My Life in Crime Begins

August 24th, 2021 by Max Allan Collins

For the next seven weeks, leading up to the publication by NeoText of Fancy Anders Goes to War – as both a Kindle e-book and trade paperback – I will be writing a kind of literary memoir about my various book series.

These will be fairly in-depth essays of around 2500 words each. Installments on Nolan, Quarry, Heller, Ms. Tree and Road to Perdition will culminate in a piece about Fancy Anders. They will appear at the NeoText web site – a very entertaining affair with in particular great material about film, particularly the genre stuff from the last seventy years or so that has tended to get lost in the shuffle.

NeoText has invited me to continue writing these essays in support of other books of mine that will be appearing over the next several years, not necessarily published by them. It’s very generous and is allowing me to sum things up about my writing life in a more focused manner than the (I hope) fun but willy nilly manner I indulge in here.

For these seven weeks, the essays will be the primary content of this update/blog. There will continue to be news and links and occasional blathering, but mostly I will be confined to writing these essays.

Here is this week’s – I think you’ll enjoy it, and you’ll find it lavishly illustrated, as will be all the future entries.

* * *

My Mike Hammer editor at Titan, my pal Andrew Sumner, has been ailing of late. But he’s on the mend, which is great news. Here’s his latest interview with me.

* * *

Tom Helberg of Sentai Filmworks led a discussion of the Lone Wolf and Cub series (manga, films, TV, etc.) featuring film reviewer Ed Travis and myself, with an emphasis on how Road to Perdition was influenced by Lone Wolf.

And here’s the trailer for Sentai’s streaming of the 1973 Lone Wolf and Cub TV series.

* * *

I was not a huge fan of writer/director Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite. The film held me but I was unable to fix upon what point he was trying to make – were the rich the actual parasites? The poor? Both? And the resolutely downbeat, violent ending seemed imposed upon the material, not the natural resolution.

But many disagree with me, smart people at that, so it’s just might be I was wrong. Perhaps I’ll revisit it someday. I do know I very much liked Bong Joon Ho’s earlier (2003) film, Memories of Murder (out on Criterion Blu-ray). It’s a police procedural based on a notorious real case in South Korea. The early tone is almost farcical, as the incompetent smalltown cops deal with a serial killer ways alternately buffoonish and thugish. After a young, cool big city inspector joins them to get the case on track, the tone gradually shifts but still has comic moments.

But the story edges toward the abyss as the serial killings continue and the cool cop becomes haunted and frazzled by the crimes. The conclusion will unsettle viewers today, but I warn you not to read anything about this film before giving it a try and, if you have the excellent Criterion edition, make sure to reserve time to watch the supplementary material about the real serial killings and their surprising resolution.


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2 Responses to “My Life in Crime Begins”

  1. Tim Field says:

    It was fascinating to read about your influences (loved the illustrations) and I look forward to each weekly installment.

  2. Ray Cuthbert says:

    Thanks for A Life In Crime, Part One – nice to see! I’m pretty familiar with your stated influences as you have talked and written about them often. However, it is great to have them put down in a concise form with wonderful illustrations!