
  • Zen Moses, though I understand she's about to return.
  • Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro. Here's hoping they start bugging Lehane's brain again.
  • John Francis Cuddy.
  • Race Williams (Shoot 'em first ask questions later. What a style).
  • Earl Emerson's Thomas Black.
  • Mary Kelly, Leo Waterman, Thomas Black, Leo Haig (couldn't resist).
  • Marsh Tanner, Ivan Monk, Leo Waterman, Callahan Garrity, Leo Haggerty, Aaron Gunner. Geez, this looks almost exactly like my list last year.
  • Milan Jacovich--where was Les Roberts' annual Cleveland mystery?
  • Is Michael Stone ever going to write another Streeter mystery? And Lehane needs to get another Kenzie-Gennaro novel written. It's been too long.
  • I'm told he's put this character to rest, but I've still gotta say Michael Collins's Dan Fortune.

SO LONG, IT'S BEEN GOOD TO KNOW YOU
We'll Miss Them...

  • Warren Zevon. il miglior fabbro.
  • Art Carney, for his portrayal of Ira Wells in The Late Show, alone.
  • Dan Sontup, short story writer extraordinaire.
  • Manuel Vazquez Montalban, the creator of the great Spanish eye Pepe Carvalho.
  • Bruce Cook (aka Bruce Alexander), creator of Chicano private eye Chico Cervantes.
  • So many... Warren Zevon, Robert Palmer, Barry White, even Charles Bronson... But then, I still haven't composed myself after Strummer's death. Also, Victor Gischler's Hardboiled Dixie column in PWG.
  • Warren Zevon - The man was hardboiled as hell sometimes.
  • Yeah, Charles Bronson. He even had some P.I. credentials -- he played Mike Kovac in TV's Man With a Camera back in the fifties and Ross Thomas' Philip St. Ives in the 1976 release St. Ives.
  • Johnny Cash, John Ritter, Roger Clemens, Wil McDonough.
  • ALL THE GREATS.
  • Dan Sontup.
    He sure knew bullshit when he saw it.
  • Warren Zevon.
  • Buddy Ebsen.
  • Dan Sontup, a fine writer and a fine correspondent. He'll be missed.

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS...
(And check out our suggestions...)

  • That Maltese Falcon thingie. A stack of original pulp magazines. A pack of pornographic playing cards. Oh yeah, and one of those match tree things Bogart had in The Maltese Falcon. And Odd Jobs.
  • A subscription to Crimestalker Casebook.
  • SEX and a good P.I. novel ( did I mention sex)
  • That new Chandler collection of comics.
  • Cool anthologies, $100k gift card for Borders...
  • The Thin Man DVD collection, though I'm not sure it exists yet.
  • A hundred-room castle so I'd have enough room to shelf my books properly. At least, I hope I would. Barring that, would be willing to settle for Robert Redford. :)
  • A winning lottery ticket would start things out nicely. Following that up with all the first edition Parker novels by Richard Stark.
  • Ten more paying markets short mystery that are actually published on paper instead of the 'Net.

HEY! YOU FORGOT TO ASK...
Make up your own damn questions!

  • What happen to writing just for the love of writing and money? Why dose every writer want to create the great american novel?
  • Who should play Travis McGee in a McGee movie? Who should play Meyer?
  • Fantasy football -- what PIs would you like to see team up on a case? (my vote--Angie Gennaro and Hercule Poirot)

SPILL THE BEANS
Further Comments, Suggestions, etc.

  • This is my favorite time of year. I know when the Thrillies come out, college basketball is under way, and it's only a few more months before the big dogs, Connelly, Crais, Lehane, and Pelecanos put out more stuff worth reading. Here's hoping they keep pushing the envelope. And those that follow them continue to push the envelope even further with their own characters.
    (Dave White)
    .
  • (Shamless kissing up ) I think you guys have a great E-Zine. Keep it up.
    (michael simpson from  here)
    .
  • "You know, every year, some pinhead starts whining that none of the PI's are fedora-wearing alcoholic loaners with no personality, and quite frankly, it's getting really, really old. If you want pale imitations of Mike Hammer, Phillip Marlowe, and the Op, go watch a freaking cartoon and quit whining because writers actually fleshed out their characters. Most of us read PI fiction for actual interesting characters, not because we like having lame voiceovers in our heads while some cardboard cutout walks down wet streets at night speaking in bad similes. Get real and get with it!"
    (Jim Winter)
    .
  • "Is it so hard to type the word S-P-O-I-L-E-R? I had a book by a favorite author ruined this year because some yahoo on a listserv revealed something major that the reader was definitely not supposed to know before starting the book (and, once you knew it, it was impossible to forget it) without bothering to post a spoiler warning. There should be a special circle of hell for the people who do this."
    (Jan Long)
    .
  • "What's the deal with everyone living in the past? Sure Chandler, Hammett, Macdonald and all of the other legends in this genre are great but they're no longer relevant. Today's writers, Lehane, Pelecanos, Crais, and too many others to name are doing exciting things and not getting the credit they deserve. Why is that? They're writing about the here and now and in my language. Give them a break they deserve better than most people are willing to give."
    (Glenn Guimond from Indianapolis, IN)

ABOVE AND BEYOND
Staff Members and Contributors of the Year

  • Gerald So
    The fiction meister!
    .
  • Dale Stoyer
    The only man with possibly just as much garbage in his brain as me. Fortunately, he shares.

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"...and I'll tell you right out that I'm a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk."

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