No Book Today, No Antiques Giveaway (Sung to the Tune of “No Milk Today” by Herman’s Hermits)

October 4th, 2022 by Max Allan Collins
Antiques Liquidation Cover
E-Book: Kobo

We would have liked on this update to announce a book giveaway for the Barbara Allan mystery, Antiques Liquidation, from Severn, the publication date of which is…today. But the copies we requested for the promotion have not yet arrived, so that will have to wait.

You may have more difficulty than usual finding this new novel about the comic misadventures of Brandy and Vivian Borne, because the last two books don’t seem to have made it into the Barnes & Noble buying system, at least not in any major way. Or BAM! either. That may change, and the handsome trade paperback of the previous one, Antiques Carry On, may be easier to find. (The return policy of our UK-based publisher is kinder on the trade paperbacks than the hardcovers.)

The focus of Severn (not exclusively, but their main market) is libraries, where the Trash ‘n’ Treasures mysteries have always been strong.

Barb is working on her draft of the next one, Antiques Foe (pun on “faux”) while I work on the Nate Heller RFK book, Too Many Bullets. We have another book on the Severn contract so there will be at least one more of those. Barb is making noises about wrapping up the series, and she may be serious, but she has been making that threat for the last several books. They read fast and are fun, but they are hard books to write.

A long-running series has its delights and pitfalls, which are sometimes the same thing, like the pleasure of spending time with old friends (Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe are too of my favorite people even though they never really existed) and the nagging feeling you’re repeating yourself.

Probably the best (and hardest) thing about writing the Nate Heller novels is that each real crime/mystery I deal with is so different from the others that I never fall into the trap so many mystery writers have in their series – writing the same book again and again. Chandler is as good they come and yet he worked a very small patch of farmland over and over and never even bothered to rotate the crops.

Even when a Heller has a similar crime – the forthcoming The Big Bundle, like Stolen Away, is about a kidnapping – the difference in eras and personalities involved as well as the circumstances of the crimes keeps thing nicely different.

Barb is endlessly inventive in ways to get the girls into trouble, and I hope she’ll do at least three or four more of ‘em.

* * *

I hesitate to talk about my health issues because it only gets people writing me with concern even as I come across alarmist and whiny. But just about everybody my age has health issues, and lately mine has been A-fib. I had the cardioversion procedure not long ago – the third or fourth I’ve had since my 2016 heart adventures began – but it didn’t take (this is where I am jump-started like an old Buick). I have to go back in to repeat the procedure later this month.

Prepping for it, I was put on a really strong medication that set me on my ass (a medical condition, obviously) whereby my shortness of breath and wheezing, related to the A-fib, got much, much worse. Last night was an utterly sleepless one. Obviously, a bad reaction to the meds.

So I have stopped taking that particular medication and am close to normal (as if I ever was) but I tire easily and will be lucky just to keep up with my work till I get this behind me.

There is a very good chance that stress is responsible, and of course that I am responsible for that stress. I am a rave and ranter. My wife, in her first-floor office, hears coming from above blistering flurries of obscenities and rage that would bring tears to the gentle eyes
of any United States Marine. I am trying to keep in mind the mantra from Bill Murray in Meatballs – “It just doesn’t matter, it just doesn’t matter….”

And it really doesn’t. But everything I’ve accomplished in my career has come out of enthusiasm and intensity, by caring more about my work than I logically should. My biggest concern right now is that I don’t die before finishing Too Many Bullets. Which is a dumb-ass thing to be thinking, particularly from a guy who has been finishing one Mickey Spillane novel after another.

The punchline of this self-pitying soliloquy is that that’s why his week’s update is so damn short.

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A Long Time Dead Cover
E-Book: Amazon Nook Kobo iTunes

Some very nice reviews for Kill Me If You Can, the 75th anniversary Mike Hammer novel, at Amazon. Here’s a link where you can read them (and order the book!).

A very nice review of the Hammer short story “Skin” appears at the essential site, Paperback Warrior. [“Skin” can be found in the short story collection A Long Time Dead. The e-book is currently only $2.99 at Amazon and B&N. –Nate]

Here’s an interesting look at the locations used shooting the film version of Road to Perdition.

