Just when you thought it was safe!!!

Yep, The "Thrillies" are finally back, the most notoriously bogus (but hopefully fun) awards in all of Mysterydom.

Remember, the Thrillies aren't really awards at all -- there are no actual statuettes of nude eunuchs or tedious presentations or anything else. All they really are are an opinion poll; a quick post-mortem snapshot of what readers of this site (and people who accidentally googled themselves here while searching for pictures of goats in rubber boots) think of the status of P.I. fiction over the last year.

The results follow.

Agree? Disagree? Don't get steamed. It's not too late -- you, too, can make a difference.

Vote now, and vote often! Feel free to skip stuff, or come back another day.

There's no need to be formal about it (it ain't that kinda site), but feel free to discuss your favourites and not-so favourites. And please feel free to disagree with other people's opinions. Just keep it clean, and no hitting below the belt.

And as always we'll also hopefully be culling comments from our newsletter, Rude Wit and Raucous Laughter, and the Thrilling Detective Blog.

For Books First Published in 2007

  • Big City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover
  • The Wrong Kind of Blood by Declan Hughes
  • The Dark Streets by John Shannon
  • Crooked Little Vein - Ellis
  • Big City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover
  • Deadly Beloved - Max Allan Collins
  • Red Cat by Peter Spiegelman
  • When One Man Dies - David White
  • Big City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover
  • The Color of Blood by Declan Hughes
  • The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz (Is that John Lutz' daughter?)
  • Donkey Punch by Ray Banks
  • Couldn't find any!
  • The Watchman by Robert Crais
  • The Dark Streets by Shannon, The Watchman by Crais, Blonde Faith by Mosley.
  • T is for Trespass
  • The Color of Blood by Declan Hughes
  • Another Man's World by Joe Stein
  • Robert B. Parker - Blue Screen (the meeting of the two previously introduced characters is a great idea)
  • Blonde Faith
  • Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich

For Books You Read in 2007, Regardless of When They Were First Published

  • First Drop by Zoe Sharp
  • The Wrong Kind of Blood by Declan Hughes
  • Blonde Faith - Walter Mosely
  • Soulpatch by Reed Farrel Coleman
  • T is for Trespass
  • A Drink Before the War
  • Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane, 2003
  • Saturday's Child by Ray Banks
  • Donkey Punch by Ray Banks (come on, look at the title)
  • Red Sky Lament by Edward Wright (John Ray Horn finally comes alive!)
  • Mr. Clarinet by Nick Stone
  • Valediction by Robert B Parker
  • Robert Crais - The Monkey's Raincoat, John D. MacDonald - Nightmare in Pink
  • Copper River by William Kent Krueger
  • Blonde Faith
  • A Cold Day in Paradise by Steve Hamilton

The P.I. Book That Grabbed You Hardest in 2007

  • The Wrong Kind of Blood by Declan Hughes
  • Big City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover
  • Blonde Faith by Walter Mosley
  • Scott Free by Vin Packer
  • The Color of Blood by Declan Hughes
  • Song of Innocence by Richard Aleas

For Stories Published in 2007 (and please list who wrote it and where it appeared)

  • "A Saving Grace" by Patricia Abbott
  • The story I enjoyed most this year was "The Smoking Gun of Elizabeth Henze" by Michael Collins but I'm not sure if it was 2006 or 2007. It must have been one of his last stories published, anyway.
  • "Snowbell in Hell" by Josh Lanyon
  • "Needle" - Loren Estleman. Amos Walker rules!
  • Stephen D. Rogers - "At the End of the Rainbow" (Shred of Evidence, Sept.07)

Published in 2007

  • The Archer Files by Ross Macdonald
  • The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps (not all P.I., but what the hey)
  • Archer Files
  • The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps: The Best Crime Stories from the Pulps During Their Golden Age--The '20s, '30s & '40s

Published in 2007

The Best New P.I. in 2007, in Any Medium

  • Michael Westen, TV's Burn Notice
  • Ray Dudgeon in Big City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover
  • Chercover's Ray Dudgeon
  • Michael Westen of Burn Notice
  • Max Mingus from Mr. Clarinet by Nick Stone
  • Tom Schuyler (if he is new)

The Best P.I.s of the Nineties... and Beyond

  • If Easy Rawlins counts, my vote goes to him.
  • Easy Rawlins
  • Jack Reacher
  • Tie between Dave Robicheaux (James Lee Burke) & Reacher (Lee Child)
  • Ray Dudgeon
  • Patrick Kenzie
  • Easy Rawlins
  • A Season in Purgatory by Dominick Dunne
  • Spenser, who else? Elvis Cole comes close, but Spenser definitely beats Mike Hammer
  • Easy Rawlins
  • Mike Hammer
    Uh, the nineteen nineties...


