Thrilling Detective Web Site January 1999


Cheap Thrills
The Year in Review

Welcome to The Thrilling Detective Web Site Poll.
Generally, we try to poll you on a different topic every month or so.
The final results are posted, and utilized in our Trivia Section as well.

This month, we're trying something a bit different. We're going to look back on 1998, and see what you think. Feel free to answer any or all the questions, or invent your own categories. In January, I'll tabulate the results, and present our first ever Cheap Thrills Awards, affectionately known for the last few minutes as "The Thrillies."

Vote now, and vote often! I know it's long, so feel free to skip stuff, or come back another day. But please, no ballot stuffing....

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

Oh, and thanks to contributor Rick Robinson for suggesting several of the categories. I owe him big-time..

You can vote for anything here, or nominate something else...

THE BEST P.I. NOVEL AWARD
For Books First Published in 1998

  • Boobytrap by Bill Pronzini
  • Flying Blind by Max Allan Collins
  • Everybody Dies by Lawrence Block
  • Witness to Evil by Janet Dawson
  • Crossroad Blues by Ace Atkins
  • Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis LeHane
  • Catfish Cafe by Earl Emerson
  • A Bitter Feast by S.J. Rozan
  • A Cold Day in Paradise by Steve Hamilton
  • Cast in Stone by G.M. Ford
  • One False Move by Harlan Coben
  • Cases by Joe Gores. Thanks, Santa, for a real treat!
  • While Other People Sleep by Marcia Muller
  • Widowers Two-Step by Rick Riordan
  • Definitely Everybody Dies by Block. Block ups the ante, and once again plays for keeps. And just in time, too. His best since 8,000,000 Ways To Die.
  • Practice to Deceive by David Housewright. This is by default. It was the only '98 PI novel I read. I'm always a year or so behind.
  • Four to Score by Janet Evanovich
  • A Shoot in Cleveland by Les Roberts
  • Alive and Kicking by John Milne (Brit P.I. Jimmy Jenner's long-awaited return)
  • I'd have to go with Everybody Dies

THE OTHER BEST P.I. NOVEL AWARD
For Books You Read Last Year, Regardless of When They Were First Published

  • Down on Ponce by Fred Willard
  • A Firing Offense by George Pellecanos
  • Cold Case by Linda Barnes
  • Atlanta Deathwatch (Hardman #1) by Ralph Dennis -- I'm so glad I discovered this series.
  • Diamond Head by Charles Knief
  • Lawrence Block's When The Sacred Ginmill Closes. Probably the most heartbreaking P.I. novel I've ever read. (And can anyone tell me whether the title song, by Dave von Ronk, is generally available?)
    It's out there somewhere, I'm sure, but I haven't found it yet...- ed.
  • Solomon's Vineyard by Jonathan Latimer. Thanks to Rara-Avis, I discovered this gem. This is one of the best P.I. books of all time!
  • Ashes By Now, the first of Mark Timlin's Sharman books I've found on this side of the Atlantic.
  • Night Passage by Robert B. Parker
  • I re-read Hammett's The Dain Curse, but if I'm limited to books I read for the first time in '98, I'd have to say Jonathan Latimer's The Dead Can't Care.
  • James Sallis' The Black Hornet
  • I reread all the Fletch novels by Gregory Mcdonald, but Fletch Won is the best in the series.

THE BEST P.I. SHORT STORY AWARD
For Stories Published in 1998

  • "The Highbinders" by Bill Pronzini (Quincannon & Carpenter, Professional Detective Services)
  • Haven't read anything that could be considered short in 10 years. Have I been missing anything?
  • "A Favor For Sam" by Robert J. Randisi (Private Eyes)
  • "Nicole" by Ted Fitzgerald (Private Eyes)
  • "Hit and Run" by Christopher Mills (Thrilling Detective Web Site)
  • "As Dark As Christmas Gets" by Lawrence Block (December 1998, EQMM)
  • "Looking for David" by Lawrence Block (February 1998, EQMM)
  • "The Night I Died" by Mickey Spillane; Al Collins's "Kaddish for the Kid" and Michael Collins's "Can Shoot" are close runners-up.
  • "Hit and Run" by Christopher Mills (Honest! These aren't ringers!)

