First Review for Quarry in the Middle

September 8th, 2009 by Max Allan Collins

Quarry in the Middle

The first review for QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE (out next month) is in — Ron Fortier has provided a rave review, and here it is:


You’ll see that Ron connects the book to the classic Kurosawa film Yojimbo, and to Fistful of Dollars and Dashiell Hammett, although Ron mentions THE GLASS KEY as the original source. Kurosawa may have mentioned THE GLASS KEY himself, but the real source is Hammett’s first novel, RED HARVEST, the first major hardboiled PI novel and still one of the best, if not in THE MALTESE FALCON’s league. RED HARVEST was Mickey Spillane’s favorite Hammett novel, by the way.

I tip this off myself in the epigrams for the novel, which quote Hammett, Kurosawa and Serigo Leone. By the way, I pride myself on selling this book to Charles Ardai with, essentially, a title and a one-word pitch. In line at the buffet table at last year’s PWA banquet, I said to Charles that I would like to do another Quarry.

He said, “But you’ve done THE FIRST QUARRY and THE LAST QUARRY. What’s left?”


He laughed and said, “Okay, but what is it?”

And I said, “Yojimbo.”

He stuck out his hand and we shook. We’d made a deal.

Two items on a personal note: Barb and I spent a lovely three days in St. Louis with our son Nate, who lives there now, showing us around and taking us to various great restaurants. Beautiful weather to go out walking with our “granddog,” Toaster (an insane Australian Blue Heeler and my favorite animal on the planet, but for a handful of humans). We also dropped by the Big Sleep mystery bookstore, a wonderful browser’s paradise. I think it’s a safe bet that we’ll be doing a signing there next year, probably for the new Barbara Allan and the new Mike Hammer.

And Crusin’ played at a local pub in Muscatine, the Brew, and while the crowd could have been bigger, the response was terrific and it was a pleasure playing a venue with an in-house sound man/sound system. I’m enjoying playing a little more often, and it’s gratifying to see the broad demographic our mix of originals and classic ’60s rock seems to work for. Just a year ago today, the band (under its original name, the Daybreakers) was inducted into the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame at Arnold’s Park. Our friends from Wilton, the XL’s, got in this year. If you haven’t ordered the Daybreakers “Hall of Fame” CD, scroll down and do so — not many copies left, and less than 10 of the signed ones. The SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT signed CD’s are similarly in low quantity.

Tomorrow (Monday as I write this) I begin the new Nate Heller novel.


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