Archive for May, 2010

Hammer Has Onion A Peel

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

We had a very high-profile review of THE BIG BANG in a hip spot – the A/V Club, which is part of the Onion.

The review (a B-) is very favorable till the critic does a kind of politically correct left turn at the end. But I’m glad to get it, and the review’s been picked up all over the place. You’ll also note a lively discussion in the comments, and I get in the act, but not in a very argumentative way.

After all these years, there are Spillane haters out there. I admit it’s sometimes been shocking to me, but Mickey always inspired emotional responses, due to the emotion he packed into his work. Interestingly, I have been viciously attacked by both Spillane fans and haters, although a relative handful in both cases.

I’ve always been fairly outspoken, and my son Nate keeps me on a short leash (or tries to) because I have a tendency to respond when somebody disses me on line (or anywhere). The Collins Family Motto is: RUIN MY DAY, I RUIN YOURS.

Democracy is at its messiest on the internet – social discourse had seldom been subjected to ruder behavior. Check out the A/V Club review above for some examples.

Here’s a great BIG BANG review from Vince Keenan. He “gets” it.

And a short but sweet BIG BANG review from Sons of Spade.

Here’s another nice BIG BANG mention.

We got a lot of great attention thanks to the Rap Sheet and Jeff Pierce. The giveaway contest of four copies of BIG BANG and four of THE LITTLE DEATH is over, and I’ll be sending the signed copies out this week. You had to name your four favorite private eye novels to enter, and I’m pleased that both my name and Mickey’s turned up on a lot of lists.


We were happy to help the Rap Sheet celebrate its fourth birthday.

I have finished my draft of the second Harrow novel, but am doing extensive tweaks and tightening this week.

And next weekend I go to Chicago with my actor pal Mike Cornelison to record ENCORE FOR MURDER with Stacy Keach as Mike Hammer (and Mike C. as Pat Chambers). I’ll report back next time!


Rapping About Banging

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010
The Big Bang
In Stores Now!

First off, Thursday night (May 20) at 7 pm, I will be reading from THE BIG BANG and speaking afterward at one of the really great indie bookstores, Prairie Lights in Iowa City. Here is the store’s own write-up on the event.

I don’t need to say much this week, because I said so much elsewhere. I am honored to have been asked to do a lengthy interview on THE BIG BANG and my relationship with Mickey Spillane (and Mike Hammer), appearing right now at one of the really, really great mystery sites, JANUARY MAGAZINE’S RAP SHEET.

Topping that off, the RAP SHEET will celebrate its fourth anniversary with a giveaway of four copies of THE BIG BANG and four copies of THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER: VOL. 2 – THE LITTLE DEATH. These will all be signed and sent out by me, personally.

My thanks to J. Kingston Pierce for giving THE BIG BANG and me such a lavish platform to display our wares. Mystery fiction has few finer advocates than Jeff Pierce.

In addition, there have been some other terrific write-ups on the net lately.

That other great internet site, Bookgasm, gave THE BIG BANG a flat-out rave. You gotta check this one out.

The Noir Journal site has a terrific write-up on THE BIG BANG, with some great graphics plus bonus reviews of two Spillane classics, VENGEANCE IS MINE! and THE DEEP. Very smart stuff on the latter two books by a female Spillane fan.

You have to scroll down for it, but there’s a nice bit about THE BIG BANG courtesy of Bob Wade in the San Diego Union’s mystery column.

The one and only Paul Bishop – real cop, real writer – also said nice things about THE BIG BANG (and kindly provided a link to the Rap Sheet interview).

We’ve been hitting the internet jackpot lately, where some of the top mystery sites are concerned. That fine, funny writer Bill Crider has one of the very best sites, the kind worth checking three or four times daily. He likes the ANTIQUES series and did a splendid write-up of the current ANTIQUES BIZARRE.

And here’s some love for THE LAST LULLABY.

The last few updates have been on the brief side, I admit – I am burrowed in working on the second J.C. Harrow novel, and it’s a bear. I’m on page 410 and still have five chapters left.

Barb and I have plotted the next ANTIQUES mystery (the one after next year’s ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF!). She has already written her first draft of the first chapter. The series is building in popularity and the Barbara half of Barbara Allan deserves the lion’s share of credit.

For many, many months, I’ve been going from one novel to the next, or at least from one project to the next, and I am frankly frazzled. I’m preparing to slow down some. Most of the rest of this year will be spent writing the JFK assassination Nate Heller novel. Well, about half of it will be reading research material, and half writing.

