Heart-Felt Pt. 7

February 16th, 2016 by Max Allan Collins

[Update Thurs. Feb. 18 @ 3:25 PM CST] Nate here with another quick update — We’re allowed to visit Dad every two hours, and every time he’s a little bit better. We talked with the cardiac surgeon, and so far it looks like they were able to fix everything that needed fixing. They’re gradually getting him off of the machines, and he’s already started on the physical therapy, but there’s a long road to go. Thanks again for all the kind words and support.

[Update Wed. Feb. 17 @ 2:50 PM CST] Nate here: Dad came through the surgery well. It sounds like everything got put back in the right place, and he’s in recovery right now. Thank you everyone for your words and thoughts and prayers of support.

It appears, at long last, that I will be going in for the open-heart surgery – scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 17, a day after this update is posted. I suppose anything could happen, but right now this seems carved in stone.

I have complained here about the various postponements, but I have to admit that some part of me always relished them. I am scared shitless, frankly. Not afraid to admit that. I think Heller and Quarry would feel the same. But I have great confidence in my surgeon, and as for the aftermath, my wife and son will be there to prove my point that there are no two better examples of those roles.

Barb has been both a soft shoulder and a rock, and everything in between, as needed. I am very, very lucky, as those of you who’ve met her already know. Whenever fans come around to get to know me, and encounter Barb at my side, they go away saying, “What an incredible woman! Max Allan who?”

Now I want to thank you for your patience with this ongoing soap opera/Republic serial. Barb had warned me about posting information about this surgery, rather wisely advising me to wait till after-the-fact. And I didn’t write about it, till I knew the update would appear on the day of the surgery…and then it got postponed again, when I had complications from the initial surgery, an unclogging of a carotid artery.

But the upside is that so many of you – from close friends to acquaintances to fellow writers (many of the latter not knowing me personally at all) – have approached me with support and good wishes, which are gratifying and warmly received. I am something of a loner – only child that I am. Barb is similarly a loner, though she is one of seven. So we are loners together, not terribly social, though I like social situations, if they relate to my work and interests. What I dislike is being at a social event and, once people find out who I am and what I do, having to play performing monkey.

When I look back, my closest friends have been my bandmates and other writers, and various collaborators of assorted kinds. Not a week goes by that I don’t think of my late friend Paul Thomas, my musical collaborator for decades; or my late friend Michael Cornelison, who was at my side on all of my features and both of my documentaries, as well as my short films. Writers like Ed Gorman and Bob Randisi, and of course my longtime collaborator Matt Clemens, represent friends made through the writing trade, though they are certainly not alone.

But the nature of my business, and my personality, make me a loner. Even the names mentioned above I rarely socialized with – get-togethers tended to be work-related. So it comes as a very nice shock to me to get the support and even love of those whose paths have crossed mine, even in minor ways or sometimes just through the pages of my books and stories.

So thank you, everybody. As I’ve mentioned, I wrote several updates in advance, dealing with upcoming book releases, and they will appear over the early weeks of my convalescence. Nate will post updates here and on Facebook about my progress, and I’ll get back to my weekly updates as soon as possible.

* * *

I’m pleased to share with you this great dual review of QUARRY’S DEAL and QUARRY’S CUT at the review-site-among-review-sites, Bookgasm.

And here’s a nice review at the San Francisco Book Review of QUARRY’S LIST.


Tags: , , , ,

42 Responses to “Heart-Felt Pt. 7”

  1. Jeff Pierce says:

    Best of luck with tomorrow’s surgery, Max. We’re all rooting for you.

  2. Tom Zappe/St Louis says:

    Everyone is looking forward to your full recovery and return to unmitigated action. Perhaps this episode could be looked upon as research for Heller as he wrestles the riddle before having to go in for surgery. Write it soon.

  3. Ruth Nixon says:

    Hi, I’m an only too but I love people , lots of people around. Thank you for sharing this journey and Tom Zappes
    idea for a Heller book is wonderful. Fingers crossed for tomorrow , it’s been a long wait. Happy recovery. Keeping Barbara in my thoughts tomorrow, you’ll be asleep and she and your son have the hard part, waiting.

