Monday, May 17, 2010

“Big” and “Little” Prizes -- Enter Now!

Astounding as it seems, this coming Saturday, May 22, will mark the official fourth anniversary of The Rap Sheet’s introduction to the blogosphere. As part of the celebration, we’re going to give away four free copies of the new Mike Hammer novel, The Big Bang, written by
Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins, plus four free copies of the latest original Hammer radio novel on CD, “The Little Death.” That means eight lucky winners in all.

Oh, and did we happen to mention that these prizes will be free?

To enter the competition, you need to do only two things: (1) Make a list of your four favorite private eye novels--hard-boiled or not--and (2) send that list, along with your mailing address, to Please write “Mike Hammer Contest” in the subject line. Entries will be accepted between now and midnight on this coming Friday, May 21. The names of eight contest participants will then be drawn at random, and those winners’ names announced on Saturday. Each winner will receive either a copy of The Big Bang (signed by co-author Collins) or a copy of “The Little Death.”

Over the next few days, we’ll post in The Rap Sheet a selection of the lists of favorite private eye novels being submitted by readers.

As a way to kick things off, we asked Max Allan Collins to offer his own “Big Four” rundown of preferred P.I. fiction. His response:
The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett
Farewell, My Lovely, by Raymond Chandler
One Lonely Night, by Mickey Spillane
The Golden Spiders, by Rex Stout

This list represents my four favorite private eye authors. If this list were six books long, I would add representative titles by my next two favorites--Erle Stanley Gardner (The Case of the Fiery Fingers) and Agatha Christie (The Hollow).
Can you do better than Collins? Put on your thinking cap, review your bookshelves, and then send in your contest entries. Remember, you have to e-mail your list by this coming Friday.


Scott D. Parker said...

Since I've only read the first Perry Mason novel, are you saying that Fiery Fingers is the best PM novel ESG wrote?

Max Allan Collins said...

FIERY FINGERS is just a good representative Mason. The early books are rather doggedly in the sway of Hammett, and are not typical -- very little courtroom action, and that's where Gardner shines.

I particularly like the late '40s through the '50s. Mason is a tricky, damn near sleazy lawyer who will bend the law, even break it, on the behalf of his client. The books concentrate on such adult topics as big business corruption and James M. Cain-style adultery. They move fast, the dialogue is crisp, and they operate much less on a formula than the TV show would lead you to believe.

I picked GOLDEN SPIDERS for Wolfe and Archie because it's hardboiled and tough, and Stout is hitting on all cylinders. But there are many others just as good -- TOO MANY COOKS and SOME BURIED CAESAR I particularly like. Generally I prefer the post-war stuff through the fifties -- same period as Gardner, actually -- but all Stout Nero Wolfe fiction is worthwhile, though the first few take patience and a sense of history.

Jon said...

Booked to Die - John Dunning
A Small Death in Lisbon - Robert Wilson
A Place of Execution - Val McDermid
Dawn Patrol - Don Winslow