Also, I’ll be plugging away at RETURN TO PERDITION, which is at about the half-way point of its around 200 pages. This is the graphic novel finale to the PERDITION saga, although not necessarily the last PERDITION book. This is the first major Terry Beatty/M.A.C. project in some time.

Finally, let me assure those who care that we are in serious talks about both Ms. Tree and Quarry for reprint editions – the complete run of the former, and the first four (and now very expensive) novels about the latter.

More definite info soon….


They Say It’s Our Birthday

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Yes, we’ve made it for just over a year of weekly updates. I haven’t missed once, and my son Nate has only rarely had to get after me about it. Thank you for checking in once a week or so. I remain in awe of my pals Bill Crider and Ed Gorman (among so many others) who manage to post every day. (You guys should get a hobby. Maybe you could write in your spare time.)

THE BIG BANG continues to rack up some lovely write-ups. We are going to get some great coverage from January Magazine’s Rap Sheet very soon (I’m in the midst of a Spillane-centric interview with J. Kingston Pierce his own self). There will be a give-away of copies of the book, celebrating the Rap Sheet’s anniversary, so for you cheap bastards who haven’t bought the book yet, you’ll soon have a chance to snag a free ride.

I was also asked to write a special piece about my relationship with Mickey for Amazon. I only had around 300 words to work with, and I culled the new piece from a much longer one that I did for the LA Times when Mickey passed. This is posted at the Amazon page where you can buy THE BIG BANG, so feel free to do that while you’re there.

Craig Clarke, at his Somebody Dies review site, has done a terrific BIG BANG review. Craig is always worth reading.

Here’s a very nice review from a woman who had never read Mike Hammer before, but came up with a reasoned, thoughtful response to her first meeting with him. Thanks, Mary!

Crusin’ is starting to work on our concert sets for Great River Days in Muscatine in July. It’s going to be a very big deal, with us sharing the stage with the other band from our region that made it into the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame – the incredible XL’s.

Finally, here’s a new band photo taken by our bass player Chuck Bunn’s daughter, Lara. This is Crusin’ right now….

Left to right, M.A.C., Chuck Bunn, Steve Kundel, Jim VanWinkle


Bang Bang Bang Bang!!!!

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
The Big Bang
In Stores Now!

THE BIG BANG continues to attract attention, but first things first…

…Barb, Matt Clemens and I are appearing on Saturday May 8 at a book fair in Davenport. We are doing a panel on collaboration at 1:30 P.M. at the River City Music Experience, talking about the new books YOU CAN’T STOP ME, ANTIQUES BIZARRE and THE BIG BANG. Here’s more info.

THE BIG BANG has had some wonderful cyber write-ups in recent days. Writer Brian Drake gives us a great, insightful write-up.

Writer Ron Fortier (he collaborates with Terry Beatty’s MS. TREE collaborator Gary Kato on the very, very fun comic MR. JIGSAW) has a great site (PULP FICTION REVIEWS) where he, too, provides insightful comments about “the Lost Sixties Mike Hammer Novel.” But is “heroine” a pun or a typo? You decide.

Here’s another really good BIG BANG write-up. So great to see so many reviewers in the blogosphere (yuck) really digging Mike Hammer and “getting it.”

And my pal Ed Gorman gave THE BIG BANG lots of space both for a review and a re-cycle of some stuff I wrote a few updates ago, generating a lively discussion that (of course) I got into. Turns out Robert B. Parker is a major writer and that I am apparently minor. That’s what I get for being Max Allan Collins, Jr. But do check it out – the great reviewer Jon Breen stops in.

Speaking of Ed, he briefly came out of his bunker at the undisclosed Cedar Rapids location to do a two-man “conversation” in front of a dozen nice people at a pleasantly trendy winery in Coralville, Iowa, for a library fund raiser. At his most excellent blog, he said nice things about me, including that I should run for governor. That is a nice thing to say, isn’t it?

John Kenyon was moderator at the event, and he did his best herding cats, but it was a hopeless task. He wrote about it, too, at his fun site.

M.A.C. and Ed Gorman
M.A.C. and Ed Gorman at the Iowa City Public Library Fundraiser
Photo by John Kenyon, Things I’d Rather Be Doing

Finally, Bookgasm – the gold standard of internet book review sites – didn’t much care for the new anthology CRIMES BY MOONLIGHT, but he likes the Collins/Spillane story, “Grave Matter.”

If you’re in the Eastern Iowa area, come to the Book Fair in Davenport. This is only the second event Clemens and two Collinses have either done together (not counting poker).