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A POKE IN THE EYE
Private Eyes We'd Most Like To See Beat Up
- Spenser... but only 'cause I don't like Parker's books
much...and I can't stand the pansy.
- Elvis Cole
- Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar just asks for it.
- Mike Hammer, created by that Spillane guy.
- Lawrence Sanders' Archie McNally...what a priss!
- R.B. Parker's Spenser still seems insufferably smug
to me. I'd like to see him get a thrashing.
- I haven't read any Spenser in some time, but I always
wished he'd take a harsh beating.
Recent Private Eye Novel Most In Need of Pruning
- Anything by any California writer.
- This Far, No Further by John Wessel. Wessel should
have read his own title...
- Pretty much all of 'em. I think 170 pages is the perfect
length. Remember when Matt Scudder novels were less than
200 pages long?
- Dennis Lehane's Gone, Baby, Gone was just too Long,
- Wouldn't presume to say. I have too much trouble cutting
my own stuff.
THE IGOR AWARD
Best Psychotic Sidekick
- Bug Raiford (mental institution escapee-he was there
for firebombing a car full of feds-who is one of Sam Fuller's
colleagues, in Fred Willard's Down On Ponce.
- Joe Pike This guy makes Hawk seem like a frat boy.
- Myron Bolitar's sidekick Win wins. He's way more unstable
and much more annoying than than Hawk or Pike.
- Elvis Cole's silent-but-deadly business partner, Pike.
Too cool for words... so he doesn't waste any.
- Joe Pike, definitely.
- Hawk. In fact, I think it's time he bitch-slapped
Spenser around a bit, if only to shut him up for a few
- Stephanie Plum's grandmother. This woman is scary...
- Max the Silent from Andrew Vachss' Burke books.
Silent and deadly and absolutely no lines of dialogue.
- Whitney Talbot from Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan
series (a know-it-all preppy editorial writer with a hunting
rifle, what could be scarier?)
- Clete Purcell by James Lee Burke. A baby blue porkpie
hat, a bad ass convertible and some seriously bad mojo. Burke
should let Robicheaux take a vacation, and let Clete be the swinging
dick for a while.
- Mouse in the Easy Rawlins series.
- Definitely whatshisname -- Elvis Cole's mate. A total
THE "THE GUMSHOE FITS"
They Deserve Each Other (Fantasy P.I. Team-Ups From Hell)
- Alo Nudger and Modesty Blaise
- Spenser and Martha Stewart
- Elvis Cole and Amos Walker
- Spenser and Mike Hammer... then I'd get my
wish of seeing Spenser's ass kicked up around his neck.
- Spillane's Mike Hammer and Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski.
Both are downright ruthless.
- I agree. Mike Hammer & V.I. Warshawski.
With any luck, they'd kill each other.
- Bill Crane and Nick Charles. Now that's a night
on the town!
- Spenser and good old Travis McGee. For that
matter Trav and anybody...
- Elvis Cole and Travis McGee.
- Take Gordon DiMarco's Riley Kovachs, Roger Simon's
Moses Wine, and Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski
in the same room. They'd probably all get so caught up discussing
the historical dialectic or some such nonsense that the crime
would go unsolved.
- Kinky Friedman and Burke (from Adrew Vachss'
novels). New York would never be the same.
THE "MICROWAVED CAT"
Most Nauseating Cover Design
- Token of Remorse by Michael Stone
- Pretty much all of 'em again -- why do you think nobody's
but us are buying the damn things?
- Cases by Joe Gores. Great book, but they must have
spent about twenty seconds and 32 cents to design the cover...
- Most of them look like typeface samples. Whatever happened
- Didn't see one I really hated.
THE "MOTEL 6"
Private Eye With Whom I Most Want to Spend the Weekend
- Sally Colt as long as she dressed from Modesty
Blaise's closet. Sally's the trim, blonde, blue-eyed PI who
appears in at least two of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe books and in
The Hand in the Glove, which features her boss, Dol Bonner)
- That black-rubber dress chick from England. Sam Jones?
Yep, that's her name, written by Lauren Henderson.-ed.
- Spenser. But he should dump that bitch (and I don't
- Honestly? Honey West as portrayed by Anne Francis.
I'd never hire her as a PI, but a weekend in the mountains? Of
course, she'd have to leave the damned cat at home...
- Carlotta Carlyle by Linda Barnes
- Earl Emerson's Thomas Black. He should ditch that
clown and come see a real woman.
- Toss-up between Bill Smith and the Continental
Op--though, come to think of it, they're pretty much two
ends of the spectrum, aren't they?
- Caley Burke by Bridget McKenna
- Katy Munger's Casey Jones, although I'd probably,
appropriately, feel like a train wreck in the morning..
- V.I. Warshawski
- Claire McCarron (as played by Margaret Colin) on TV's
Leg Work from a while back. Colin's such a sensational
actress. Her face is so expressive! And her legs....WOW! Perfect!
One suggestion: add more pix of Ms Colin, preferably showing
- Tess Monaghan by Laura Lippman
Gee, I better start taking my vitamins. Just the taught of
her, me and all those rowing muscles is tiring me out....excuse
me while I go get some Wheaties and eight hours sleep....-ed.
- Assuming I wasn't a happily married man, I'd have to say
Honey West. Especially as portrayed by Ann Francis.
- Saz Martin (if only because she's really Stella Duffy)
- Travis McGee. I go for the big, sensitive lug type.
But forget the hotel. Let's head for The Busted Flush and rock
the boat, baby.
- Claire Parker from Laurence Gough's novels (sure she's
a cop... so sue me)
YOU'RE REALLY STARTING
TO STEAM MY CLAMS
Most Annoying P.I. Trend in 1998
- Let's put political correctness on the hanger next to the
lime green leisure suit.
