Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Congratulations to Max Collins on his Nero Wolfe Award nomination

From Max's blog http://www.maxallancollins.com/blog/

The other big news is that – surprising the hell out of me – ASK NOT has been nominated for the Nero Award. Check out the full list of nominees here.
I am thrilled to pieces for a lot of reasons. First, I felt ASK NOT deserved award recognition and both the Edgars and the Shamuses ignored the final book in the JFK Trilogy. Second, this is one of two awards I really, really want to win (I still crave an Edgar, because…well, because I deserve one after forty-plus years of this).
My reasons for wanting a Nero are unique to that award. The major reason, obviously, is that it represents Rex Stout and his great detectives, Nero and Archie, and Stout is on my very short list of favorite mystery writers. (Frankly, I figured the Stout-likeSEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT might snag a Nero nod, and that ASK NOT would likely get Shamus-nominated. They switched it up on me.)
I think there’s a good deal of Archie Goodwin in Nate Heller – who is kind of a mix of Marlowe, Hammer, Spade and the aforementioned – but never expected to have a Heller nominated. Why? Thanks for asking. I’ll tell you, and I’ll tell you also not only why I won’t win, but why it’s a small miracle that I was nominated.
The nominees are supposed to be “in the tradition of the Nero Wolfe series.” Here, prominent among the guidelines, is this:Contains no overt sex or violence. Goddamnit, stop laughing!
Anyone who has ever read a Nate Heller novel knows why I never expected a Heller to be nominated for a much-coveted (by me) Nero. Anyone who has read ASK NOT knows that there’s plenty of overt sex and no small amount of violence. We had a Barbara Allan ANTIQUES nominated a few years back, and I thought that was my only shot.
I’ve always resented that guideline, by the way, because there’s plenty of sex and violence in Stout’s Nero Wolfe stories. Or does the Wolfe Pack think Archie and Lily Rowan spend their overnights playing Parcheesi? As for violence, have they ever read THE GOLDEN SPIDERS or THE BLACK MOUNTAIN? Or any number of others? Pfui.
But maybe two or three explicit scenes with Nate Heller boffing a stripper doesn’t qualify as overt sex any more. Times have changed, after all. Maybe smoking cigarettes waiting for a guy you’re asphyxiating isn’t considered all that violent, these days. Hope so.
Still, I would love to win that thing, for a very sincere if shallow reason – it’s the most beautiful award out there. A bust of Nero Wolfe!
And that’s no flummery.

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