cover image The Eyes Still Have It: The Shamus Award-Winning Stories

The Eyes Still Have It: The Shamus Award-Winning Stories

Robert J. Randisi. Dutton Books, $21.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-525-93988-7

In 1982, Randisi helped to form the Private Eye Writers of America (PWA), which gives out the Shamus awards. Two years later he edited The Eyes Have It, 17 stories from the best practicing PI writers. Six of those writers return in this updated collection, which gathers short-story Shamus winners from the first 12 years of PWA. Lawrence Block is here with two Matt Scudder stories, one of which, ""By the Dawn's Early Light,"" won an Edgar and is the sole story to repeat from the previous anthology. The only other two-time winner, Loren Estleman, delivers two stories starring Detroit PI Amos Walker. The stories' diversity embraces the violence that results from rejected love in Rob Kantner's entry, a poignant tale by Ed Gorman and an appearance by Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, who takes on the mob when his beautiful Velda is almost killed during a hit. The wonderful language of the hardboiled PI proves its viability too: ""... a headache fell on him like a slab from the ceiling"" (John Lutz) and ""Why I'd agreed to meet her at all had to do with a bank balance smaller than my IQ..."" (Estleman). This is the real thing and not to be missed. (Nov.)