Both Girls Are on Sale, Plus the Perdition Saga

June 9th, 2020 by Max Allan Collins

Some great deals on Kindle this week.

First, Brash Books is offering the complete Perdition saga (novels, not graphic novels), which includes the long suppressed full-length novelization of Road to Perdition, plus my two sequels, Road to Purgatory and Road to Paradise. The fine folks at Brash are offering this through Amazon for a mere $9.99.

Girl Can’t Help It is on sale for $1.99 as a Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle book deal from now through June 30. And Girl Most Likely is just $0.99 in that same sale.

All three Reeder and Rogers novels are, too – $1.99 each as Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle book deals through the end of the month – Supreme Justice, Fate of the Union and Executive Order. [Note from Nate: if you purchase or own any of the Girl or Reeder and Rogers books on Kindle, the audiobooks might also be available at a significant discount — I’m seeing them for $1.99.]

Speaking of political intrigue….

This is going to be a little tricky to write, so forgive me.

I belong to a number of writers’ and screenwriters’ organizations. They vary from quite active, guilds for example, to others that serve mainly to be a means of presenting awards in a chosen genre, with all the stops between. All of these approaches seem valid to me.

One of these organizations – please don’t try to guess which, because I do not wish to embarrass or criticize anyone, really – briefly became embroiled in the current, understandably heated conversation about the Black Lives Matter movement and the police in America.

I think “Black lives matter” gets fuzzy, because there’s an organized group but also the phrase itself. I can see how someone might have an issue with the group, but not how anyone could really thoughtfully object to the phrase. The “all lives matter” response is glib – of course all lives matter. But pointing out that black lives matter reflects the undeniable reality that a minority has literally been on the firing line for as long as any of us can remember, and a lot longer than that.

Here’s where it gets tricky. A member of the writers group in question is a retired police officer. He objected to some of what was said (or at least implied) about the police, and pointed out that police are also on the firing line and have been stabbed and spit upon in the aftermath of the horrific crime that took the life of George Floyd. He specifically objected to a pro-Black Lives Matter statement from our organization because, as a member, he wasn’t in full agreement with it. (I should say that this exchange took place before the disturbing footage emerged of a seventy-five-year-old man being shoved to the pavement and left to bleed there.)

Many members of our organization responded negatively, a very few getting personal. I tried to pour some water on the fire, but may have inadvertently poured gasoline instead, when I suggested we add a line pointing out that most police officers, a good number of whom are African-Americans, are dedicated public servants.

No one liked that suggestion, and I quickly withdrew it.

Within perhaps an hour and a half of the discussion between members (on line) beginning, the former police officer resigned from our organization.

I have frankly been trying to process this. Part of me thinks, as a writers organization, we should not have waded into politics. And yet is racism really politics? Isn’t it the sin that has stained America from day one, and goes way beyond politics? Doesn’t it go past left and right and into simple humanity?

Of the various writing and filmmaking organizations I belong to, I share membership with writers whose work I admire, but others whose work I dislike. As artists, we don’t always agree – in fact, we often don’t. For me, it’s about storytelling and creativity. I can respect a fellow writer whose writing I don’t admire because that writer is living the writer’s life that I am, with the rewards but also the problems that come with it – chasing the next gig, for example. On a basic level, we’re all just trying to make a living. Professional writers, no matter what they think of each other’s work, have that in common.

I feel our organization should have respected this member and his right to disagree. And if he objected to the statement the organization made, he should have had a better option other than to resign. Anyway, I’m not sure an organization should make a statement that all of its members haven’t signed off on. That statement should probably have included only the names of those members who did. I would have gladly signed. Proudly signed.

This (now ex-)member was a work horse, a dedicated member of the organization, and an award winner. It makes me sad and a little sick that we have lost him. Part of me knows that creative people have to take a stand against something as major as racism, and yet I admit to keeping (mostly) quiet about political figures who seem to me to be blatantly racist because I don’t want to offend any of my readers. That’s probably cowardly, but I have a living to make, and maybe there’s a subversive aspect to my fiction that might make somebody’s thinking change or at least shift a little over time. I don’t know. Really don’t. Maybe I’m just a coward.

