RARA-AVIS: Re: The best novel you read this year

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 03 Jan 2008

Me? My favourite was probably Declan Hughes' THE COLOR OF BLOOD.

But for those Rare Birds who can't get enough of "Best Of" lists, the new "issue" of THRILLING DETECTIVE is now up.

It being our annual Holiday issue means, of course, that it's time for the CHEAP THRILL AWARDS, possibly the most bogus awards in mystery fiction (not counting those bestowed to POD publishers and self- published writers). The "Thrillies" are our annual survey of the last year in private detective fiction. As always, we're asking you what YOU think. Vote early, vote often.

Who knows? You might enjoy being involved in something where what you think actually matters. Plus it beats having to go all the way to Iowa.

But right now, lemme tell ya, already BIG CITY, BAD BLOOD seems to be edging way ahead of the field.

Not that we're just all about the Thrillies, mind you. As usual, fiction editor and Santa's Helper No. 1 Gerald So has dug through his goodie bag to come up with a fistful of hard-boiled treats, for all you good little boys and girls.

We kick off with Dick Stodghill's "Step Into My Parlor", a leisurely jaunt through the 1930s featuring his wide-eyed reporter, Bram Geary, and his considerably more jaded private eye pal/hero, Jack Eddy.

Paul Sundeson also gives us a juicy period piece featuring two buddies. "Piece by Piece" is an early 60s tour of duty through the pre- Civil Rights Big Easy that will stick to your ribs.

And just in case you think we're stuck in reverse this time out R. Narvaez gives us "El Bohemio", a taut little jaunt through the mean streets about as dated as today's newspaper.

We've also got a very special treat for long-time fans of the genre, courtesy of the boys at HardCaseCrime. We're very pleased to present an excerpt from the new Ms. Tree novel, DEADLY BELOVED, by Max Allan Collins.

If, after all this time, you guys still don't know who Ms. Tree is, this is the perfect time to get a clue. Created originally as a comic book by Collins and cartoonist Terry Beatty (who did the snazzy painted illo on this issue's cover), Ms. Tree is simply one of the best -- and arguably the toughest -- private eyes to ever slip on a dress and a pair of stillettoes (what Mike Hammer did in his spare time is another story).

If you've never read anything featuring Ms. Tree, you are in for a good time -- Deadly Beloved is her first novel-length appearance in prose, a bold new retelling of her origin and hopefully, marks the return of one of the all-time great characters in detective fiction. In any medium. This is pure pulp for now people.

(Can you tell I'm a big fan?)

OH, and if anyone has any ideas on how we should celebrate our tenth anniversary, coming up this Spring, I'm all ears.

Well, that's about it. Put a bow on it. We're done.

Kevin Burton Smith www.thrillingdetective.com

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