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8 Responses to “No Book Today, No Antiques Giveaway (Sung to the Tune of “No Milk Today” by Herman’s Hermits)”

  1. Raymond Cuthbert says:

    Hang in there Max! We expect to hear from you on this blog every week for a long time to come!

  2. Mike Doran says:

    Hello again.

    This past Friday was my 72nd birthday.
    At present, I don’t have any major health issues (at least not at your level); I’m just slogging along, retiree on a fixed income, with a condo where everything goes wrong (not at the same time, but no fun at all).
    The latest wrong thing: you may have noticed that I seem to have a different Email than I’ve had for many years.
    I put it that way because I can’t get either of the addresses (the old longtime one or the newly imposed one) to work at all.
    For all intents and purposes, I haven’t got Email: can’t send it, and now apparently can’t receive it either.
    It’s a long and highly frustrating story, of which I’ll spare you the gruesome details.
    Long Story Short: Email is not available to me as of now, so don’t bother trying …

    Today, I’m suppose to get the new Antiques book; I’ll be ordering the new Heller as soon as it’s available; all else is in the hands of the fates (Amazon mostly).
    In idle moments (and I’ve got a bunch of those), I still wonder when (or whether) the Penguin Mob is going to put out the fourth Mike Hammer collection as a BOOK; be kind of nice to have that, however late it might be -but the days dwindle down …

    Any The Hoo, I hope I can get at least one more in-person with you and Barb, possibly in this calendar year; I probably won’t be able to manage a draywagon full of books for you to sign, but I’ll settle for a handshake from you (and maybe a hug from Barb).
    In the meantime, Long Live The House Of Collins!

  3. Stephen Borer says:

    Am in agreement with Mr. Cuthbert, stay with us & best wishes for the “procedure “ !

  4. Russell W Fish says:

    I’ve had A Long Time Dead on my shelf for awhile and the Paperback Warrior review encouraged me to take it down and read it. I usually have trouble getting into short story collections, but this one is really fine. I loved it. Great Job, I’m sorry I didn’t get to it sooner. I just finished the latest Mike Hammer book ( and reviewed it) and was really pleased with that one too. Happy 75th Mr. Hammer!

  5. Dan Collins says:

    I’m not much for prayer but I will pray for you. I went back and reread your eulogy-love letter about your dog. We just put down my eighteen y.o. rat terrier today and your writing helped me.Please take care of yourself I would miss your writing and this weekly blog. God bless you and your whole family.

  6. These are all lovely comments and I appreciate them very much.

    Mike Doran, happy birthday to one of our favorite readers (right in there with Stephen Borer). I continue to lobby NAL to at least provide a POD of the 4th Hammer collection, and the House that Spillane Built just isn’t interested.

    Russell, I’m glad you cracked the cover on A LONG TIME DEAD. I think it’s a fun, strong book, and there’s Spillane content all over the place.

    Dan, Raymond, your good wishes are gratefully accepted. I had a surprising number of comments and e-mails when I wrote about the beloved (and quite nuts) Toaster.

  7. Charlie Koenigsaecker says:

    Love those Graham Gouldman songs from the ’60s.

    Getting your books written is important, but keeping you alive is more important, especially for a classy chick named Barb. Take it easy, pal, and do whatever maintaining your health requires. Never seen you ranting and raving, and I’ve seen you in some hairy situations over the years, but sometimes the slings and arrows will best the best of us. Take care of yourself.

  8. Great to have a post from Charlie K., one of my oldest friends in the music side of my life. Thanks for the kind and generous words, Charlie. My ranting and raving usually is work-related — frustrations from everything and anything related to that…copy editors overstepping, my work area getting out of hand, research problems. Recently an editor disrespected me throughout a major project — treated me with contempt, actually, and I finally blew, a little. Nate was asked what he missed about living at home, shortly after he moved to a college dorm, and he said, “Listening to my dad fire himself over the phone.” This refers to me telling off various bosses. I try to be diplomatic and professional out in the bigger world; in my smaller one it can get loud and, yes, hairy.