For Films/Shows First Released in 2007

  • Burn Notice
  • Gone Baby Gone Not since Huston's The Maltese Falcon has a director made his debut with a P.I. film as good as this. Not that Affleck's first shot at directing is THAT good, but it does come alarmingly close.
  • Gone Baby Gone
  • Andy Barker, Private Eye
  • Gone Baby Gone
  • Burn Notice. It may be fluff, but it's fun fluff.
  • Burn Notice
  • Gone Baby Gone
  • Gone Baby Gone
  • Cracker
  • None that registered (at least not here on the other side of the world)

The Worst P.I. Film/TV Shows Released in 2007

  • Pushing Daisies (It has a P.I. in it.  I'm not sure it's a P.I. show, but if they're calling it one, it's a bad one.)
  • Every single gimmicky, supernatural P.I. show that crashed and burned this year.
  • Psych!
  • Raines
  • Burn Zone... too silly
  • Sexina: Popstar P.I. - still sorry I watched the first three minutes of this film(?) in the first case.
  • Monk!

P.I. TV Shows and Movies That SHOULD Be on DVD

  • Vengeance Unlimited
  • Marlowe (James Garner)
  • Andy Barker P.I. (Why not?)
    For those of you plugged in, the Barker series was available on iTunes.
  • Mannix (but I think it may end up being better in memory)
  • T.H.E. Cat
  • What kind of world is it when all three seasons of crap like Hardcastle & MacCormick are available on disc but we can't get even one season of Harry O?
  • Shannon's Deal with Jamey Sheridan
  • Thief
  • Fallen Angels and City of Angels
  • All those not on dvd so that they are more easily to access.
  • The Brasher Doubloon. It's supposedly dreadful -- and the stills I've seen seem to confirm it -- but it's the only Chandler adaptation I've never seen.
  • The Torchy Blane movies!!!
  • How about DVD versions of the straight-to-cable flicks with Gil Gerard as Jonathan Valin's Harry Stoner and Eric Roberts as Arthur Lyons' Jake Asch? The latter would surely make dough -- it features a small bit by Johnny Depp.
  • Spenser For Hire, Barnaby Jones, Veronica Clare, Dan August, Longstreet, Mike Hammer, Cannon, M Squad

Best PI Movie or TV Show Released on DVD in 2007

  • Vincent Series 1
  • Yep, definitely Vincent. The best P.I. show in years.
  • Kidnapped. Well, it was sort of like a P.I. show.
  • The Closer
    It's hard to make a case for her as a P.I. -- she's a cop.
  • The Spenser Movie Collection

Best P.I. Comic Book or Graphic Novel of 2007

  • A disappointing year. Lapham's Hitchcockian thriller Silverfish rocked, but it wasn't a P.I. book. Samurai Noir was a one-off joke that didn't need to be told twice. Hawaiian Dick supposedly returned, but I haven't seen it yet. And Ms. Tree came back from the dead, but in prose form.
  • The Dark Goodbye (Rausch/Marrafino)
  • Kane vol 6 - Partners (Grist)
  • The Black Diamond Detective Agency
  • I forgot about that one! Black Diamond by Eddie Campbell.
  • Scalped by Jason Aaron and R. M. Guerra (though lead character is an undercover FBI agent)

Fiction or Non-Fiction, In Print or On-Line Besides This One, Natch!

  • Shred of Evidence
  • ThugLit
  • EQMM, especially if they're serious about their new Black Mask section.
  • Stop, You're Killing Me
  • Murdaland
  • Well in this case I wouldn't know one ;)

Best One-Liner in P.I. Fiction (read or seen) of 2007

  • "Go. Sleep badly. Any questions, hesitate to call."
    -- Gay Perry (
    Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
  • "Maybe Pete really was turning over a new leaf, before he smoked it, that is."
    Another Man's World, Joe Stein
  • "That shooting gave me an appetite, somebody pass me the potatoes."
    -- Grandma Mazur,
    One for the Money, Janet Evanovich
  • Anything philosophical that Spenser says...

The Best Thing I Ever Learned from a P.I. Novel This Year Was...

