Here are the results, such as they are, for the 2005 Cheap Thrill Awards.

THE BEST P.I. BOOK AWARD
For Books First Published in 2005

  • Mike Harrison's All Shook Up.
  • Still River by Harry Hunsicker
  • All the Flowers Are Dying - Lawrence Block
  • Dangerous Games by John Shannon.
  • School Days by Robert B. Parker.
  • Secret Dead Men by Dwayne Schzwyrzywrjnscki (sp?)
    (It's "Duane." The rest, you're on your own -- even his latest publisher got it wrong on the spine of the first editions of his latest, The Wheelman.)
  • School Days by Robert B. Parker and Tonight I Said Goodbye by Koryta.
  • The James Deans by Reed Farrel Coleman.
  • First Kill by Michael Kronenwetter
  • All the Flowers Are Dying by Lawrence Block, which was a serial killer novel that actually surprised me!
  • Already Dead by Charlie Huston
  • Dangerous Games by Joe Shannon
    (Um, it's "John")
  • Cinnamon Kiss by Walter Mosley
  • The Black Angel, John Connolly
  • Howard Engel's Memory Game blew my mind.
  • All The Flowers Are Dying by Lawrence Block
  • Still River by Harry Hunsicker
  • School Days by Robert Parker
  • Tonight I Said Goodbye - Michael Koryta
  • The Maltese Falcon
    Uh, not exactly a 2005 book, is it?

THE OTHER BEST P.I. BOOK AWARD
For Books You Read in 2005, Regardless of When They Were First Published

  • Hell's Half Acre by Will Christopher Baer
  • Hell to Pay by George Pelecanos
  • Philip Marlowe's Guide to Life. Over-priced, but what a hoot. Like the man says, the stocking stuffer of the year.
  • Terminal Island by John Shannon.
  • Block's All the Flowers Are Dying - it shouldn't have worked, but it did - wonderfully.
  • First Kill by Michael Kronenwetter
  • Black Maps by Peter Spiegelman.
  • The Sugar House by Laura Lippman
  • The Blue Hammer by Ross Macdonald.
  • Trouble Is What I Do by Rob Kantner
  • Oblivion by Peter Abrahams
  • The Long Goodbye, Chandler
  • Dead Skip by Joe Gores
  • Interface by Joe Gores
  • Barracuda, by Ray Embrack
  • Eye of the Beholder by Marc Behm
  • Trouble is What I do by Rob Kantner
  • Majic Man - Max Allan Collins
  • big sleep

THE BEST P.I. SHORT STORY AWARD
For Stories Published in 2005 (and please list where they appeared)

  • "Consider It Lit" by Stephen D. Rogers.
    (Hey, that's one of ours!)
  • "Dirty Barry" by Ray Banks (Thrilling Detective)
  • "The Reflecting Eye" (Charlie Parker, Nocturnes)
  • "Dan Fortune Has His Say" (Summer 2005, Thrilling Detective Web Site)
    C'mon, folks, it doesn't HAVE to be from this site.
  • "Sex & Violins" by Rob Kantner ( from Trouble is What I Do)
  • The Last Case of Hilly Palmer - Duane Swierczynski (Adventure of the Missing Detective)
  • goldfish raymond chandler

BEST P.I. SHORT STORY COLLECTION OR ANTHOLOGY
Published in 2005

  • Phineas Poe: Kiss Me, Judas, Penny Dreadful & Hell's Half Acre by Will Christopher Baer
  • Ben's Schutz's long-overdue Mary, Mary, Shut the Door.
  • Trouble Is What I Do with Ben Perkins..
  • The Adventure of the Missing Detective and 19 of the Year's Finest Crime and Mystery Stories... because it's the only anthology I've read... and well, because I'm in it and it's the first time so I'm allowed.
    (Dave White)
  • Trouble Is What I Do by Rob Kantner.
  • Trouble Is What I Do (2005) by Rob Kantner
  • Trouble is What I Do by Rob Kantner
  • The Adventure of the Missing Detective - not exclusively P.I. but still the best of the year
  • trouble is my business