  4. Bill Crider says:

    As a fellow loner, I understand just what you mean, and it’s a surprise at some critical points in life to discover that while we may still be loners, we’re not at all alone. You’ll be in the thoughts of a heck of a lot of people tomorrow, and we’re all looking forward to Nate’s updates and the good news about your recovery.

  5. Laura Henzlik says:

    May all the good vibes you have provided to me and so many others thorough the telling of the Nate Heller tales reflect back on you. All positive good wishes to you, your family and your medical team.

  6. stephen borer says:

    Ditto on the good wishes. And boy, are the previous 5 ‘best recovery prayers & wishes’ notes well worded.

  7. Randi Day says:

    Now that you have a time and date, just know that we are still out here wishing you the best outcome always. We will keep you, Barb and Nate in our thoughts and prayers, for tomorrow and during your recovery and we will be looking forward to Nate’s updates.

  8. Len Wein and I wish you the best outcome tomorrow. Len just celebrated the anniversary of his quintuple bypass. It was scary, but he got through it. I am sure you will, too.

  9. Ed Morrissey says:

    Got my fingers crossed. Glad to know your family & friends are there for you. Best wishes.

  10. All the best, my friend.

  11. David Alexander McDonald says:

    Another one of us writerly types getting to go under the knife to get a ticker tune-up! Roger MacKenzie just got sprung after his very successful heart surgery, and I have no doubt you’ll be back out in the world within a week, recovering handily, and with your brain feeling like it’s fresh out of the box (this was the most significant thing for me when I had open heart surgery; I felt like I could think clearly again.)

    Chances are that you’ll remember nothing from the initial preparation once you’re admitted in the morning until you’re extubated after the surgery (when they’re sure you’re coherent.) The following days will have moments of unutterable indignity, but will also include the firm knowledge that you made it, and you’re going to be all the better for it — and an improved Max Allan Collins writing more books for many years to come is, to me, a gift to us all.

    Hopefully there’ll be someone keeping your friends and fans informed as the days go by.

  12. Ed Polgardy says:

    Good luck, Al. Lots of prayers and best wishes from someone who had a blast working with you and Mickey and the crew from BIG E. I feel really blessed that we had a chance to spend some creative time together. Much love and respect, my friend.

  13. Mary Harris says:

    Many friends and I hope to see you rock ‘n roll in New Orleans this fall! B’con is not the same without you and your better half. <3

  14. You’ve got a lot of people out here pulling for you, my friend. See you in New Orleans!


  15. Robin Koenigsaecker Edwards says:

    I have been praying for you since I heard that surgery was in your future. By now… I hope it is over and all went well. Prayers will continue for a steady recovery. Best to you and your family. Robin

  16. Jane Howe Sievers says:

    Al, sending love and prayers for you, Barb, Nate. This is a watershed event…keep journaling, keep your faith in the doctors and remember you are God’s child and in his care. Will look for updates of more heartfelt thoughts as you move forward. Jane and Alden

  17. Keenan's says:

    Good Luck. Will be think of you and Barb Wedenday

  18. Charlie Koenigsaecker says:

    This seven week series has been the worst remake of Groundhog Day imaginable! Who comes up with these ideas?

    Al I’m really looking forward to the next time I run into you and Barb. Newly invigorated, your Crusin’ performances should deliver
    the full load of that Collins rock’n’roll magic. Best vibes out to you all, hope to see you soon!

  19. Sean Kelly says:

    Your supporters across the pond in Japan are pulling for you. We’re thinking of you and the family.

  20. I’m a friend of Matt’s and an Iowa girl though it’s been a long time since I lived there. I’ll keep you, your family, and your caregivers in my prayers.

  21. Max Allan Collins says:

    You lovely people have proved my point — readers, acquaintances and long-time friends (some of whom I haven’t heard from in a while) have stepped up to send their support and good wishes. Lots of prayers and positive vibes are going out to me, and I couldn’t be happier.