  • Don't wait for the other guy to shoot first.
  • The policeman may not be your friend.
  • Blondes can be deadly.
  • If outnumbered 50-1, shoot out lights, climb to top of stairs, lay on floor, arms outstretched, gun barrels peering over top stair, kill 'em all one by one.
  • How to spot someone O.D'ing on heroin.
  • "Don't worry, Jim. Something will turn up. It always does."
    -- Lance White
  • The more you annoy people, the faster they will try to get rid of you, at most times providing you with what you want - hehehe...
  • "Have a shinob as a friend" -- Kent Krueger

Most Anxiously Awaited P.I. Event

  • The movie of The Guards
  • Jack Reacher movie, Spirit movie.
  • The Equalizer movie! And the just-announced Big City, Bad Blood movie.
  • Tommy Lee Jones' upcoming Robicheaux flick.
  • Joe Gores' Maltese Falcon "prequel."
  • The next great P. I. movie -- Gone Baby Gone has to have had some effect, right?
  • The next Spenser novel - hope they improve again.
  • The follow-up to Chinatown and The Two Jakes. C'mon, Jack -- that's what's on my bucket list.
  • The return of Joe R Lansdale's Hap Collins & Leonard Pine

What gives you the most hope for the future of the P.I.?

  • "The fact that the P.I. has lasted seven or eight decades already. I don't think people will ever tire of seeing the detached outsider come in and resolve situations for better or worse."
    (Gerald So)
  • Jack Taylor and Ray Dudgeon
  • All newly introduced P.I. of the last decades: the environment changes but the character (mostly) stays.
  • The regular posts and blogs announcing the death of the P.I. genre, and the fact that very few peple generally take them seriously.
  • Nothing...Network and Cable TV have dropped the ball on the genre.
    There are books out there...

Biggest Disappointment

  • Higher-priced, less satisfying reads.
  • Jacked-up, bloodsucker Canadian prices, even though our dollar is kicking American butt.
    I swear I didn't write this.
  • The "death" of Easy Rawlins.
  • This year's Spenser novel wasn't up to Parker's last few.
  • The cancellation of the P.I.-themed Bloody Words convention.
  • When One Man Dies - David White
  • Mickey Spillane's Dead Street.
  • Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis.
  • Nobody seemed to notice how great Gone Baby Gone was.
  • The high price of the self-published new Ben Perkins book -- and that it evidently HAD to be self-published.
  • Song of Innocence not allowed to be nominated for BEST NOVEL because it's "self-published."
  • Mosley bumping off Easy Rawling. Fuck, that pisses me off!
  • Rebel Island by Rick Riordan (he should just quit writing adult books and focus on the kids
  • Just finished When One Man Dies, and I'd agree it's a disappointment. It kept me reading, but was filled with all sorts of awkward, clumsy writing. The blurbs on the back cover and interior had me expecting a whole lot more from this one.
  • Too little hard-boiled e-books available, especially the old ones.
  • Lack of really good bonus features (and lame packaging) of the Chinatown and The Two Jakes set. These flicks deserve better.
  • Too few books/info available in UK

Most Depressing P.I. Trend

  • Once again, everyone ignored John Shannon, one of the genre's best, most challenging and consistent writers.
  • The annual spate of "The P.I. is dead" sermons by people who wouldn't know a good P.I. novel if it pissed on their leg.
  • Everybody saying the P.I. novel is dead.
  • Frank "Sin City, 300" Miller writing the new Marlowe film. If they're going to get a comic book writer they could get do a lot better than Miller. How about Ed Brubaker or Michael Lark or Max Allan Collins? Or even Chuck Dixon? I'm not sure anyone over the age of twelve really wants a Marlowe heading down the mean streets with an Uzi, dressed in a leather thong while some fourteen year old hottie flashes her boobs around.
  • The high price of the self-published new Ben Perkins book -- and that it evidently HAD to be self-published.
  • The inability of TV producers (and possibly the writers) to create a P.I. without gimmicks or "issues." Ex-spies, werewolves, vampires, compulsive disorders, psychic abilities, undercover cops, time-travellers...
  • Badly done Spenser-clones
  • Far out side-kicks.
  • Monk, Psyche, Bones
    Might I suggest reading a book?

Most Lame Cover Design

  • Almost any POD book. These covers aren't so much designed as spit out.
  • Those covers for the Monk tie-ins.
  • Philip Craig's genrally dreadful Vineyard books.

Cover Designs That Don't Suck

  • Anything by Hard Case, although it would be nice if they'd loosen up the format a bit. The nostalgia tank of good will will eventually run dry.
  • The Last Striptease by Michael Wiley.
  • Chicago Way by Michael Harvey.
  • Red Cat by Peter Spiegelman
  • Song of Innocence by Aleas
  • The Color of Blood - Declan Hughes
  • Red Cat
  • hard case crime books, refreshingly old school

The Darkest P.I. Novel This Year

  • Songs of Innocence by Richard Aleas.
  • The "everything went black" ending of Blonde Faith.
  • Priest - Ken Bruen
  • Red Cat
  • The Color of Blood by Hughes. Evidently it's black.
  • Mr. Clarinet by Nick Stone

P.I. Classics FINALLY Back in Print

  • All the classic short stories from 30ies, 40ties, etc.
  • A collection of Norbert Davis' stories.

