If you've seen my blog or the Killer Year blog or been on DetecToday or even checked out William Ahearn's website, you've seen some ruckus about the PI. Ahearn says he's dead or dying... Dave White says he's still alive... and the stories are better than ever... (I believe we're talking about the writing and stories, not publishing)

So my question is what do you think? Is the PI dead? Is he alive?

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Dunno about him. What about her?
How's this... "Is the PI dead or is he/she alive?" I was always taught in school to pick one gender and go for it.
I was just being a smart ass. Don't mind me. (I always find those he/she constructions awkward. And PIs, as loners, don't come in packs, so "they" wouldn't work either.)
I think there are ebbs and flows to the public's taste, but in the end, the P.I will always be a fixture. It may be writers just have to find a way to make them more relevant to the era. As Barbara points out, what about her?
Well, I've not seen any ruckus, but don't we get these proclamations about something being new/finished/the next big thing all the time? I don't think the PI is dead, just ever changing. I have always enjoyed PI novels and am always more than likely going to pick one up. I love Chandler, I love PIs LIKE Chandler, I love PIs NOT like Chandler. Just give me a good, well written, entertaining PI - I couldn't give a shit about trends. I don't care if something is supposedly dead and buried or the latest hot stuff.. I just want good books to read.
First, let's provide links to Ahearn's essay and your blog entryfor context.

Now, as I said on DetecToday, Ahearn's was a personal essay, not an academic one. He simply doesn't find today's P.I. fiction believable or to his taste, just as you think today's P.I. fiction is "better than ever."

I think you are just responding better to some writers than to others, as we all do. If we boil the P.I. down to anyone who takes a personal interest in a mystery--whatever that person's job description--the archetype has never and probably will never be in danger of extinction.
Sheesh. The reason I didn't link to the essays was because I wanted people to give their honest opinions just on the topic. I probably shouldn't have even mentioned the essays and just said what was going on. This is not about my opinion or Ahearn's. I want to know what other people think. Do they think the PI novel is dead... or ever changing or better than ever?
Without background, opinions aren't more honest; they're uninformed. Without background, people can only give their broadest gut reactions, If that's what you want, this should be a yes/no poll.
Yeah, but we're writers and we're smarter than that. Without a poll people can say yes or no and then take the time to elaborate on it. Context isn't needed for this group... well except maybe John Rickards.
Without context, people (even writers) won't know where you're coming from. Elaboration without context is rambling.
The PI novel is morphing into something resembling a hard-boiled amateur (no license) sleuth with hooks. There's Leigh Redhead's ex-stripper PI (licensed), or Charlie Huston's vampire PI. Ray Banks is included here, although I wouldn't say his work had 'hooks', just brilliant writing about crime.

The PI novel has always been a template for good guys catching bad guys, without procedure. Now I see the focus, marketing-wise and story-wise, deliberately steering away from the classic PI myth, with stories delving into other parts of the character/setting.

Haven't read your effort, yet, though. So who knows what wild and crazy direction you'll steer the PI ship towards. :)
I'm predicting a major revival of PI/police detective/noir in the next couple of years. It's going to be a repeat of the post-depression, post-WW2, post-vietnam, post-Reagan/Bush sentiment. Marlowe. McGee. Rockford. Cross. Disillusioned, but with hope for a better future, the public will gravitate toward the broken hero with shades of gray. The hero who's not necessarily out to save the world, but who brings one sorry SOB to justice at a time. If I were an editor in New York, I would be buying up all the well-written PI novels I could get my hands on for release in 2009.


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