Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Big Four: Round Four

Today brings an end to The Rap Sheet’s latest giveaway contest, which put up for grabs four free copies of the new Mike Hammer detective novel, The Big Bang, written by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins, as well as four free copies of the latest original Hammer radio novel on CD, “The Little Death.” The names of the eight contest winners will be announced later on this afternoon.

But before that announcement is made, let’s look over just one last intriguing batch of competition entries.

Murrie A. Zlotziver of Vicksburg, Pennsylvania:

The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, by Agatha Christie
The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler
The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett

Calum Macleod of Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom:

“Now while it’s bloody obvious any list of great private eye books should include Raymond Chandler (I’d opt for Farewell, My Lovely) and Dashiell Hammett (Red Harvest), with Ross Macdonald taking up the rear (The Far Side of the Dollar), let me offer an unashamedly Euro-centric alternative.”

The Killing Kind, by John Connolly
Dead Birds, by John Milne
The Guards, by Ken Bruen
Clean Break, by Val McDermid

Jeff Everden of Penticton, British Columbia, Canada:

Freak, by Michael Collins
The Twisted Thing, by Mickey Spillane
Playback, by Raymond Chandler
Red Harvest, by Dashiel Hammett

Scott Parker of Houston, Texas:

The Dawn Patrol, by Don Winslow
Darkness, Take My Hand, by Dennis Lehane
The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Songs of Innocence, by Richard Aleas

Michael Shonk of Baton Rouge, Louisiana:

Sally’s in the Alley, by Norbert Davis
The Uncomfortable Dead, by Subcommandante Marcos and
Paco Ignacio Taibo II
The Dada Caper, by Ross H. Spencer
The Continental Op, by Dashiell Hammett (a collection of short stories)

Louis Burklow of Los Angeles, California:

True Detective, by Max Allan Collins (“Collins is the best at combining historical research with effective mysteries; I also love the cameos by real people, especially Dutch Reagan.”)
The Day the Music Died, by Ed Gorman (“He gets the feel of a small American town so right--reminds me of the town I grew up in near Nashville.”)
Berlin Noir, by Philip Kerr (“A detective in Nazi Germany--that was all I needed to know to want to read this one.”)
Holmes on the Range, by Steve Hockensmith (“I also love westerns, and the humor helps the story.”)

Eric Beetner of Los Angeles, California:

Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley
The Long Goodbye, by Raymond Chandler
The Deputy’s Widow, by J.B. Kohl
The Drowning Pool, by Ross Macdonald

Carol H. Novak of New Hyde Park, New York:

Some Buried Caesar, by Rex Stout
The Lonely Silver Rain, by John D. MacDonald
Appointment with Death, by Agatha Christie
Mystery Mile, by Margery Allingham

John Lushbough of Vermillion, South Dakota:

When the Sacred Ginmill Closes, by Lawrence Block
The Deep Blue Good-by, by John D. MacDonald
Valediction, by Robert B. Parker
Walking the Perfect Square, by Reed Farrel Coleman

Deanna Stillings of Carlisle, Massachusetts:

Above Suspicion, by Helen MacInnes
The Doorbell Rang, by Rex Stout
The Cannibal Who Overate, by Hugh Pentecost
Darker Than Amber, by John D. MacDonald

Andreas Decker of Wuppertal, Germany:

When the Sacred Ginmill Closes, by Lawrence Block
The Blue Hammer, by Ross Macdonald
The Last Good Kiss, by James Crumley
Second Chance, by Jonathan Valin

Walter Herbert of Upper Marlboro, Maryland:

The Galton Case, by Ross Macdonald (“I could have picked any of Macdonald’s books, but The Galton Case was the first I read and remains my favorite.”)
The Thin Man, by Dashiell Hammett (“OK, technically Nick Charles is retired, but he sure acts like a private eye, and Hammett’s spectacular dialogue surpasses his use of dialogue in The Maltese Falcon.”)
The Monkey’s Raincoat, by Robert Crais (“In The Monkey’s Raincoat Crais found just the right mix of irony, sarcasm, and action.”)
The Color of Blood, by Declan Hughes (“A wonderful story told in a unique setting; I didn’t realize that Dublin had mean streets, too, but I’ve seen The Quiet Man way too many times ...”)

Ed Mattingly of Austin, Texas:

Shame the Devil, by George Pelecanos
Ghost of a Flea, by James Sallis
The Killing of the Tinkers, by Ken Bruen
Heaven’s Prisoners, by James Lee Burke

Richard L. Pangburn of Bardstown, Kentucky:

The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett. (“The spare language, the noir attitude, the falcon as the ultimate empty McGuffin, the celebrated nuances that have led to other splendid literary works in imitation or in tribute, such as Paul Auster’s reworking of the Flitcraft episode, not to mention Joe Gores’ excellent prequel. The stuff our dreams are made of as well as the dream our stuff is made of.”)
Mike Dime, by Barry Fantoni. (“[A] terrific period piece that is also a marvelous tribute to the best of Raymond Chandler. Mike Dime drives around town trying to solve a murder on the eve of the 1948 election. Here’s a sample of the gorgeous prose: ‘She was in her late forties and her figure was spreading faster than spilled milk. A lot of her was almost into a peg-top velveteen skirt with slits that were too long and a frothy organdy blouse that needed buttoning. Her face was the color of uncooked bread, her lips were large and puffy and painted with less care than drunks count change.’”)
The Last Good Kiss, by James Crumley. (“Hard-boiled and delightful to read, his private eye is sent searching for a legendary drinker, Trahearne: ‘I found myself chasing ghosts across gray mountain passes, then down green valleys riddled with the snows of late spring. I took to sleeping in the same motel beds he had, trying to dream him up, took to getting drunk in the same bars, hoping for a whiskey vision. They came all right, those bleak motel dreams, those whiskey visions, but they were out of my own drifting past. As for Trahearne, I didn’t have a clue. Once I even humped the same sad young whore in a trailer-complex out in the Nevada desert. She was a frail, skinny little bit out of Cincinnati, and she had brought her gold-mine out west, thinking perhaps it might assay better, but her shaft had collapsed, her veins petered out, and the tracks on her skin looked like they had been dug with a rusty pick.’”)
The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler. (“A fine article ran in The Armchair Detective suggesting that Chandler got both his style and the idea of the title from ‘the big sleep episode’ in Robert Penn Warren’s ... All the King’s Men. Wherever he got it, it is fine noir and a wealth of critical literature has grown up around it, not to mention such fine tributes as Paul Tremblay’s The Little Sleep and Mark Coggins’ The Big Wake-Up.”)
Motherless Brooklyn, by Jonathan Lethem. (“The smartest and best impaired private eye novel ever, with an amazingly endearing protagonist and a wealth of great sub-themes, plus a realistic conclusion that grows ever more satisfying as the years go by. It is a private eye novel that is bigger than the sum of its parts, both a period piece and a genuine work of timeless art.”)

Todd Mason of Radnor, Pennsylvania:

Trophies and Dead Things, by Marcia Muller
The Big Fix, by Roger Simon
The Enquiries of Doctor Esterhazy, by Avram Davidson
(“almost a novel”)
The Final Solution, by Michael Chabon

Alan Griffiths of London, England, United Kingdom:

The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler
Alive & Kicking, by John Milne
A Good Year for the Roses, by Mark Timlin
The Guards, by Ken Bruen

1 comment:

Todd Mason said...

These were my best four that I expected no one else to name, though they could stand with the ones everyone or most people might name w/o shame.