There was a time, from the late 1950s through the ’70s, when private-eye dramas were all the rage on television. Now it’s hard to find any such programs. We’ve been told for a long while that gumshoes are a dying breed in published fiction as well, that--as I write in my new Kirkus Reviews column--“In our era of smartphones and Google searches, mass shootings and invasive electronic surveillance, the resolute P.I. plodding through a case, dissecting myriad motives and doubting the truthfulness of everyone he or she encounters, simply does not excite readers any longer.”
Yet there are still plenty of hard-working and intriguing freelance investigators stalking the streets of our most crime-besieged cities. (Just ask the Private Eye Writers of America, presenter of the annual Shamus Awards.) On the Kirkus Web site today, I highlight five recently published novels that do a commendable job of keeping private detectives relevant--whether they operate in modern times or historical ones. You’ll find that piece here.