Best Read (Novel) of 2006:
Solomon vs. Lord by Paul Levine - This first book in a fine, fast-growing series lived up to its hype, combining the best elements of legal thriller and romantic comedy.
Walking Money by James O. Born - A well-written page-turner in the tradition of Elmore Leonard that rings with authenticity.
The Devil's Right Hand by J.D. Rhoades - Rhoades's Jack Keller is the first hero in a long while to walk in the footsteps of Spenser and Elvis Cole and not be overshadowed.
Best Read (Short Story) of 2006:
"Six Love" by James W. Hall - A noirish cautionary tale of a loving father's bold act to help his daughter's self-esteem.
"The Man for the Job" by Gary Phillips - A former NFL star stumbles through the streets of Dublin looking for a crack fix.
"As Dark as Christmas Gets" by Lawrence Block - Chip Harrison and Leo Haig star in this lampoon of literary pretense.
Best Movie Seen in 2006:
Casino Royale - Daniel Craig silences doubters, bringing James Bond back with a little less conversation, a little more action.
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut - This year's real return of Superman, it completely changed my opinion of Margot Kidder for the better.
Best Writing Experience of 2006:
"The Luck of the Irish" - a flash story based on a mugshot.
"Wet Dream" - a truly asinine poem.
"Ambition" - first written for Paul Guyot's Bogarmoredcarstory contest, will be reprinted next June in Mouth Full of Bullets.
I published more poetry than fiction this year, which is fine. I'd be as proud of a chapbook as I would a story collection or novel. My goal is to execute the ideas that present themselves in the most ready-for-print state. More fiction will be ready eventually. 2005 seemed to fly by; 2006 seemed a little slower. Maybe that means I made more use of the time.