BEST GRIM JOURNALISTIC REAPER (2006)
Rocky Mountain News
For a relatively young man, Jim Sheeler certainly has a thing for death. As a freelancer, he wrote vivid, long-form obituaries for the Denver Post, the best of which will appear in a book, tentatively titled The Woman Who Outlived Her Tombstone, that's slated for publication later this year. After the Post foolishly cut him loose, Sheeler landed as a staffer at the Rocky Mountain News, where he's continued to explore the emotional territory on the far side of the river Styx. Last year's "Final Salute," detailing how the Marine Corps honors fallen soldiers, is his most epic, enlightening variation on the theme to date, and rumored to be a finalist in several contests. Many of Sheeler's subjects are lifeless, but his prose certainly isn't.