Shamus AwardsI sat next to Steve Hamilton at the 25th Annual Private Eye Writers of America awards dinner. Steve and I both work in high tech for our "day jobs:" he at IBM and me at a software company in the reporting space. Steve was telling me how a short story of his was turned into a short film starring David Srathairn (of Good Night and Good Luck fame). It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival recently. Very exciting--both in and of itself and because it may lead to future opportunities for Steve to work with film maker Nick Childs.
Also at my table was David Cole, who was nominated for an award in the best paperback original category. David lives and writes about Arizona, which is where I grew up and where the first August Riordan story is actually set. But David is in Tucson and I lived in Phoenix, so naturally we had to make with the obligatory trash talk about each others' towns.
The program started with a tribute by to Mickey Spillane by Max Allen Collins. He told some great stories about Mickey and also played a portion of a film he had produced about him.
Then came a roast of Private Eye Writers of America founder Bob Randisi. There were a lot of jokes about how prolific a writer and how bad a singer Bob is, but I thought Bob's agent Dominick Abel took the cake when he explained that he learned everything he knew about sex from reading Bob's Gunsmith series (something like 300 books) and then proceeded to prove the point by reading a sex scene from his favorite (#285 I believe in case you want to check it out). Apparently Bob is also a card sharp and has lost money at every race track in the USA.
After the roast, we got down to the awards themselves. Max Allen Collins was given The Eye award for life time achievement. (Say, does anyone else but me think that Al looks a little like Roy Orbison?) Fellow Bay Area writer Louise Ure won best first novel for her Forcing Amaryllis. Best hardcover went to Michael Connelly for his Lincoln Lawyer and ... drum roll please ... best paperback original went to fellow Bleak House Books author Reed Farrel Coleman for his The James Deans.