What, Me Retro?

November 24th, 2015 by Max Allan Collins

I was watching the pilot of the Cinemax QUARRY with my wife, son and daughter-in-law (don’t tell HBO), and Barb turned to me when the character the Broker first entered and nudged me and smiled and said: “You did that.”

Well, I did, but a long, long time ago. About 43 years. At the Writers Workshop in Iowa City, where the instructor didn’t like the opening chapters I’d written very much, and most of the class wasn’t wild about it either.

At 67, I suddenly find myself aware of how very long I’ve been doing this, and am gratified that suddenly a lot of what I’d thought to be ephemeral works of mine are turning back up in print, and getting on the radar of a new generation or two of readers. Some of what I’ve written has almost by definition been ephemeral – specifically the movie novelizations and TV tie-in’s – though SAVING PRIVATE RYAN remains in print and a publisher is seeking permission from DreamWorks to do a hardcover edition.

But almost everything else with my byline is available again or soon will be, much of it from Thomas & Mercer, but also such boutique publishers as Perfect Crime, Speaking Volumes and Brash Books.

For these weekly updates, I routinely do a Google search to see what reviews and such have popped up on the Net, for me to provide links here. More and more I am surprised to find write-ups about older books of mine. It’s almost jarring, because often the reviewers are more familiar with the work than I now am.

Of course, the new Hard Case Crime editions of the first five Quarry novels have sparked interest, and in particular QUARRY (the first novel) has received some gratifying attention. Here’s one such write-up.

And here’s another.

And one more.

Fairly regularly, somebody comes along and praises either the entire “Disaster Series” or singles out one of the books in particular, like this piece that focuses on THE LUSITANIA MURDERS.

So many of these reviews of older work of mine just seem to appear out of the blue, like this look at the Eliot Ness novel BULLET PROOF.

But nothing could prepare me for this article specifically focusing on the musical side of my years on the planet, discussing both the Daybreakers and Crusin’.

Here, dealing with a somewhat more recent novel, is a nice review of the Jack and Maggie Starr mystery, STRIP FOR MURDER.

Coming full circle, the just published FATE OF THE UNION is pulling in some nice reviews, like this lovely one from Bill Crider, a writer I much admire.

Finally, my pal Ed Gorman brought in Ben Boulden of Gravetapping to review FATE OF THE UNION on Ed’s terrific blog, also a positive review.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to “What, Me Retro?”

  1. Brian Drake says:

    You deserve it, Max! Plus you’re giving the rest of us hope that we don’t toil in vain. :)

  2. Steve Gursky says:

    Hi Max,

    We have crossed paths in public twice (at the San Diego Comic Con about 29 years ago when you bought a lot of MS. Tree and other stuff from me at really good prices, even for the author of those comics. We met again at Jim Hanley’s Universe when you were doing a signing. While reading this column it occurs to me that you have provided a great amount of pleasure and education to me over the years.

    Thank you!


  3. John Norton says:

    Just when I was running out of audiobook ideas, Audible offered your first Heller novel as a daily deal. I read these when they came out but being three months younger than you, I’m now enjoying some rare upside of senior memory loss. It all seems very fresh. There’s only one faint echo from 30+ years ago…..”Is that a Murphy bed?” Looks like there’s a few hundred more hours of MAC to listen to. I need to start eating healthy…