On the other hand, Quarry setting fire to a Ku Klux Klan rally in Quarry in the Black may have indicated where I’m coming from.

Limiting freedom of speech within our writing and screenwriting organizations to those who agree with us is antithetical to everything those of us who create for a living are about. And this ex-member’s objections did not reflect racism, but in fact spoke of years of effort to battle against it within the system.

An organization’s mission statement can spell out certain things that won’t be tolerated – racist bile would seem high on that list – but to be intolerant of a reasoned position from another point of view is dangerous. Someone in power whose name I won’t mention is pretty cavalier about the Constitution. Maybe the writing and screenwriting communities should take better care of the First Amendment.


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14 Responses to “Both Girls Are on Sale, Plus the Perdition Saga”

  1. Thomas Zappe says:

    In years to come it will be interesting to see how [if at all] and at what price we manage to thread these needles. We should probably start off by renting a copy [boy, did I just date myself] of 1776.

  2. Fred Blosser says:

    Well, here’s the problem. For every step forward in addressing and trying to rectify social injustice (there’s a title just waiting to be used for a Reeder & Rogers novel), we always take two steps back. And in the past 50 years, those who like the status quo just fine have increasingly sown confusion for their own benefit. They’ve dropped clearly provocative terms like “uppity,” instead using dog whistles to rally their faithful and muddle the discourse. “Law and Order.” “Welfare queens.” “Willie Horton.” “All lives matter.” “Stand your ground.” Given the moral vacuum at the top today (I won’t name names either), I’m pessimistic that the recent convulsions will result in any honest examination of racial inequality and police brutality. I’m not even confident that the level of outrage we’ve seen in the past two weeks will translate to the ballot box in November. On a much less somber note, glad to see that 2020 at least continues to be a productive year for you!

  3. Sam Hartwell says:

    “. . . racist bile would seem high on that list . . .”

    You mean the bile that accuses an entire country (America) of being racist? Or the bile that accuses an entire profession (the police) of being racist? Or perhaps the bile that accuses an entire race (whites — “white privilege”) of being racist?

    Congratulations. You’ve just helped to spread the big lie.

  4. Thomas, we watch 1776 every July 4.

    Thanks for you thoughtful comments, Fred.

    Sam, I guess racist bile is in the eyes and ears of the beholder. It’s interesting to me that my defense of a retired cop to speak his mind, and the implied unfairness of how he was treated, gets from you an accusation that I am spreading the “big lie” about police specifically and America generally. I would suggest that denying the role of racism in a country that had to fight a civil war over slavery is, if not a big lie, at least delusional. Of course I don’t mean that I consider the country racist or all police or most white people. My son predicted that I would pay for this post being nuanced.

  5. Thomas Zappe says:

    The problems with nuance are often reflected in the George Bernard Shaw observation that “The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language.”

    At this point in the story there is usually some enormous external threat [Nazis, an invasion of locusts or BEM’s from outer space] that cause people to pull together for a short while until the thin veneer of civilization wears through again.

    Unfortunately, the level of leadership [Churchill, Roosevelt or perhaps an Eisenhower] is so thin on the ground that even a plague is not enough to get the job done in the foreseeable future.

    It’ almost enough to make one feel stopable.

  6. Mike Doran says:

    Old Joke:
    “Hey, cheer up! Things could get worse!”
    So I cheered up! And sure enough, things got worse!

    We all ought to start out by acknowledging that this world is made up of human beings – who have this distressing proclivity towards individuality.
    No two alike – no matter what the demographics guys tell us.

    This is enormously inconvenient for the Simplifiers among us; it’s so much easier to cut out anybody who says one thing that differs from what The Rest Of Us are feeling (or say we feel, anyway).

