Binge on Books – It’s Good for You!

April 7th, 2020 by Max Allan Collins

I know many of you are bingeing on books while on lockdown, presumably my books – and remember, in addition to the recent publication of Do No Harm, Girl Can’t Help It and Masquerade for Murder, some fourteen Nathan Heller titles are available all month at 99-cents per. There’s also an Antiques title – Antiques Frame – available for $1.99 on Nook at Barnes & Noble. [Links: Hellers on Kindle, Antiques Frame on Nook]

E-books have been great to me in recent years, though I’ve never returned the compliment by reading anything on a Kindle or a Nook myself. I am an unrepentant, unapologetic reader of physical books. I collect them. I even hoard them. My suspicion is that many of you fall into the same cheerfully psychotic category.

But I understand that physical books are moving somewhat erratically through the mails right now. I’ve experienced this myself, although the emphasis is on “erratically.” Sometimes a book will arrive the day after you order it, and sometimes…well, it hasn’t arrived yet.

That’s because people are ordering items – such trivialities as food and clothing – from Amazon, who in their wisdom have deemed books non-essential. So us Prime Members will probably get a hefty refund check from Mr. Bezos, right? Well, maybe not. But this strikes me as a good time for people with Kindles and/or Nooks to buy e-books. And for those of you who have been thinking about bringing a bouncing baby e-book reader into the family, this seems like a fine time to do so.

We had hoped to launch a book giveaway this week, but Barb and I are under a more severe quarantine at the moment, because I was exposed to somebody who tested positive for Covid-19, and Barb has some symptoms and got tested today. Nothing like a Sunday afternoon at an Urgent Care Center! So we decided not to send any of you Corona Virus as a bonus giveaway. When we have a clean bill of health, we will.

We are not special. Expressions of concern should be reserved for yourself and your neighbors and this entire country. You can also send one up to the Big Guy in the Sky to encourage our federal government to get its ass in gear. That is, unless you think medical supplies should be sold at e-bay type auction. I don’t.

Some of you who have laid your hot little hands on Masquerade for Murder may have noticed it’s dedicated to Gary Sandy. Gary – who co-stars with Patty McCormack in Mommy’s Day (available on Blu-ray as a double-feature with Mommy, in case you haven’t been paying attention) appeared as Mike Hammer in the two productions of my radio-style play, Encore for Murder. The most recent one was in 2017 in Clearwater, Florida.

It was a terrific show, with noir-ish background music and a shifting video backdrop…and Gary was fantastic, carrying the whole thing on his back. It was produced by Zev Buffman, a legendary Broadway producer who revitalized Clearwater’s Ruth Eckerd Hall, a major venue (the other act appearing while Encore for Murder was playing was some nobody called Jackson Browne).

Zev mounted it beautifully, and early last year we were going to do a second Hammer radio-style play, The Little Death at the Clearwater venue when politics at the theater wound up with Zev retiring and our already announced production being dropped by the new people.

Zev passed away last week. He was 89, and one of the most vital show biz people I ever met. A lovely man. Take a bow, Zev.

Thank you, Gary, for bringing him into my life.

Left to right, Producer Zev Buffman, writer M.A.C., star Gary Sandy, director Richard Rice.
* * *

Here’s some nice attention for Ms. Tree and the upcoming collection, Skeleton in the Closet.

Even more Ms. Tree love right here!

And a really nice overview of Ms. Tree is right here.

Here’s a great look at Terry Beatty and Rex Morgan, with a link to a podcast with Terry that gets into Ms. Tree and a lot more.

Thomas McNulty’s review of Masquerade for Murder is wonderful, in part because of how much fun it is to read.

Here is another splendid Masquerade for Murder review.

Screenrant thinks Paul Newman’s last great performance was in Road to Perdition. So do I!

More nice Road to Perdition stuff here – by the way, it’s streaming on Netflix right now.

Book Page has rerun an interview with me from a couple years ago. Might be worth a look, if you missed or if your memory is like mine.

Finally, the Stilleto Gumshoe has this great review (and more!) of Do No Harm.

Stay safe!


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5 Responses to “Binge on Books – It’s Good for You!”

  1. Thomas Zappe says:

    Max, on behalf of your regular readers I want to thank you for the vital service you are providing.

    There are no new TV shows in production, soon it will be nothing but re-runs on the tube. We have no fresh athletic events going out over the air, just back episodes of Tiger Woods’ greatest comebacks on the Golf Channel.

    We have no Friday Night Fish Frys at the local Catholic church to let us know it’s Lent. There are no Masses I can go to and play the flute while the choir sings hymns the lyrics to which I ignore [I’m just in the band]. The work week for those who were employed until recently is now a complete shambles.

    The droning of the drones in DC is debilitating

    The cable news commentators have no hair left to set on fire.

    Anything live with actors, hookers or musicians is on lockdown for the foreseeable future.

    Max, we all in your debt. Your weekly forway into self promotion at least lets us know it’s Tuesday at 9 am Central time. Without that, many of us would be suffering a temporal disorientation from which we might never recover.

    Our gratitude is boundless.

  2. Thomas, I like to think of it as selfless promotion.

  3. Sean Kelly says:

    As a Kobo ereader user (more common in Japan and run by Rakuten who owns Overdrive), I use mine to mostly read at night when my wife wants to sleep. It’s easier than using a flashlight under the sheets. I do prefer the real books though and usually buy those from my favorite authors. I just need to figure out where to squeeze in the extra bookshelves to fit them all.

    I saw the obit for Mr. Buffman in the Tampa Bay Times. I would have loved to see Hammer on the stage, but alas I had to be out of town for the years surrounding the show.

    And now that Netflix is streaming Road to Perdition again, it is time to introduce the kid to another great movie.

  4. Sam Hartwell says:

    Currently bingeing on Hamilton (The Silencers) and Fleming (Dr No). They are both truly excellent at layering intrigue and at the end-of-the-chapter hook.

    Thank you for these posts, and for your indefatigable defense of Spillane.

    Hope you and your wife are well.

  5. Tim McNally says:

    I have just started to read your Heller series. Just a quick note on your Italian. When someone says “capisce?”, the answer would be capisco.