BEST P.I. NON-FICTION OR REFERENCE WORK
Published in 2005

  • The Novels of Ross Macdonald by Miuchael Kreyling
  • James Dean and Elizabeth Foxwell's The Robert B. Parker Companion
    (James Dean?)
  • Flashgun Casey Crime Photographer by Cox and Siegal
  • The Nero Wolfe Files, Marvin Kaye
  • jimmy the wags (by patrick picciarelli)
    (Nominated by Patrick Picciarelli who, presumably, does use capital letters in his books)

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
The Best New P.I. in 2005, in Any Medium

  • Michael Kronenwetter's Hank Berlin, introduced in First Kill.
  • Mike Harrison's All Shook Up.
    (introducing Calgary eye Eddie Dancer -editor)
  • Harry Hunsicker's Hank Oswald
  • Lincoln Perry (Michael Koryta)
  • Gay Perry from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
  • Joe Pitt (vampire detective in Charlie Huston's Already Dead)
  • Lee Henry Oswald
  • Lincoln Perry & Joe Pritchard - Tonight I Said Goodbye - Michael Koryta
  • godwulf manuscript

SLIM PICKINGS: THE BEST P.I. FILM/TV SHOW AWARD
For P.I. Films/Shows First Released in 2005

  • Parco, PI (which is, I suppose, a sure sign that I'm in need of professional help)
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, by a long shot. Maybe Shane Black should turn to television -- we need a Rockford for the Naughty Aughties.
  • Veronica Mars.
  • I wish we'd seen a little more of ABC's Eyes.
  • Eyes had great potential and was quickly cancelled. Has the new one, In Justice, which is also promising, been cancelled yet?
  • Veronica Mars, hands down.
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (outstanding!)
  • Stone Cold -does that count?
  • Eyes
  • Veronica Mars
  • eyes

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
The Worst P.I. Film/TV Shows Released in 2005

  • Domino.
  • Domino.
  • Definitely Domino.A good example of why writers shouldn't do drugs.
  • Vegas? Is there any other remotely cool TV show out there besides this?
    (Vegas? If this titfest were any less cool, it would have the original Rat Pack in it. Shallow, balding, aging drunken frat boys chasing scantily clad bimbos was never "cool" -- even in 1964. James Caan's character should shoot 'em all and start over.)
  • sonny spoon

WHAT THEY SHOULD BE THINKING
P.I. TV Shows and Movies That SHOULD Be on DVD

  • Mannix
  • Harry O.
  • The Outsider
  • Hickey and Boggs.
  • Is Harry O on DVD?
    (Nope)
  • Mannix.
  • Surfside 6
  • Ten-Speed and BrownShoe.
  • City of Angels.
  • Vengeance Unlimited, Marlowe (James Garner), Third Degree Burn (Treat Williams, Virginia Madsen)
  • Spencer for Hire -- NOT the lame TV movies.
  • Powers Boothe Marlowe ( In the UK)
  • You Never Can Tell (pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease)
  • Harry O
  • The last season (the good one) of 77 Sunset Strip, and the Darren McGavin Mike Hammer. The Stacey Keech one is pure crap.
  • Harry O and Hickey and Boggs
  • poodle springs

SPINNING WHEELS GOT TO GO ROUND
Best PI Movie or TV Show Released on DVD in 2005

  • The Thin Man? Night Moves? Rockford? There were so many great ones this year...
  • The Dark Corner.
  • The Rockford Files.
  • The Rockford Files.
  • Night Moves.
  • Definitely Rockford.
  • Season One of Veronica Mars (okay, I'm nuts about the girl)
  • Veronica Mars (wow, is this good)
  • Nero Wolfe Series 2
  • Night Moves
  • rockford files

DRAWN THAT WAY
Best P.I. Comic Book or Graphic Novel of 2005

  • Femme Noir qualifies, I think
  • I'm not quite sure when it came out, but the Dodge's Bullets graphic novel was pretty cool, a sort of young Rockford -- with guitars.