    I grew up (so to speak) with people who could agree with 99% of what you said, but that last 1% could earn you personal exile (sneers and taunts optional).
    I’ve got loads of examples from my whole life, which I’ll spare the readers, since they probably have bunches of their own.
    As Sam Waterston said once on Law & Order, “It’s a messy world.” – Understatement of our lives.
    I stopped expecting Perfection In All Things a long time ago.
    It hasn’t made me happier, necessarily – very little does these days, comes to that – but …
    … I seem to have lost my thread here …

    As Orson Bean used to say occasionally on To Tell The Truth:

    “Make a question out of that, and answer it!”

    Meanwhile, all the best to the Collins Dynasty.
    (The new stuff is, or will be, on order.)

  7. Sam Hartwell says:

    “. . . in a country that had to fight a civil war . . .”

    You cite the Civil War to illustrate America’s “institutional racism”?! Perhaps you forgot which side won. And the price it paid.

  8. Sam, you seem intent on having an argument with me that requires putting words in my mouth to do so.

  9. Gary Kato says:

    Racism, and in fact all evil, can never be truly eliminated — by the simple fact that we all have free will. Only the individual
    can truly change himself. And when you get right down to it, isn’t it survival instinct that makes us wary of strangers? What do we tell
    our children about not trusting people they don’t know? Survival instinct only makes the leap to the evils of racism when we use it
    to block any attempt to get to know one another as individuals.

  10. Sam Hartwell says:

    “. . . putting words in my mouth to do so. . . .”

    Ain’t “nuance” great? No matter the position, one can say: “I agree/don’t agree with that.”

    Pick a lane.

  11. Hey, Sam — ain’t a lack of nuance great? With Us Vs. Them, no thinking is required — just follow the leader!

    I have no idea what your problem with me is. I defended an ex-cop when the writers organization he was part of treated him, in my opinion, in a questionable, perhaps shabby manner, and suggested writers should be more sensitive to the First Ammendment. I expected attacks from the left and got one only from (apparently) the right. Politically, I would say I am somewhat left of center — not enough so to please my son, enough so to displease some of my readers. I don’t pick a lane. I stand in the middle of the road where the crazies in both lanes can have an equal crack at me. And I’m fine with that, secure in the knowledge that no one ever won an argument on the Internet.

    No one. Me included.

  12. Tim Field says:

    Thought I would give you an update on some bookstores here in Minneapolis since you used to make a yearly appearance at Once Upon A Crime (those were great times with free ranging Q&As. You are quite the raconteur, sir.) Once Upon A Crime survived the upheaval – probably because it is a basement store in a residential neighborhood. Uncle Edgar’s/Uncle Hugo’s joint Mystery/SF bookstores were torched along with most everything on that strip of Chicago Avenue. Don’t know if Don Byerly plans to rebuild, but there is a GoFundMe to help with the damage costs. As for Greg Ketter’s Dreamhaven, it was broken into by would be arsonists – they broke some stuff, made a mess, and set fire to a book to set the store on fire when they were interrupted. The flaming book went out before it could set the store aflame – here’s where it gets really interesting – the book was Shelf Life, a collection of tales about bookstores published by Greg and the book snuffed out after burning part of the page signed by all the contributors – I’m told it stopped just before Harlan Ellison’s signature. Greg plans to put the sacred volume in a special showcase; Maggie Thompson thinks the book should be auctioned for fundraising. One commentator, upon reading that the book was signed by Harlan, was surprised that the book didn’t bite the arsonists. Dreamhaven just reopened this weekend, so that’s one for the good guys.

  13. Mike Doran says:

    To whoever rents 1776 in the near future:
    Make sure it’s one of the more recent editions – one that includes “Cool Considerate Men”.
    That’s the number that was cut from the theatrical release by Jack Warner at the direct request of then-President Nixon.
    You can likely guess the reason.
    I never saw the number until it was restored to the later DVD releases at the turn of this century (and to TCM’s print as well).

    I do wonder if That (Current) Man In The White House has ever seen 1776 in any of its forms …

    * … and really, did any of us ever think that we’d miss Nixon? … *

  14. Thomas Zappe says:

    Or George Bush either