Tue 24 Jul 2007
As you may have noticed, I’ve recently completed Author and Book profiles for the 15 total nominees in each of the three categories for the 2007 Shamus awards. The easiest way to access them is to return to the first announcement page, where I’ve created links to each of the individual profiles.
It took me longer to do this than I expected it would when I started, but I’m glad I did, because I learned quite a bit in getting it done. First of all, even though I think I keep up to date with new books as they come out, unless you spend all of your spare time in doing so, you’re bound to miss something. There are two or three books I didn’t know about before they were nominated, and I’m glad I do now.
It also seems to me, without naming individual instances, that the concept of a character being a private eye has been stretched in a few cases. I’m not the judge of such things, but in my own mind, I did question at least more than one of the nominees as being true PI novels. This is not a complaint. It’s only an observation.
The amount of violence described as being involved in again at least more than one of the nominees makes me, personally, less likely to track them down. That’s my own individual preference. I also don’t make a point of hunting down cozy novels in which deaths are treated lightly.
I’ve never been able to put into words at what point too much emphasis is put on violence in detective fiction, or when it’s too little, but believe me, I “know it when I see it.”
Over the years I’ve also grown to more than mildly not care for detective fiction in which the supernatural or the paranormal is part of the telling. For what it’s worth, which may be very little, one of the nominees may have crossed whatever line in the sand I have constructed for myself in that direction.
I wonder how many of the stories begin with a client coming into the PI’s office wanting to hire him (or her) for this, that or the other. Without going back right now to look, I’d hazard to say that it’s probably not very many, and for a couple of very good reasons. More than a couple of very good reasons, now that I think about it, but somewhere deep down inside, I sort of, just kind of, wish it weren’t so.
Please note. In none of the cases I’m vaguely referring to above am I questioning the quality of the book or books involved. I don’t see any way I could. I’ve not read any of them.