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

  • Sarah Weinman's joint.
  • Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind - Sarah Wienman
  • Thug Lit made a nasty debut in 2005.
  • Yeah, Confessions of an Idiosynctratic Mind.
  • 4MA
  • Mystery Scene, Crimespree.
  • January Magazine's Rap Sheet.
  • DetecToday
  • Mystery Scene
  • Bullets and Beer
  • Crime Spree
  • NOIR Zine
  • TypePad
  • Bullets & Beer
  • Stop You're Killing Me

BEST SINGLE AUTHOR WEB SITE
Best Site Focusing on a Single P.I. Author

  • Larry Block's is always fun.
  • Lawrence Block's site. Take a bow, Maggie.
  • Bob Ames's Bullets and Beer: The Spenser Homepage
  • Laura Lippman's
  • www.pulpnoir.com--the Charlie Huston website
  • John Connolly's new look website with Q & A.
  • Robert Crais website
  • Flagler Street - Brett Halliday's Mike Shayne - great cover gallery

BEST TIP OF THE FEDORA
Best Cameo or Mention of a PI in Books,
TV, Movies, Songs -- Pop Culture, Basically

  • Since the DVD came out in 2005, how about The Wire's Bunk reading a Tess Monaghan novel in one scene?
  • Who's the cat who won't cop out when there's danger all about...?
  • The fictional detective series, complete with Gold Medal-like covers, included in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
  • Chroniques by Jean-Patrick Manchette (unfortunately not translated in English)

LIFE IN THE OLD DOG YET
Long-running P.I. Series That Continue to Entertain

  • Jack Reacher, even if he's not technically a PI.
  • Spenser.
  • Easy Rawlins.
  • Does Easy Rawlins really qualify as "long-running"? I'd say Bill Pronzini's Nameless, and forget about that puffed up old fart and his annoying girlfriend and muscle-bound Uncle Tom from Boston.
  • Spenser.
  • Spenser.
  • Matt Scudder.
  • Easy Rawlins' latest case, Cinnamon Kiss, was great.
  • Spenser, despite the girlfriend and the dog
  • Matt Scudder created by Lawrence Block.
  • Elvis Cole by Robert Crais
  • Matthew Scudder series by Lawrence Block
  • Spenser ( still got it), Elvis Cole
  • Matt Scudder - Lawrence Block

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

  • The long-awaited follow-up to Northcoa... I mean, er, Ice Run.
  • The next Alex McKnight book (not due until Oct 06 - ARGH!!)
  • The return of Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar.
  • The publication of Ray Banks' Saturday's Child, a Cal Innes novel.
  • Spenser investigates Susan's murder.
    (suggested by Graeme from Kingsclere, England)
  • For me? FEDORA IV. For everybody else? Don't know.
    (Michael Bracken, editor of Fedora IV)
  • The next Shell Scott book.
  • Waiting for the new Ben Perkins novel
  • Next Shell Scott novel

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

  • Gischler finally dragged Conner Samson back out into the daylight.
  • Ray Banks, Jim Winter, Duane Swierczynski, Ken Bruen.
  • John Connolly -- taking it in a new direction.
  • Authors such as George P. Pelecanos, Michael Connelly, the HARD CASE CRIME books, etc.
  • The success of Hardcase Crime
  • Hard Case Crime - Michael Koryta - Andrew Klaven - Steve Hamilton

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

  • There are a few series whose authors -- or maybe the publishers -- just don't know when to quit.
    Examples?
  • The lack of political diversity. At one time you had Spillane and Prather on the right, MacDonald and Gault on the left, and a whole of others in between. Now they all seem the same like TV anchormen.
    Blow-dried hair and nothing to say?
  • Learning Dan Simmons planse no more Joe Kurtz novels.
  • The sheer number of English and Creative writing majors to become PIs is just ridiculous. They say to write what they know, but I think these writers should learn something else.

THE "MICROWAVED CAT" AWARD
Most Nauseating Cover Design

  • I'd say Northcoast Shakedown, but I'm biased. So I'll go with my annual Evanovich nomination for Eleven on Top.
    (Jim from Cincinnati, suburb of Covington, KY)

  • The cover for the recent reprint of the first Honey West book, This Girl for Hire. A lame idea, poorly exectued. It looks like someone cranked it out during their coffee break. You would have thought Hard Case Crime would have raised the bar for other publishers -- especially mining the pulp reprint vein -- but this is pathetic.
  • I hate the blank covers, put some pictures on'em.

