Heart-Felt Pt. 4

January 26th, 2016 by Max Allan Collins

I apologize. I really do. But there’s been another postponement of the surgery. I was supposed to go in for the operation on Jan. 26 (the day this is posted), but now I have to take another pre-op test that day. With some luck, the surgery will be rescheduled yet this week – maybe Thursday, but that’s a guess.

Barb had warned me not to post about my pending surgery until after-the-fact. She is always right. Still, it’s nice to find out people prefer you to be alive. I’ll see what I can do.

Since I am in total limbo as I write this, I can only say that I – or possibly Nate – will be providing brief updates here and on Facebook, as we know more.

Many thanks to all of you for your support and patience.

* * *

Throughout these fun and games, I have continued working – not at my usual pace, but working. As I may have said, I’ve done two TV scripts as well as a Hammer novel, MURDER NEVER KNOCKS. I received advance but finished copies of that over the weekend, and it’s a handsome book. What’s more, I like the story within the handsome covers.

In addition, I’ve done various short projects, including a Sherlock Holmes story with Matt Clemens, one of two we were asked to do (the other one I may be working on this week, depending on how things go down). A few of you may recall that Matt and I, a few years ago, collaborated on short stories to accompany and supplement various puzzles, including some famous licenses, like CSI and its spin-offs, THE MENTALIST and NCIS. The Holmes stories will be attached to jigsaw puzzles, as well.

I’ve always wanted to do a Holmes story – well, a Holmes novel, really – so this has been fun. On the other hand, I did not have time to re-read any Doyle, which I would certainly have done had this been a novel project. As usual, Matt and I plotted both tales together, and he has written rough drafts. As indicated, I have completed a final draft of one, entitled “The Adventure of Professor Moriarty’s Notebook.”

One of the other small projects I’ve done in recent months is a Mike Hammer story for THE STRAND, “A Dangerous Cat.” I believe it will be in the next issue.

That story completes eight that represent short but useful Hammer fragments from Mickey Spillane’s file of unfinished stories and novels. One of these became “So Long, Chief,” which was Edgar-nominated and Shamus-winning. With all eight completed, I have a book, the first ever Mike Hammer short story collection (Mickey wrote very few short Hammer tales). I have assembled these in roughly chronological order, and written an introduction discussing how the stories came to be. Otto Penzler, who published THE GOLIATH BONE, THE BIG BANG and KISS HER GOODBYE when he was at Morrow, is going to publish the collection later this year, as A LONG TIME DEAD: A MIKE HAMMER CASEBOOK from his Mysterious Press.

The book will have a very limited print run of perhaps 1000 trade paperback copies before going into POD status (and will obviously be available as an e-book). In addition – pay attention, fanatics – a limited hardcover edition of only 100 copies (signed by me and Jane Spillane) will also be available. This will quickly become the hardest-to-find hardcover first-edition in the Spillane canon.


Tags: , , , ,

17 Responses to “Heart-Felt Pt. 4”

  1. Tom Zappe/St Louis says:

    Keep on the mend. When, where and in what format will the Holmes stories be available?

  2. Bill Crider says:

    Man, all these postponements must be wearing on the whole family. I don’t see how you get any work done at all, and the stuff you’ve mentioned seems like a tremendous amount to me. I’m looking forward to reading it, and I’m still holding a good thought for you down here in Texas.

  3. John Platt says:

    No need to apologize. We care. (Plus this gives us an idea what to look for if/when we have to go through something like this ourselves.)

  4. Jerry Hooten says:

    Hang in there, Iowa Boy!
    Sounds to me like you’re keeping busy!
    Best wishes for a fast recovery!!

  5. Keeping busy it sounds like U have our prayers and best wishes!!

  6. Christine Burmeister says:

    Sorry to hear you have more delays, but you are in good hands and the Master Physician is in charge. Take care. Keeping you and your family in my prayers. ~

  7. Howie Gold says:

    Continued positive thoughts and prayers.

  8. Tom Summitt says:

    Thoughts and prayers my friend….if you ever need any help with anything please let me know. Keep us posted when you or your son can. Wishing you all the BEST….Tom

  9. Please continue to keep us updated Barb and Al…..we love you guys and our prayers continue

  10. Victormordoh says:

    Best wishes for a swift recovery

  11. Will symbolically bang my head against a wall for you. Stay calm and strong, my friend.

  12. Paul.Griffith says:

    My wife and I have you in our thoughts and prayers as you undergo all of these postponements! Hope you will be comforted in

    knowing how many of us are going through this with you. May peace surround you, Barb, and Nate during this difficult time. (I have

    to admit, I am thrilled about the Hammer short story book!) With that said, your health and well-being is the most crucial matter at

    this time. Get well soon my friend!

  13. Patti Abbott says:

    Although we are strangers your work is important to me. Best to you through this ordeal!

  14. Gerard says:

    I am a month behind on these updates so all the heart surgery info is new to me. Best of luck on the forthcoming – or completed – surgery and recovery.

    Gerard Saylor
    Southern Wisconsin

  15. Mary Cannon says:

    Thinking of you and sending prayers for a swift and complete recovery once you have your surgery!

  16. marilee reinertson torres says:

    great to see you and your lovely lady in town today. You look good. As Bill C. commented above it must be wearing upon all dealing with postponements. Certainly hoping the path will ease and smooth and you can get moving forward and onto that road to recovery. sending best of wishes and positive. prayerful thoughts for you and your family

  17. Max Allan Collins says:

    Thanks for these lovely comments and all of this support. It’s gratifying to hear from readers and friends, inlcuding pros like Patti and Bill. Tom Summitt is a longtime pal here in Muscatine who appears in MOMMY (ambulance driver). Marilee is a bookseller, and you know I love them! Tony Isabella is a comics pro and friend from way back — we are both so old, we understand each other’s pop culture references. Others here, like Suzanne, go back to high school days. My apologies to anybody I didn’t single out, but these jumped out at me as reflective of the various people I’ve been hearing from.

    Tom Zappe, I don’t have any date on the Holmes puzzles. If I get any info, I’ll share it here. Frankly, though, I never received copies of the previous two puzzles that Matt and I wrote for the same folks — but since I don’t have the time or patience (okay, skills) to make the puzzles, it’s a moot point!