First One’s Free

June 4th, 2013 by Max Allan Collins

First, let me address a concern a number of readers have expressed – Amazon is listing COMPLEX 90 as not yet available on Kindle. I don’t have an answer yet, but I’m assured by Titan that this is just a glitch and that it will be straightened out, and soon. The novel is available on Nook. We’ll post here and at Facebook and on Twitter when the book is available on Kindle.

I hope you’re admiring the cover of WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER, the new thriller that will be published by Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer line in mid-September. Do I have a deal for you….

I have ten advance galley proofs of WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER that I will make available to readers of this blog who pledge to write an Amazon review. (That review need not be favorable, but if you hate the book, and don’t care to comment on it, that would be okay, too.) It’s very important to get some advance buzz going and some Amazon reviews would help greatly. E-mail me at and request a copy, including your e-mail address.

If you have a regular reviewing blog, or just write occasional reviews in a more general blog, you can request a copy, too.

These are rather generic-looking books (the snazzy cover isn’t on this advance galley) and there are typos and a few minor revisions have been made since. But it’s the book and will suffice for reviewing purposes. I’m particularly anxious to have readers who haven’t sampled my thriller work (like the books I did with Matt Clemens at Kensington – Matt worked hand-in-hand with me on this one, too) give WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER a try.

Additionally, we have half a dozen extra hardcovers of the new ANTIQUES mystery by “Barbara Allan” – ANTIQUES CHOP. If you are interested in posting an Amazon review, we will send you one of those. Because of the limited number of copies, we’d prefer you ask for one or the other of these, though it’s also okay to suggest order of preference (i.e., if we’ve run through the ANTIQUES CHOP copies, that you’d be interested in receiving WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER).

[Nate here: All out of books this time around! Thanks for the fantastic response! If you have a regular review column or blog, you can still contact Max and he will try to get a review copy sent by the publisher. @Friday, 8:00AM]

Again, if you have a reviewing blog or a blog where you occasionally write reviews, I can get a copy of CHOP to you on request.

This is an experiment, and again we aren’t fishing for good reviews other than posting this offer at a site where presumably readers inclined favorably to my/our work might drop by.

I do repeat that any author whose work you admire – any book you enjoy – you are aiding by posting even a very brief positive Amazon review.

* * *

Speaking of “Barbara Allan,” Barb and I celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary on June 1st. We traveled to the Chicago area for two days of reckless abandon (food, shopping, and none-of-your-business). Along the way we saw an entertaining if implausible film, NOW YOU SEE ME, and took in the Trey Parker/Matt Stone musical THE BOOK OF MORMON in the Loop. We go back to the beginning of SOUTH PARK as fans – actually before that, because my pal Phil Dingeldein had shared “The Spirit of Christmas” with me prior to the series – and Barb and I enjoyed the energetic, funny, profane performance a great deal. It’s very much in the vein of REEFER MADNESS and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (the musical versions, that is), and to us that’s a good thing.

It’s a very expensive show to go to, however, and we sat it in a theater filled with limited and obstructed seating; but we were in Chicago and were able to bribe an usher to get better seats.

* * *

Casting continues on the Quarry pilot, with lots of attendant Net attention. Here are a couple of examples.

The NPR interview with me about COMPLEX 90 got incredible Net response. See Nate’s mini-update below for a link.

And the favorable COMPLEX 90 reviews continue to roll in, like this one at Geek Hard Show.

Here’s another cool COMPLEX 90 review from Retrenders.

And one from Team Hellion.

And SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT continues to get nice attention, as in this write-up.

The lovely Hermes Press collection of the MIKE HAMMER comic strip gets a fine write-up here. A pity this isn’t getting more press.

Finally, an intelligent discussion at Hidden Face Crime discusses my reluctance to put the murder on the first page of every suspense novel I write.


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6 Responses to “First One’s Free”

  1. Brian_Drake says:

    I liked the Hidden Face Crime article and your response, Max….I don’t mind the slow burn at all. One thing I like about your work is that you build up the characters’ world so well that by the time I get to the end I’m sorry the ride is over because I want to stay in that world a little longer. But more to the point, what may be happening here is a revival of the argument Joe Shaw and Dashiell Hammett had back in the day in regards to action vs. character. While other pulp writers were dropping dead bodies in the first paragraph, Shaw and Hammett said that killing a “nobody” doesn’t get you anything. For a murder to be important, to be worth the detective’s time, somebody actually has to have been murdered–and that means a fleshed-out character we have, in a way, gotten to know (Shaw made the point much more eloquently in his “Hard-Boiled Omnibus” introduction). You don’t need me to tell you, but stick to your guns. A lot of us like it that way.

    And now that I think of it, one of the best arguments against the “fast burn” is Spillane’s “Vengeance Is Mine”. We never know who the murder victim is that Hammer is avenging and as I type this I can’t even recall the fellow’s name, only that he and Hammer were war buddies. Spillane’s writing and the Hammer character made that story work but Jack Williams from “I, the Jury”, even though he’s dead on page one as well, felt a little more real because of the extra time devoted to who he was. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

  2. Terry Beatty says:

    Congrats on the anniversary! But how can you be married 45 years, when Barb is still just 32? Crazy!

  3. Duchess says:

    I’d be honored to read and write a review.

  4. Thanks, Brian, for the thoughtful response. Plenty of my novels, in particular QUARRY ones, employ a faster burn.

    Terry, you are so right.

    Duchess, send me your snail mail address at, and be sure to say whether you’re interested in WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER or ANTIQUES CHOP.

  5. Brian_Drake says:

    You say Quarry employs a faster burn, but not so fast that you don’t get into the story and achieve the goal Hammett and Shaw spoke about. I suppose that’s the difference between a writer who takes his time building up a story and one who dumps bodies left and right. Now I have to go back and read the Quarry books again to figure out how you do it.

  6. neen says:

    I will happily write a review of Antique Chops. If there are any galley proofs available for it, please let me know. Thanks, Neen (a long-time reader and fan)