Morgan The Raider #2: 44 Years In The Making!

January 4th, 2011 by Max Allan Collins

I have just completed THE CONSUMMATA, the Morgan the Raider novel of Mickey’s that I finished for Hard Case Crime. It just went out via e-mail to editor Charles Ardai a few hours ago. I’m very pleased with it, but it was a tricky one. Mickey had completed 108 double-spaced pages, but this time I had no plot or character notes. Even the evocative title itself (which had been announced by Signet Books many years ago) went unexplained. It required really getting inside the manuscript, and Mickey’s head, to figure out where he was headed…and I think I pulled it off.

So finally, the sequel to THE DELTA FACTOR, the second Morgan the Raider novel (Signet Books announced modern-day pirate Morgan as Mickey’s new series character with great fanfare), will appear…with Mickey’s fans only having to wait 44 years.

My technique I’m sure would dismay purists. I expanded and revised Mickey’s hundred-plus pages, weaving my own scenes and thoughts and style in and around his, so that his material appears deep into the book, nine of its thirteen chapters. (I created no new characters, however, and my plot strictly flows out of things he put in motion.) I get a lot of praise (much appreciated) for the seamlessness of these collaborations, but it’s because I treat them as collaborations – and don’t just “pick up where Mickey left off” that they are able to achieve what they do.

This is going to be an extremely big year for me, at least in terms of how much stuff will be out there. I will do a post on that subject either next week or soon thereafter.

The First Quarry Audiobook
The First Quarry Audiobook

One thing that is out right now is the audio book of THE FIRST QUARRY. I haven’t heard this yet, but it’s the same reader (Curt Palmer) who did THE LAST QUARRY, and he’s excellent. This company, Speaking Volumes, will be doing more Quarrys – all the Hard Case titles and perhaps the early books, as well. It’s only $19.95, very reasonable for an audio book.

Vince Keenan considers THE BIG BANG one of the best books of the year. Hey, Vince – me, too!

The Sons of Spade website went even farther, calling THE BIG BANG the best P.I. book of the year.

This is very gratifying, and we showed up a few other places, too, but mostly were overlooked. This is the first year in a while that Bookgasm hasn’t listed me on the best books of the year. As I have made clear here before, I despise these lists, and give them absolutely no credence…unless I am on them.

There’s a lovely post about THE GOLIATH BONE, which posits a movie version and presents a dream cast. Very much worth checking out, plus I posted a comment you may find of interest.

There is a very interesting piece about the BATMAN character Two-Face and the similar Haf-and-Haf character in DICK TRACY, discussing my work on the latter and referencing my BATMAN work in general. I provided several comments and you may find the back-and-forth interesting.

Finally, the contest remains open for anyone who can identity my two sections of the Top Suspense Group “Round Robin” short story (see below for details). So for nobody has won. Well, almost nobody…my son Nathan pegged ‘em. Nice going, Nate! Too bad you don’t need any M.A.C. books….


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4 Responses to “Morgan The Raider #2: 44 Years In The Making!”

  1. dan luft says:

    It’s a shame that you and Spillane didn’t do more collaborations while he was alive. Mickey’s the only one missing out on the fun.

  2. Mickey and I collaborated on a number of projects — comics, anthologies, movies — but never a novel. On the other hand, he sent three unfinished novels home with me over the years (THE BIG BANG, THE CONSUMMATA and COMPLEX 90) and left specific instructions with his wife Jane that, after his death, I been given all of his unpublished material because “Max will know what to do with it.”

    Actually, collaborations on the novels with Mickey during his lifetime would have been very difficult, because one of the major reasons he put books aside unfinished was that he had the restrictions of his church (the Jehovah’s Witnesses) hanging over him. Most of his books were written during periods when he was on the outs with the church (or before he joined). Interestingly, Jane asked Mickey just a few days before he passed if it was okay when I worked on his unfinished books if I put the well-known Spillane-style sex and violence (and profanity) in. And he told Jane that he had no objection to me doing whatever I felt was necessary to make the books work as stories and as commericals products.

    He was a great man.

  3. I was finally able to pick up a copy of THE BIG BANG and expect to have it read within the next 24 hours. Rarely I have I been so excited to read a novel, and have been frustrated that I wasn’t able to get my hands on it sooner. (It sucks being poor!)

    THE DELTA FACTOR is my favorite non-Hammer novel by Mick – not necessarily the best, but my favorite. Morgan the Raider is the type of crime fiction protagonist I love, and I really enjoyed the Alexander Dumas-esque adventure quality of the book. Obviously, then, I’m really looking forward to THE CONSUMMATA!

    Happy New Year, Max!

  4. […] I just plain liked it more than he did, and a lot more at that. Why? Well, one reason is stated in this comment over at Max Allan Collins’ site. (MAC completed the aborted sequel, The Consummata, which […]