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

  • The new UK Chandler editions from Penguin.
  • HardCase Crime
  • The Girl with the Long Green Heart by Lawrence Block, Hard Case Crime
  • Hard Case Crime covers - Adventure of the Missing Detective

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

  • Interface by Joe Gores
  • MacDonald's The Barbarous Coast.
  • The Ben Perkins and John Cuddy series
  • Peter Corris' Cliff Hardy series... at least in North America.
  • The Ed Rivers books by Talmage Powell.
  • Marvin H Albert's Tony Rome books ( In the UK)
  • Dan Fortune by Dennis Lynds
  • George Harmon Coxe's stuff
  • Rob Kantner's Ben Perkins series ( good stuff!)
  • Miami Mayhem (Tony Rome) - Lady in Cement - My Kind of Game - all by Marvin H Albert

SAY WHAT?
Best Foreign-Language Dick, Past or Present

  • Nestor Burma by Leo Malet.
  • Rene Griffon, the returning French vet in Didier Daeninckx's A Very Profitable War who tries to work a case set against post-WWI France.
  • Hector Shayne by Paco Taibo.
  • Inspector Mario Conde created by Leonardo Padura
    He's a private eye?

HE/SHE'S WITH ME
Best Significant Other of a P.I.

  • Edie Hart, Peter Gunn's main squeeze.
  • Nora Charles.
  • I always dug Beth from The Rockford Files. Did they ever actually get it on during the show?
  • Trudy Monk. For someone who died before the series even began, her presence is surely felt.
  • Yeah, I'm gonna go Susan Silverman
    (A brave choice, but a good one, if you ask me. She may annoy now, but her introduction re-wrote the rules for significant others in the genre. In fact, I think there may be a little Susan in Sharon and Tess and Kinsey and V.I., whether they ackniwledge it or not).
  • Mannix's expendable girlfriends. They come to him for help, they sleep together, they get killed. Perfect...
  • Angel in The Rockford Files -- just kidding.
    (Well, they were cellmates, weren't they? Maybe they couldn't find a wooden chair...)
  • Parker created by Donald E. Westlake
    Huh?
  • Susan Silverman : Hey man. He loves her!
  • Julie Wyant - P.I. Scott Weiss - Dynamite Road and Shotgun Alley - Andrew Klavan

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

  • Milan Jacovich, where are you?
  • Paging Leo Haggerty, paging Leo Haggerty...
  • Ivan Monk, Marsh Tanner, Callahan Garrity, Aaron Gunner, Leo Waterman, Milan Jacovich...
  • Harry Stoner.
  • Nate Heller
  • Dashiell Hammett created by Joe Gores
    The good (maybe) news is that Gores is reportedly working on a Sam Spade novel. Maybe Hammett will drop by...
  • Shell Scott, Scott Jordan, Peter Chambers, Matt Helm, Trace, Rafferty
  • Shell Scott
  • Chester Drum, Streeter, Tom Bethany

BLOWING IN THE WIND
Most Over-rated Modern P.I. Writer

  • Dennis Lehane.
  • James Crumley. Sure, The Last Good Kiss and The Wrong Case were great. But what has he done for us lately? An occasionally coherent plot (or even an occasionally coherent detective) would be nice.
  • Steve Hamilton.
  • Robert B. Parker's Spenser has become a too-thinly-veiled, cliche-spouting version of the author. The recent books are not mysteries but drawn-out dances between Spenser and the revealed-too-early culprits.
    Read School Daze, get back to me...
  • Steve Hamilton -- can't see it at all.
  • Henning Mankell
  • I gotta go with Parker here. Even if it's because he is about the only one that rates at all.
  • Andrew Vaachs
  • Max Allan Collins
    Huh? He can't even find a publisher for his series -- and he's over-rated?
  • Robert B. Parker

THE ANSWER, MY FRIEND...
Most Under-rated Modern P.I. Writer (Or at least deserving of more sales)

  • John Shannon.
  • Robert Parker. Sure, he sells tons of books, and he's so prolific that he makes it look too damn easy, but too many people overlook the fact he's so good at what he does, a true master of the craft. A writer's writer.
  • Reed Farrel Coleman
  • Max Allan Collins
  • Couldn't agree more about Collins. Forget this Road to Palookaville and movie and TV tie-in stuff -- bring back Heller. Or even Ms. Tree.
    (Jim in Indianapolis)
  • Howard Engel.
  • John Shannon
  • James Sallis
  • Ray Embrack
  • Rob Kantner (Check him out.You won't be disappointed)
  • Max Allan Collins

SO LONG, IT'S BEEN GOOD TO KNOW YOU
We'll Miss Them...
By the way, this one ain't a popularity contest... if someone's already nominated someone you really don't have to re-nominate them.