    I’m off in a few hours — the surgery is at 6 a.m. in Rock Island, and that’s good, because I won’t be awake yet. The point of the exercise is to be awake later in the day.

    Love and thanks to you all.

  22. Chris Aldrich says:

    Sending warm wishes for a speedy recovery…you are not alone by a long shot!

  23. marilee reinertson torres says:

    looking forward to reading YOUR updates regarding the challenges and joys of recovery. may the force be with you and the odds ever in your favor :) thoughts and prayers from me and mine to you and yours

  24. Josh Pachter says:

    Good luck, Max. Don’t push too hard during recovery: slow and steady wins the race.

  25. Tom Suman says:

    My prayers are with you and Barb. I’m a friend of Jim Van Winkle and Steve Kundel. I have met you a couple of times. I pray the surgery goes well and you have a quick and unproblematic recovery. My prayers extend beyond that to family and friends.

  26. Mary Duros says:

    Max, you’re in surgery now. You got this! I had open heart surgery as a kid. Was scared shitless, too. Made it through and I’m 53 now. Best wishes and prayers your way for an awesome and speedy recovery!

  27. Gerard Saylor says:

    My best wishes for a smooth convalescence.

  28. Joe Menta says:

    Best wishes and positive vibes being sent your way from the the Philadelphia area. I’ll be thinking of you during my workday on Wednesday.

  29. Tom Zappe/St Louis says:

    Eh, what’s update?

  30. Gerard Saylor says:


    Nate here: Dad came through the surgery well. It sounds like everything got put back in the right place, and he’s in recovery right now.

  31. Tom Zappe/St Louis says:


  32. Andi Shechter says:

    Hey, you! I am SO glad you finally were able to get this surgery done. I wish you an easy recovery. Thanks to Nate and Barb for looking out for you and keeping us up to date. We want you well, Al, okay?

  33. John Hocking says:

    Yes! Your work has given me more enjoyment than I can say for more years than I like to consider.
    Please take it easy, heal up and, after getting enough of that done, write some more state-of-the-art hardboiled fiction.


  34. Terri Willits Wiebenga says:

    Al, you have been in our thoughts throughout this ordeal. We’re so glad to hear the surgery went well. We think of you often and really miss your laugh. xoxoxoxo

  35. Mike Dennis says:

    So glad to hear everything went according to script, Max. We’re all pulling for you to get well fast!

  36. Ron Clinton says:

    Great to hear it all went well, MAC…wishing you a fast recovery and fine health.

  37. Mike Doran says:

    Over the years, from relatives and others, I’ve heard tales about the Zipper Club.

    A club that you don’t particularly want to join – but once you’re in, it becomes a point of pride.

    Oddly enough, one of the few dramatic offerings that addressed this was an episode of THE COSBY SHOW.

    The only appearance thereon by Robert Culp, who played the surgeree.

    Funny, pointed show, as I recall – Culp and Cos were in good form, as though all the years after I SPY (and HICKEY AND BOGGS, for that matter) hadn’t passed.
    So was Ann Reinking, who played Culp’s wife (she was a major crush of mine, then as now).

    I’m not exactly sure why I brought this up, save as part of the “You are not alone” theme of these comments.

    Hey, at least it beats a roomful of smelly flowers and kiddie balloons …

    Relax, have some laffs, and let’s hope you make it to C&S before this year is out.

  38. You’re in our thoughts and prayers. Steve and Jan

  39. Tom Zappe/St Louis says:

    The 3:25 update is the kind of wonderful news we are all looking to hear. Keep them coming.

  40. Joe Menta says:

    Yes, Nate, thanks for that second update. Glad to hear things are moving in the right direction.

  41. J. Sindell says:

    Wishing you well after your surgery, sir. I’ve been turning on one friend after another to your Quarry series, and it’s wonderful now that they’re all back in print. But of course that’s all secondary to your health. Be well.

  42. Mike Schmoldt says:

    Best Wishes Max! Wishing you a speedy recovery. We’re looking forward to more of your writing and great titles from you.