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: THE BEST FIRST P.I. NOVEL AWARD
For Novels First Published in 1998

  • You're kidding, right?
  • Ummmm....hey, I'm still working on books published thirty years ago.
  • Murder At Bent Elbow by Kate Bryan, featuring Maggie Maguire.
  • John Wessel. Watch this guy!
  • Rick Riordan. This guy's good.
  • Didn't read any of '98's first novels. Haven't even gotten around to '97's.
  • ...errr...

THE BEST P.I. FILM AWARD
For Films First Released in 1998

  • Now I know you are.
  • Twilight. Finely-drawn character study by masters.
  • Nope! Don't think there were any!
  • I haven't seen Zero Effect or Twilight... were there others?
  • Zero Effect for sure. I'd love to see a follow-up. Good quirky fun.
  • Twilight. No car chases, no buildings blowing up, no Bruce Willis. Just a slow burn character study. Great characters, great acting, great script. A detective film for adults.
  • Yep, I concur. Twilight.
  • Out Of Sight: I don't know if this qualifies, but it was a great flick.
    Yep, it was, but it wasn't a P.I. flick.-ed.
  • The Big Liebowski is the best PI film I've seen in a while (of course, Zero Effect's sitting in my VCR right now, cued up and ready to go, so I may revise that statement in a couple of hours). Jeff "The Dude" Liebowski is definitely acting as a PI ( an
    unlicensed one, granted) in this story, and the film's chock-full of Chandler homages. Hell, The Dude's even got his own psychotic sidekick in the form of John Goodman's character. It's a great flick...Oh, I also watched Dirty Work today, and although I got a few laughs out of it ("You didn't count on my army of loyal prostitutes!") I don't really think it's a PI film, even by my rather liberal definitions. I guess I can't agree
    with Al Collins 100% of the time, after all. (Chris Mills)
  • The Zero Effect, again by default. It was the only '98 PI film I saw.
  • The Big Liebowski, by far.

WHAT WE'RE THEY THINKING? THE WORST P.I. FILM AWARD
For Films First Released in 1998

  • Okay, I don't go to the movies much.
  • Dirty Work
  • Nope! Don't think there were any!
  • I still haven't even seen Zero Effect or Twilight.
  • U.S. Marshalls (actually, it did blow, but it's not really a P.I. film-ed. )
  • The Zero Effect, and again because it was the only film I saw, it is both the worst and the best I saw.

THE BEST P.I. TV SHOW AWARD
For Shows Televised in 1998

  • Buddy Faro
  • Sins of the City
  • Disgraced cop Mike Kellerman's two-part return on Homicide: Life on the Street.
  • Mr. Chapel in Vengeance Unlimited
  • Harry O starring David Janssen...okay it is from the 70s, but it was aired in '98.
  • Buddy Faro... too bad it's being cancelled, but then, I knew it would be. And now that I have TV Land, I gotta admit, I'm really digging those Mannix reruns.
    (It's been cancelled? )
  • Vengeance Unlimited, because we've all had a "really bad day" at one time or another.
  • Yeah, that Homicide two-parter with Kellerman was awesome!
  • Vengeance Unlimited. Funnier than Faro.
  • Buddy Faro. But will people get the jokes?
  • Who cares if some people don't get the jokes? Buddy Faro is the hippest room in town.
  • Yep, Buddy Faro.
  • Buddy Faro.
  • Vengeance Unlimited. Why didn't someone tell me about this show before?
  • Dante's Inquest (from Canada, eh?)
    (Like, he's a cop, so, like, take off, eh? But it is a great show )

THE WORST P.I. TV SHOW AWARD (AKA THE DELLAVENTURA)
For Shows Televised in 1998

  • There's another PI TV show besides Buddy Faro?
  • Poodle Springs: if Chandler's ghost ever returns, Robert Parker will get off easy compared to the producers of this travesty.
  • Worst TV? Sorry..Dellaventura still wins the prize.
  • Mike Hammer, Private Eye... but I watched it anyway. I guess I was the one.
  • Dellaventura (he may go down as the Worst P.I. Ever)
  • I know it was last year, but I still can't get the taste of Dellaventura out of my mouth.
  • Martial Law This isn't really a P.I. show, though.....
  • Mike Hammer. It wasn't all that bad, but it wasn't very good either, especially to those of us who remember how good Keach was in those two-hour special fifteen or so years ago. This probably wasn't as bad as Dellaventura, but I didn't watch it in '98. I disliked the pilot (which aired in '97) so much that I never watched another episode.

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