Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Shamus awards

I notice from The Rap Sheet that the Shamus awards (given to the best private eye novels published during a year, mainly (or only?) in the US) have been given to books I've read or am reading at the moment. The Shamus for the best novel went to Reed Farrel Coleman whose The James Deans I liked a great deal (this machine is working so slow that I won't go looking for the post I made on it in Pulpetti, um, 1½ years ago). I'm just now reading Soul Patch, the book that won the first prize. It's wonderful so far, but it seems that Coleman had a stricter editor at Plume, his previous publisher. But more on that later.

The best first novel and the best paperback novel I both read, but unfortunately never managed to talk about them here in Pulpetti: I think I mentioned Sean Chercover's Big City, Bad Blood, but I know I didn't mention Charles Ard.. ehem, Richard Aleas's Songs of Innocence. Even though I thought it was great - a private eye book just won't get any bleaker than this. And Aleas writes with ease and keeps you turning the pages, even though you know the ending will be grim. I also liked Chercover's book, but it was a bit too long on the private eye's personal life even when it didn't seem to be important to the book and the plot - compare it to Coleman's Soul Patch in which Moe Prager's love life is essential to the plot.

Mind you, these are not average private eye novels in any way. There are still many readers (especially in Finland - since we don't get these books in Finnish) who think that the private eye genre is locked somewhere in the era and style of Raymond Chandler or that it's just some lone hero joking around and drinking booze à la our very own Reijo Mäki. All these three books bring fresh air to the genre that many thought was dead by the eighties.

(Which was nonsense in the first place. [Which I came to understand only later. {But more on that later.}])


pattinase (abbott) said...

I hear Chercover's new one, Trigger City, is even better.

David Thompson said...

One employee (at Houston's Murder By The Book) developed a serious author crush on Sean Chercover on the basis of TRIGGER CITY. She said it's one of the best books of the year.

Juri said...

Will have to check that. The guy has talent, that's for sure.