Jimmy Leighton Lives!

October 26th, 2021 by Max Allan Collins
The Many Lives of Jimmy Leighton, without text, trimmed
E-Book: Amazon Purchase Link
Trade Paperback: Amazon Purchase Link

The Many Lives of Jimmy Leighton by Dave Thomas and me goes on sale today in both Kindle and physical book form. It’s quite reasonably priced – on sale at $3.99 for the e-book and $8.99 for the “real” book.

As I am still working on the Spillane biography, I am again making the Jimmy Leighton/Dave Thomas entry in my literary memoir, A Life in Crime, the major piece this time around. Link to it here.

For reasons not entirely clear – I believe the technical term is “screw up” – the physical book went on sale a couple of weeks early. Because of that I’ve had some nice e-mails from people praising the book – completely unbiased types like Terry Beatty – and I’m starting to feel a warm fuzzy glow about it.

Now I will get down on my figurative knees and beg (can’t pull that off easily with my literal knees these days): if you read and like this book, please give it an Amazon rating and write at least a brief review. We’re starting to get some nice media attention – Dave and I are recording Gilbert Gottfried’s podcast this evening – but the book will almost certainly be ignored by the mainstream publishing trades (Publisher’s Weekly and so on). We did not make the necessary three- to six-month lead time to get review copies to them. (See explanation of technical term above.)

So, more than ever we need your reviews. The physical book is only available at Amazon – not in bookstores and not even at the Barnes & Noble site, at least not yet. And the e-book is strictly for Kindle. I hope to do a book giveaway soon to prime the review pump, but don’t have copies in hand yet.

This book – I mentioned this last week – is not a novella, like Fancy Anders Goes to War. It’s a 90,000-word novel, a contemporary crime novel/s-f hybrid. We had originally signed up with Neo Text to publish it in three novella-length parts. But – and here is where Dave and I did our part to help screw things up – at the last minute we decided we preferred it to be published in a single volume.

I really love The Many Lives of Jimmy Leighton. It’s a type of story I’ve long wanted to tell – in the vein of It’s a Wonderful Life, Ground Hog Day, Here Comes Mr. Jordan and A Christmas Carol. The closest I’ve come previously is the novella “A Wreath for Marley.” If you generally like my work, I would be astonished if you didn’t like this. In fact, I guarantee that will you like – stopping short of the “your money back” part.

* * *
Dune Promo Photo

Dune is the first new movie we’ve streamed at home that Barb and I kinda wish we’d seen in a theater. I almost like the wacky David Lynch version of this material, but found it mostly silly. I was surprised to like this serious take on the s-f classic so much; Barb liked it, too. Even in an age where we take CGI for granted, this one is visually stunning, transporting you to a world unlike our own (except for the politics).

It’s not called Dune, actually – it’s Dune and then, in the kind of fine print usually reserved for contracts they don’t want you to really read, Part One. Lynch had squeezed the whole book into a couple of hours and change, which is partly why it’s such a rough ride (inherently quirky, Dune hardly needed David Lynch to make it more so).

Be forewarned: the new and improved Dunecomes out of the gate slow, or anyway leisurely. There’s a lot to process and time is spent grounding the viewer. Lynch did an endless opening narration that had your head spinning before the film really started.

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A Return to Salem's Lot Blu-Ray Cover

I’ll make a Halloween recommendation.

I had never seen writer/director Larry Cohen’s A Return to Salem’s Lot(1987). At the time, the barely released, sort of sequel to the Salem’s Lot mini-series (Cohen did a script for that but it was rejected) was savaged by most critics. But Cohen is consistent about only one thing in his filmmaking: he doesn’t care what you think. This is his version of Our Town but with vampires.

It has one of the oddest and in my view coolest casts ever, starting with Michael Moriarty, who combines sincerity and confusion in a unique mix, his seriousness as an actor relieved by a puckish sense of humor. Playing rather ancient vampires are (get ready) Evelyn Keyes (from Here Comes Mr. Jordan!) and June Havoc (“Baby June,” Gypsy’s sister!), with Andrew Duggan (Bourbon Street Beat) as the folksy town patriarch. Playing a sort of senior-citizen sideick to Moriarty is Samuel Fuller – you heard me! The great director, cigar in his mouth, charges into the last third of the movie and just takes over; it’s an incredible, fearless performance. Also featured are lots of blood, gnarly special events and some of the least convincing rubber monster masks ever committed to film. It’s the kind of film that just skips narrative steps and plants exposition in the mouths of characters to apply spackle over your questions. When it bothers to.

I couldn’t have had a better time.

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This is a rather wonderful dual interview with Dave Thomas and me that ran in the Edmonton Journal, conducted by the sublimely named Fish Griwkowsky.

Here’s one of those announcement type posts about Jimmy Leighton, with a great look at Fay Dalton’s wonderful cover art.


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3 Responses to “Jimmy Leighton Lives!”

  1. Rob Brooks says:

    I agree on Dune, I really enjoyed the movie but I wish I’d gone to the theater for it. On the plus side, at home I can turn on subtitles, which thankfully kept me updated as to when “mournful music” was being played! Spoiler alert, it’s a lot. The movie was rough for a couple of my family members who maybe have been trained by Hollywood that movies have to be completely action-packed, because as you mentioned, it is indeed a slow burn.

  2. Ray Cuthbert says:

    I’m sorry to see “A Life in Crime” end – at least for a time – but it was nice to have it go out with a bang and not a whimper. The story of your fannish enjoyment of SCTV had the greatest ending of all – with Dave Thomas.

  3. stephenborer says:

    The article on the writing and promoting of the collaborative novel is stunningly good. And there’s nothing wrong with being a polite fan. Heck, sometimes you even get a hug from a writer ( Hi Barb !)