  • Dennis Lynds.
  • Ed McBain/Evan Hunter
  • Chris LeDoux.
  • Arthur Miller
  • Dana Elcar
  • Don Adams
  • GOLD MEDAL BOOKS

ALL I WANTED FOR CHRISTMAS (and didn't get) IS...
(And check out our suggestions...)

  • Well, I would say Alex McKnight, but then I might look, you know, obsessed or something...
  • The Rockford Files on DVD
  • A Killer Is Loose by Gil Brewer
  • A Barnes & Noble gift card (ha-ha)...a new Parker novel by Richard Stark, or a least a new reprint of an out of print one.

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

  • How about DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ? I'd been avoiding Liz Evans' Grace Smith series after reading umpty-million things comparing her to Evanovich, whose books I've gone off in a big way. This year, I finally read the first one (WHO KILLED MARILYN MONROE?), and what a pleasant surprise it turned out to be. Unless the series takes a radical turn in later books (ie, main character becomes less and less competent, books don't have a plot), I can't imagine why anyone would compare these to the Stephanie Plum series.
    (Jan Long)

  • Ten Best Crime Novels Forever
    Have patience. Our next P.I. poll should be a doozy...

SPILL THE BEANS
Further Thoughts...

  • "I've been doing some thinking this year. I've noticed in my own writing that I tend to drop characters proofreaders say sound like Hawk, even when they really don't. I think the psycho sidekick has sat in the fridge years past its expiration date and has gotten so stale and rotten that even mold turns up its nose. It's like a mildly amusing joke that's been told waaaay too many times. Time for this particular PI convention to pack its bags and go buy a condo in Boca. Stick a fork in the psycho pal. It's done."
    (Jim from Cincinnati, suburb of Covington, KY)

  • "Secret Dead Men could be nominated for the sheer novelty of it, but the execution was wonderful too. A great read."
    (Jennifer Colt)

  • "All right, who's the clueless moron that listed Steve Hamilton as the
    most overrated writer?"

  • "Gee, chill out. Steve Hamilton isn't a bad writer -- he's just not a particularly interesting one."
    (Keith from Windsor)

  • "Just needed to get some mention of Charlie Huston into your poll results--I'll bet a vampire detective will meet with some derision, but Joe Pitt is the real deal. Huston was one of my real "finds" last year and his Hank Thompson books don't really fit into the P.I. genre. Scott Phillips was another, whose work is more crime-oriented than P.I., but also worthy of mention. His Cottonwood was one of the best books I read all year."
    (Craig from Plymouth, MN)

  • "How about a discussion about novels which are essential for the noir/hard boiled genre and are must-reads for all fans?"
    (Claus from Germany)

  • "Wow. Looking at all the questions makes me wonder what the heck I did last year. 2005: If you remember it, you weren't there."

  • "Check out two books by Michael Simon: Dirty Sally (penguin) and Body Scissors (viking). Not P.I., but gritty with "mean streets" feel and great characters.
    (Joe Whiteman from Richmond, VA)

  • "Keep watching the duos: Lincoln Perry and Joe Pritchard (Tonight I Said Goodbye - Michael Koryta), Elvis & Joe (Robert Crais), Myron & Win (Harlan Coben), Scott Weiss and Jim Bishop (both Dynamite Road, and Shotgun Alley - Andrew Klavan). That's the future of the PI, at least for now.

    Robert B Parker. Spenser. Hawk. Sorry. Played out.

    Steve Hamilton. Those who don't get it...well, you just don't get it.

    Max Allan Collins has to be the most under-rated author in the mystery/crime field. There is no good reason why the Nate Heller series is not in print in it's entirety. At the very least: True Crime, True Detective, Neon Mirage, and Stolen Away.
    (Joe Whiteman from Richmond, VA)

  • "The assertion that those who don't "get" Steve Hamilton just don't "get it" is just the sort of smug, lazy logic that bothers me about Hamilton's books. The plots and characters are okay on the surface, but they just don't stand up to closer examination -- they're cardboard constructs, paper dolls going through the motions, without any real sense that there's anyone really there. Doesn't mean they're necessarily bad books -- they're entertaining enough to be good quick reads but I find them just a little shallow. But that may be part of their appeal."
    (Keith from Windsor)

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