Vinnie Altobelli

Created by Milton Bass (1923-2014) After a massive heart attack levels him, San Bernadino cop VINCENT "VINNIE" ALTOBELLI is forced to retire, and is left "walking on eggshells -- afraid of over-exertion, sex and spaghetti" in the 1993 paperback original, The Half-Hearted Detective. So what's a guy to do? Apparently the obvious, non-stressful thing -- … Continue reading Vinnie Altobelli

Nick Acropolis

Created by Jack Clark In Westerfield's Chain (2002), an impressive (and Shamus-nominated debut), NICK ACROPOLIS is an former Chicago Homicide cop now working as private eye, taking on low-level insurance cases. Nothing special, nothing too dangerous. But looking into a routine traffic incident involving an off-duty cop, Nick stumbles upon more than he bargained for, … Continue reading Nick Acropolis

Jeri Howard

Created by Janet Dawson One of the better (and one of my favourite) of the new breed of female P.I.s following the eighties boom, was Berkeley's (later, Oakland's) JERI HOWARD, a former paralegal who worked the Bay Area. Initially I was a little dubious. Was this going to be an amateur sleuth soap opera, dressed up … Continue reading Jeri Howard

Fred Bennett

Created by Elliott Lewis (1917-1990) The first few paperback originals by Pinnacle in the series bill  FRED BENNETT as a "the most upbeat, offbeat detective in decades," while on Goodreads he's described as a "crusty ex-cop." But let's not beat around the bush -- "upbeat" he's not, and "crusty" barely covers it. As I recall, … Continue reading Fred Bennett

Louis Kincaid

Created by P. J. Parrish Joint pseudonym of Kristy and Kelly Montee At first I was wondering why on earth the PWA nominated Paint It Black, featuring P.J. Parrish's 1980's series character, LOUIS KINCAID, for a Shamus. The Louis Kincaid I knew was a transplanted Detroit cop who journeyed back home to Black Pool, Mississippi … Continue reading Louis Kincaid

Oscar Fife

Created by Jonathan Lethem Jonathan Lethem is, of course,  a big shot American writer; an acclaimed  novelist, essayist, and short story writer. His first novel, Gun, with Occasional Music (1994) was a tongue-in-cheek mish-mash of science fiction and detective fiction, featuring private "inquisitor" Conrad Metcalf and a slew of genetically modified kangaroos packing heat. Lethem may be a … Continue reading Oscar Fife

Martin McDonough

Created by Bruce Rubenstein Hard-drinking, hard-boiled private peeper MARTIN McDONOUGH goes down the surprisingly mean streets of St. Paul, Minnesota way back during Prohibition, when gangsters like Dillinger and Karpis used the place for a hideout from the Feds with the full support of the local cops, who hang around a dive called Tin Cups, … Continue reading Martin McDonough

Nick Alston

Created by Tim Baker Private detective NICK ALSTON is just one of the three compelling figures at the centre of Australian writer Tim Baker's ambitious conspiracy noir, Fever City (2016). Also along for the ride is an anguished American hitman, Philip Hastings and his Italian partner Luchino, with whom Alston tangles during the investigation into the … Continue reading Nick Alston