New Mike Hammer Novel Out Today

May 6th, 2014 by Max Allan Collins
King of the Weeds Hardcover


King of the Weeds Audio
Audio MP3 CD:

KING OF THE WEEDS, the sixth Spillane/Collins Mike Hammer novel, is available now. Those of you who received advance copies can post Amazon reviews now. (Thanks to those of you advance ANTIQUES CON readers who’ve gotten around to posting Amazon reviews.)

Also available will be Stacy Keach’s audio reading of the novel, pictured here. I haven’t heard this yet but will be listening to it very soon – hearing perhaps the most famous screen Mike Hammer read these new Mike Hammer books is a very special treat for me.

As you probably know, the Edgar-nominated Mike Hammer short story, “So Long Chief,” did not win. The MWA has always had a tough time with Mike Hammer and Mickey Spillane (don’t get me started), so I am not surprised. That’s why I didn’t attend the banquet.

Instead, I stayed home and finished another Hammer story for the same magazine (The Strand), “Fallout,” which deals with Mike Hammer and Pat Chamber getting rockily back on friendly footing after the events of THE GIRL HUNTERS. This the sixth Mike Hammer short story I have developed from shorter Hammer fragments in Mickey’s files. That leaves one left to do. These seven stories, plus “Grave Matters” (a Hammer story I originally wrote as a “Mike Danger” with Mickey’s input) would round out what I hope will be an eventual collection. What’s nice about the fragments is that they are the start of Spillane stories, and nobody every wrote better beginnings in fiction than Mickey.

J. Kingston Pierce of the essential blog The Rap Sheet several years ago did the definitive in-depth interview with me. He has returned with a similarly in-depth follow-up on the occasion of the publication of KING OF THE WEEDS. It’s in the two parts. The first part, which is entirely Hammer-centric, appears at the Kirkus web site.

Part two, which is much wider-ranging, appears at the Rap Sheet.

Here’s a brief but very nice KING OF THE WEEDS review at Singular Points.

The American Airlines in-flight magazine has done an overview of continuations of mystery and thriller characters, including Mike Hammer and a quote from me.

And here’s a better-late-than-never one of THE FIRST QUARRY.

* * *

I had my first band job of the year Saturday night. Crusin’ played for a plus-40 Singles Dance, a perfect crowd for us, and a nice crowd danced every song and applauded after every song, too.

This is part of a “hiatus” year for the band due to our drummer, Steve Kundel, having school age kids who generated lots of concerts, sports events and other literal fun and games that require something once known as “parenting.”

In addition, we were worn down by a fairly rigorous schedule for a bunch of guys with real jobs (if, in my case, writing can be called that). We played 24 times last year. This year I have scheduled five. And no bars.

It felt very good to be with the guys again and out there performing once more. I strongly considered hanging it up at the end of last year, but couldn’t face the thought of having live rock ‘n’ roll performing a thing of my past. All of us – with the exception of our young (44) drummer – are reeling in the years, and the rigor of the last five steady years of playing is best behind us. The playing itself is physically demanding – I refuse to sit down while playing keyboards – and the loading of the equipment remains a delight, if by “delight” you mean waking up the next morning in screaming lower-back pain.

I do think fulltime writers like me need to have some outside activity, and I don’t mean mall-walking. It’s nice to get out in the world and see what’s happening – even if it does include a geezer who comes up to the stage and wonders aloud, “Don’t you people do any waltzes?”

That’s right, girls, he’s single….


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9 Responses to “New Mike Hammer Novel Out Today”

  1. Paul.Griffith says:

    Of course you need to “get started” about the MWA ignoring or even being condescending to Mickey and his writing! He is the reason for the success of the mystery genre as we know it today! Anyway, on a happier note, I hope you can publish the Hammer short stories soon! I haven’t read but one, “It’s in the Book” and I loved it! Looking forward to adding them to the Hammer collection. Hope you have had the chance to read my reviews of CON and WEEDS and Amazon along with COMPLEX 90.

  2. Max Allan Collins says:

    Your reviews are much appreciated, Paul — thanks so much.

    I’m very happy with the short stories. “It’s in the Book” is my favorite, but all of them came out well so far. Really only one left to go, unless I convert some non-Hammer fragments.

  3. Paul.Griffith says:

    OK, I can’t help it, I have to tell you–I just finished reading some of your interviews and found the one you did in 2008 and was very touched by the story of your last phone call with Mickey. I was deeply moved and startedigging deeper and found your write up “Mickey and Me”. I had never read it before, it was wonderful. Max, this may sound OUT-THERE, but I love this stuff and if I love it, I know others do as well! Have you ever considered gathering all of your interviews together and publishing them? Even a magazine style or paperback would work. I know I would collect them. I was able to read these just from today’s post. Thanks again for everything!

  4. Mike Doran says:

    … the Longest Weekend continues …

    After last week’s post, I did get out to Centuries & Sleuths, where Augie informed me that Collins & Co. should be appearing in summertime, possibly July
    I serenely await the details.

    Most days, I go out around noon; I generally wait until after the mail arrives – I have a lot of stuff on order, and some carriers still require a signature.

    One of my more recent acquisitions is a new McFarland book titled ROY HUGGINS; I’m guessing that you already have this one and just haven’t gotten around to mentioning it yet.
    I took delivery just about the time that the news broke about Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
    Coincidence – but if they didn’t happen, there wouldn’t be a word for it …
    The book has a sizable film/TVography that had a few surprises: some shows (mainly unsold pilots) that I remember and would like to see again – and we all know that MCA never throws anything out (Timeless Media Group take note).
    Anyway, the Huggins bio is on my shelf, a safe distance from Jim Garner’s – my version of balance in the universe.

    I’d go into maddening detail about all the other stuff I got this past month, but that’s the reason I don’t do Twitter.
    Suffice to say that my condo, already in the great tradition of the Collier Brothers, is progressing in the same style.
    (That’s right, girls, I’m single …)

    In a few days I’ll be hitting Amazon and some other places to secure your newer stuff for the C&S visit.

    Until that time, Eustis … until that time …

  5. Max Allan Collins says:

    “Mickey and Me” (although not in the exact form I prefer) is one of the two intros to the MIKE HAMMER comic strip collection from Hermes. That’s a terribly expensive book, but it’s nice and can be picked up cheaper at times on Amazon’s second-seller option and on e-bay.

  6. Brian Drake says:

    I am very happy to finally see KING OF THE WEEDS, which I first read about in One Lonely Knight, which I’m sure you’ll recall. The books have been great but the day job, my own writing, and real life has kept me from keeping up–Complex 90 is still on my night stand, untouched. Now that KING is out I need to rectify that.

  7. Max Allan Collins says:

    Thanks, Brian. I am very proud of these novels. I believe they fit in nicely in the “spaces” between Mickey’s (solo) Hammer novels.

  8. Max Allan Collins says:

    I’m not expert on blogs. My approach is a weekly update to share news about upcoming books and stories and so on of mine as well as links to recent reviews. I make an effort to give glimpses behind the scenes, sharing what I’m up to as far as work and (to some degree) play are concerned. This includes brief reviews of movies and TV shows I’ve seen (from time to time anyway).

  9. Nathan Collins says:

    Oooh, that was a particularly sneaky spam post. Deleted.

    (As a side note, a couple weeks ago, I removed the requirement to make an account before posting. In the time since, we’ve had nearly 3,000 spam posts, at an average of about six per hour. All but two were automatically flagged and deleted.)