Black Hats & A Book Giveaway!

August 7th, 2018 by Max Allan Collins

[Note from Nate: The giveaway is over! Thank you for participating!] The book giveaway this week is for the upcoming Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago, which will be published August 14. I have five finished copies and five bound galley proofs (ARC’s). The first five to respond get the finished book, the next five the bound galley. Winners are requested to post a review at Amazon, a blog, Barnes & Noble or any combination thereof.

This week’s update, however, is mostly about Black Hats, a new edition of which has just been published by Brash Books. For the first time, the book has my real byline, and not “Patrick Culhane.”

Brash has done a spiffy job on it, and I hope to get some copies from them for another book giveaway like the one above. Brash is also going to be bringing out Red Sky in Morning under my preferred title, and that will have the Max Allan Collins byline for the first time, too.

Black Hats is a good companion piece to Scarface and the Untouchable, because it’s about young Al Capone encountering old Wyatt Earp. Though their meeting is fanciful, the research for the book was on the order of the Heller saga and it is one of my favorite novels, and one that continues to attract very serious Hollywood attention.

Harrison Ford has been interested in playing Earp pretty much ever since the novel first came out, and he is still part of the mix – nothing signed-sealed-delivered, mind you. But that he has maintained this continued interest in the novel is exciting.

That’s all I can say at the moment, but if you’ve never read this one, send for the Brash Books edition, please. You will not find it in many book stores – the e-book will drive this one, though the “real” book that Brash has produced is handsome indeed.

E-Book: Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

How did the byline “Patrick Culhane” come to appear on both Black Hats and Red Sky? Forgive me if you’ve heard this one, but I believe it’s one of the truly remarkable fuck-ups of my career, and one of the rare ones that I didn’t cause myself.

Shortly after Road to Perdition was a huge movie and the novelization made the USA Today bestseller list and the graphic novel made the New York Times bestseller list, some guy at Border’s (remember them?) told my then-publisher that he was a huge M.A.C. fan, but could sell more M.A.C. books if only the name M.A.C. wasn’t on the cover. I was too well-known, it seems, as a guy who wrote series novels. He promised huge sales if we did some standalone thrillers under a new byline.

Oddly, my real identity was never hidden. It’s prominently revealed on the jackets of both books.

I did not want to do this. My editor stopped short of insisting that I go along with it, and my agent suggested alienating my editor was a really bad idea. And Border’s was really, really powerful, right? So I came up with “Patrick Culhane,” the “Patrick” after my mother Patricia and “Culhane” as a Collins variant.

Understand that I hate pseudonyms. I fought to have my name go on my movie and TV tie-ins, figuring (correctly) that having my byline on things like Saving Private Ryan, Air Force One, American Gangster, CSI and so on would only building my audience. All of those titles either made the New York Times list or USA Today’s or both.

The only time I used a pseudonym was on the novelization I Love Trouble, because it was going to be out at the same time as another novelization, plus the movie stunk. I used Patrick again, but also my mother’s maiden name, Rushing, which seemed apt for a book written on a crazy deadline.

I use my name on all but the above exceptions because I am proud of my work, and I want to keep myself honest. I don’t want to hide. I want to acquire readers, not run away from them.

Anyway, I am very pleased that Brash Books – the people who brought you the complete Road to Perdition prose novel, something I thought I would never see – are restoring my name to two of my favorite books. They will also soon be publishing Red Sky under my preferred title, USS Powderkeg.

Now the only thing still unpublished is my original, very loose adaptation of the Dick Tracy movie, in which I fixed all its problems and sins. Getting that in print, however, is a real long shot….

* * *

The advance buzz on Scarface and the Untouchable keeps building.

The Strand’s blog has published a list by my co-author and me looking at ten surprising facts about Al Capone and Eliot Ness.

We are one of the Saturday Evening Post’s top ten late summer reads, for example.

And the History News Network has published an article that Brad and I wrote about the Trump/Manafort/Mueller parallels.

Mystery People showcases us, too.

Out of the blue, here’s an interesting look at Quarry’s List, the second Quarry novel, with lots of comments from readers.

The graphic novel, Quarry’s War, gets a boost here, in a somewhat surprising context. [Note from Nate: This is so bizarre.]

On the Mike Hammer/Spillane front, here’s an interview I did at San Diego Comic Con a few weeks ago.

And another.

Finally, here is a terrific, smart review from the smart, terrific J. Kingston Pierce about Killing Town.


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9 Responses to “Black Hats & A Book Giveaway!”

  1. Glen Davis says:

    Harrison Ford had so much juice in Hollywood, but he never seemed to do much with it. I’ve been hoping he would make a comeback for it seems like at least 10 years now. Hopefully, Black Hats is the vehicle.

  2. Brian Drake says:

    Black Hats is a terrific book and if anybody hasn’t taken the plunge, you simply must read this one, and I’m happy to see the Brash Book edition coming out. It’s delightful in more ways than one, and the appearance of O. Henry and a certain exchange he has with Wyatt Earp still makes me smile.

    Having never read USS Powderkeg (it was on my list to get back in the day and somehow slipped by) I’m looking forward that that, too.

  3. Ron Fortier says:

    Hi Max, have wanted a copy of Black Hats for ages. If you’ve one to spare, would be most grateful. Thanks, regardless.

  4. Andrew Hudson says:

    I would love to see your original adaptation of Dick Tracy printed, especially after being a fan of the published one.

    And if Warren Beatty is serious about doing a follow up movie, who knows. Maybe we’ll see one of your adaptation sequels brought to life on the silver screen.

  5. Everyone — the SCARFACE AND THE UNTOUCHABLE giveaway is over…five hardcovers and five ARCs were all I had and they were snapped up toot sweet.

    The BLACK HATS giveaway is not official yet — waiting to get some copies from Brash Books.

    Thanks the comments above, everyone!

  6. Frank says:

    I have always LOVED Black Hats and your 3 prose Dick Tracy novels. Anyone who missed these should read them.

  7. Mike Doran says:

    Idle Question:

    Seeing as how That Man In The White House has expressed a sidelong interest in the life of Alphonse Capone (however he might spell the name), do you suppose your publishers might try to turn such “interest” into some talk show bookings for yourself and Mr. Schwartz?
    Maybe even send a copy to That Man for a notice?
    (Yeah, I know, who’d read it to him?)
    Still, it might be kinda nice to see you guys on an MSNBC show or two, hawking the work (and maybe a mention of other wares from the Collins Collection).
    Who knows, maybe even an appearance with Colbert (he’d be the best fit in late night for this) …

    Dreaming, I know – but dream big, OK?

    To one week from Sunday at C&S!

  8. Mike Doran says:

    Just read your post at Something Is Going To Happen.

    You and Mr. Schwartz should be sending this out to every talk show in the nation – it’ll save them the trouble of a pre-interview.

    But your own experience in interview-giving should see you through in any case.

    Seriously, I hope that this is The Breakthrough – your ticket to the fame that has long eluded you and Barb.

    … and I can spend the rest of my days telling everybody “I knew them When …”

    It could happen …

  9. Thomas Zappe says:

    I cannot find “Something is Going to Happen”. What/Where is it?