What itch of yours hasn't been scratched?

  • A really, really good Canadian private eye that isn't just an American in disguise who can pronounce "out" correctly.
  • A truly hardboiled Canadian detective novel.
  • An ex-Gitmo interrogator turns PI.
  • A P.I. TV show (or mini-series) as well done as The Wire or The Sopranos.
  • A decent mystery bookstore within driving distance.
  • A classic character (Hammer, Spenser, etc.) meeting a rookie P.I. and teaching him/her.
  • The renewal of the Ving Rhames version of "Kojak" series as a P.I. (USA Network makes me sick!)

We'll Miss Them...

  • Richard S. Prather, Shell Scott's creator.
  • HardLuck Crime
  • Barry Morse, Robert Urich...


  • The Last Striptease by Michael Wiley
  • My two front teeth.
  • Supercar dvd.
  • Honey West.
  • All 50's and 60's detective films and TV-shows I'll never get to see.
  • Mannix!

How should we mark our 10th anniversary?
(Coming this April?)

  • How about a "Where are They Now?" essay covering some of the P.I. writers who've dropped below radar since 1998?
    A good idea. Any volunteers?
  • Lobster tails, chamgagne.
  • More fiction.
  • Free admission!
  • Free champagne sent to users
  • A whole lot more stories!
  • Whatever you do, do NOT do a make-over. I just figured out where stuff is -- don't change it around.
  • Open up an online used-books store with shipping to Europe
  • Access for UK buyers to get hold of books.
  • Contact Dave White at radio station KSAV.org, he's a TV classics guru!

Further Comments, Suggestions, etc.

  • There's WAY to many adds on your site. It's starting to look like a porno site.
    Sorry, sir, I'll refund your money right away. Who should I make the cheque out to?

  • Another great cover, another great issue.

  • When One Man Dies was a disappointment? I'd love to hear more about that.
    And the P.I. genre isn't dead, it just lives in the bad area of town, and they wouldn't have it any other way. It's a tired statement though, as is "It's a great novel...for a crime novel"
    P.S. I love Psych. Really really do. I haven't liked Monk in a long time though.

  • Shutter Island may not qualify as a P.I. story, but the protagonist Thinks he's one, so I think it counts. Besides, I love that you don't find out the real story until the last page.

  • "As I have mentioned in two e-mails so far, Benny Hill portrayed the detective Hugo Dill in the action comedy WHO DONE IT, with Frankie Layne as the gorgeous femme fatale."
    -- Anthony Durrant
    Two? I think this makes seven. But the page has been up for a while now, possible for at least half a year.

  • Love your site, it is a great starting point for catching up with all the authors, characters and books I don't know (yet). keep going!
    -- Helmut from Graz, Austria

  • "Today's TV climate has made me sick to my stomach, for the last few years, I've endeavored to shore up my DVD collection, only to learn how little the industry cares about my demographic as it relates to shows from my era that I enjoyed immensely, the garbage they have on video shelves now, like Monk and Psyche, when performers like William Conrad, Buddy Ebsen, Craig Stevens, James Franciscus, Stacy Keach and Robert Urich to name just a few, don't have their contributions made available to the general public in this format.

    It's disgusting. I am so grateful to have run across this website, it would appear that you all have a more open-minded and expansive forum for people who've never really lost their love for the characterization that has become a non-issue with modern television, the private eye.

    These were among the first shows that I fell in love with as a kid:
    Peter Gunn, Honey West, Richard Diamond, Cannon, Barnaby Jones, Dan August, Mike Hammer, Veronica Clare, among a host of others, and many of them are not available on home video, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is a CRIME!

    I hope that justice is served by these great actors, actresses and their many fans (yes, some of us are still alive and very much aware of our surroundings), and these fabulous shows of yesteryear will be released on DVD in my lifetime. Thanks for letting me vent, as I will endeavor to become a fixture at this website."

    I feel your pain, but there are plenty of old TV shows that have made it to DVD, as well. Rockford, for one, and there's also Peter Gunn, Magnum P.I., Banacek, etc. The road to DVD release is paved with good intentions, but commercial potential, legal rights and even whether anyone can even find the damn stuff are also factors in what does -- or doesn't -- get released.
    Several of the ones you mentoned are in fact already available, or are scheduled for release in the near -- or relatively near -- future.
    Your best bet is to keep an eye on our
    Word on the Street page which also features a list of upcoming DVD and Blu-ray releases.

By the way, if your browser/e-mail account doesn't support mail-to forms, or you haven't configured them properly, just e-mail me your answers, suggestions and comments.

You can also subscribe to our newsletter, Rude Wit and Raucous Laughter, or visit the new Thrilling Detective Blog, from which we'll also be culling comments.

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