- Losing their edge...whether hard-boiled or funny...is disappearing!
- The continuing trend of trying to disguise hardboiled detective
novels as "chick" books by "soft" cover designs...
- Limp Silence of the Lambs rip-offs and serial killer
books disguised as P.I. novels.
- Sensitive male dicks with psycho sidekicks to do all the
dirty work, and supposedly strong independent women who always
seem to need rescuing by their cop boyfriends in the last chapter.
- I'd have to go along with whoever said psycho sidekicks.
Give me a Continental Op or a Mike Hammer, a character
with enough of the courage of his own convictions to do what
needs to be done without resorting to a bad-guy partner to do
the dirty work.
BEST WEB SITE, LIST-SERV
Besides This One
- Rara Avis
- Blue Murder (http://www.bluemurder.com/)
- Bullets and Beer: The Spenser Homepage
- Tangled Web (http://www.twbooks.co.uk)
BEST MYSTERY MAG
Fiction or Non-Fiction
- Mystery Scene
- Is there a REAL mystery mag out there anymore??
- New Mystery's too pretentious, and the others are
too soft... but now that I know Hardboiled's still around
I'll have to check it out. So, I can't pick one yet.
- I have to admit to being really partial to Mystery Buff
since they bought my first short story.
- Absolutely Crimetime
BEST COMIC BOOK or GRAPHIC
NOVEL P.I THIS YEAR
- I liked The Little Sister but I'm not really into
the idea of turning literature into icons for the illiterate.
- Jinx, by Brian Bendis, by a long shot (and whadda
ya mean, illiterate?). Stray Bullets was the best crime
- Really??? There are some???
- DC/Vertigo's ressurection of Jonny Double. And there's
rumours of both The Human Target and Slam Bradley
revivals being in the works.
- It's not a PI book, exactly, but Max Allan Collins' Road
To Perdition. I haven't actually read Jonny Double
yet, and I haven't seen Bendis in a while, so I haven't scored
any Jinx comps. (Unfortunately, my local store doesn't
- Jonny Double
- The graphic novel version of The Little Sister (though,
technically, I think this was actually published in '97; however,
I didn't see it on bookstore shelves until '98).
(Most Consistently-Enjoyable Current P.I. Series)
- Wiseguy -- I wish I'd taped more episodes
- John Marshall Tanner by Stephen Greenleaf
- Matt Scudder by Lawrence Block
- Robert Crais's Elvis Cole
- Ross McDonald's Lew Archer and Stephen Greenleaf's
- Hell, for me it's got to be Pronzini's Nameless series.
The last four books have each been excellent, especially Illusions.
- Hammett's Continental Op stories & novels. Not
his most polished work, not by a long shot, but the most (imho)
consistently enjoyable things Hammett ever wrote.
- Elvis Cole
- Matt Scudder, and his latest, Everybody Dies,
proves Block still has it!
- Well, Mike Hammer is the only PI icon still being
written about by his original creator, but if we're limited to
series that are less than 40 years old, I'd have to say Joe Gores's
DKA series, with Al Collins's Nate Heller, Lawrence
Block's Matt Scudder, and Loren Estleman's Amos Walker
holding runner-up positions.
- Lew Griffin/James Sallis
- The KINKSTAH!!!
THEY FINALLY GOT TOGETHER AND RUINED
THE RELATIONSHIP AWARD! (Submitted by Mike Morris)
- Earl Emerson's Thomas Black series has bee one of
the foremost to mix senseless good fun with a damn good whodunnit.
Thomas' lusting after downstairs neighbor Kathy has always bee
a source of good fun...especially when he denied there was anything
between him and Kathy. Well, things came to a head and now they
are man and wife...and all of the good-natured fun is gone...just
a couple of good friends makin' whoopee which I am sure they
enjoy but isn't nearly as much fun as before. Thank god the stories
are still wonderful as all get out!!!
- I agree, but you should call this the Sam and Diane Award.
ALSO-RANS THAT BIT THE DUST ALTHOUGH
THEY WERE GOOD IN THEIR OWN RIGHT! (Also submitted by Mike Morris)
- Example in point....Linda Barnes has been writing for some
time. Carlotta Carlyle appears to have been her second
main character, with Michael Spraggue being the first. He was
the one who got me interested enough in Ms Barnes' writings to
try out Carlotta. But we have seen about 5 or 6 books about Carlotta
since the last Mike Spraggue novel.
- Example#2...Julie Smith's Skip Langdon novels are
great, but when is she going to write more involving Rebecca
Swartz, the San Francisco treat, uh...lawyer??? Okay neither
of these ladies are P.I.s, Sorry!!! I was just wondering.!!!
(Submitted by John Spaapen of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
- Not only did Gregory McDonald bring back a rather feeble
Fletch, but his Skylar is pretty weak reading as
SPILL THE BEANS
From Paul Bergin
Nice idea! I don't fill in forms, as a rule, but this 'un kinda
carried me along. Good work. My only comment that may require
clarification is the one about "Token of Remorse."
I think Mike Stone is a pretty good writer. He's no Jim Hall,
or Jim Harrison, but his work is worthwhile. Why they continue
to saddle him with those cartoonish, WCW-type covers is beyond
Morris in Muskegon, MI
Hey...I like this website!!!! :)
Mills in South Florida
I really haven't read very many new books in 1998. I seem to
have fallen a bit behind even in the series that I've faithfully
followed for years. So, basically, my picks for best novel of
'98 (Boobytrap and Flying Blind) were pretty much
the only brand new ones I read... but they were both great!
Farley in Tinton Falls,N.J.
The best surprise over the last two years has been the appearence
of Rick Riordan. His character is a good compilation of Mcgee
pragmatism and Spenser toughness.