Two Books for the Price of…Two Books

October 10th, 2023 by Max Allan Collins

[This just in: Max Allan Collins will be a guest on Robservations with Robert Meyer Burnett at 8 pm Central on YouTube today, Tuesday Oct. 10. –Nate]

[Last minute update: This link will go directly to the livestream video. –Nate]

* * *

Too Many Bullets, the new Nathan Heller novel, will be published on Oct. 10 (the day this update first appears). The Hard Case Crime release finds Heller witnessing the RFK assassination and then investigating just what it is that his lying eyes saw.

The new novel by Barbara Allan (Barb Collins and her husband, me) will be published November 7. Antiques Foe is the 17th novel in the series! It is funny as hell. By the way, “foe” in the title is a pun on “faux.”

The book giveaways to support Too Many Bullets are over, and we did not get enough author copies of Antiques Foe to spare any. But good news! There’s still a way for you to get copies of both – buy them. Yes, it’s a radical means of acquiring these novels, but it will work.

Too Many Bullets cover
E-Book: Kobo Google Play
Digital Audiobook: Kobo Google Play
Antiques Foe cover
E-Book: Nook Kobo iTunes
Digital Audiobook: Nook Kobo
Audiobook MP3 CD:
Audiobook CD:

For reasons I can’t tell you, advance reviews of Too Many Bullets have been scant to non-existent. Usually the Heller novels are widely reviewed by the “trades” (Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus, Library Journal), but so far…nothing.

Antiques Foe has had a couple of strong reviews from the trades. All I can think of is that the postponed publication of The Big Bundle till early this year has had the two Heller novels crashing against each other (but hopefully not burning). Too Many Bullets is a key Heller, an important entry in the saga, and I hope you will buy it, read it, love it, and review it – that’s not asking too much, is it?

If you received a copy in one of the two Too Many Bullets book giveaways, remember you can post a review today (the book has to have been published for Amazon to post any reviews). Not to mention Barnes & Noble and Goodreads and other review sites where it’s also worth posting.

Todd Stashwick
Todd Stashwick

On the Heller front, on Friday, Nov. 8, a talented cast was gathered in Hollywood by Robert Meyer Burnett and his business partner Mike Bawden to record a pilot for the podcast series based on the Heller novels. Headlining as Nate Heller is Todd Stashwick of Picard and 12 Monkeys fame. A Chicago boy, Todd makes an ideal Heller (I’ve heard the podcast session). That he’s a Star Trek fan favorite is an extra boost.

Although it will not be our first full-length production, the pilot is based on the first chapter of Stolen Away.
Much more about this later.

* * *

Daedalus books has two of my Mike Hammer novels in hardcover for $4.98 each, Murder My Love
and Masquerade for Murder.

Here is Ron Fortier’s review of Too Many Bullets (the first that I know of!) from his excellent site, Pulp Fiction Reviews.

By Max Allan Collins
Hard Case Crime
293 pgs

On June 5, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California and pronounced dead the following day. Kennedy, a United States senator and candidate in the 1968 Democratic Party presidential primaries, won the California and South Dakota primaries on June 4. He addressed his campaign supporters in the Ambassador Hotel’s Embassy Ballroom. After leaving the podium, and exiting through a kitchen hallway, he was mortally wounded by multiple shots fired by Sirhan. Kennedy died at Good Samaritan Hospital nearly 25 hours later. His body was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Kennedy’s assassination prompted the Secret Service to protect presidential candidates. In addition, it led to several conspiracy theories. It was the final of four major assassinations in the United States that occurred during the 1060s.”
For the record, we crimped the above from a Wikipedia page not wanting to repeat what most readers already know, or can easily become familiar with via that site or dozens of history books on Kennedy’s life and his death. What concerns Collins is the locale and the tightly packed hallway into the kitchen pantry where the murder took place. Relying on both voluminous research and his own gifted imagination, he pulls the reader into the midst of that chaos when bullets were suddenly fired into the crowed eliciting screams and panic. He sets Nate Heller, an old Kennedy friend, brought in to act as an impromptu bodyguard for the Senator, down into the middle of it all. Tragically the press of supporters stymies Heller’s effort to reach Kennedy and save him.

What few people today recall is that several other people were wounded in the shooting, thankfully none fatal other than Kennedy. They were wounded because of all the bullets that were fired supposedly by the lone gunman. This is the contradiction that confronts Heller days later when attempting to recall the event. He remembers too many bullets. Ultimately he is hired by newspaper journalist Drew Pearson to personally investigate the shooting and determine the truth.

Weaving Heller through an historical landscape, Collins offers up a suspenseful, well laid out narrative that is rife with inconsistencies and outright falsehoods. Heller knows a cover up when he runs into it head first; but that’s not enough. He needs to know the who(s) and is ultimately led down a highway that goes nowhere near the place called Justice. “Too Many Bullets” is both sad and thought provoking; a testimony to the one inescapable fact, we live in an imperfect world. So does Nate Heller.

* * *

Barb and I have been essentially in quarantine after catching Covid. We both had a couple of rough days, but the subsequent ones were like a bad cold. I am at Day Ten with Barb a day or so behind me. The doctors said we should quarantine for five days and, after that, go out masked. We have basically stayed quarantined for the full ten days.

I have had to work on the pre-production of Blue Christmas mostly from a distance with producer Chad Bishop carrying the ball. I did go out on Friday, masked up, at Menard’s to help our set design guy, Bill Turner, pick out and order materials, with me providing my checkbook.

We have a table read Monday evening. Who was that masked man? Me.

It’s starting to feel real.

If you wish to contribute, $100 will get you mentioned in the credits of Blue Christmas as a friend of the production. You can get an Associate Producer credit for $500. Send your ill-gotten gains to Max Allan Collins, 301 Fairview Avenue, Muscatine, Iowa 52761. [Or at the IndieGoGo crowdfunding page! –Nate]


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6 Responses to “Two Books for the Price of…Two Books”

  1. stephenborer says:

    You and Barb keep recovering !

  2. Terry Beatty says:

    Daedalus also has DO NO HARM at $4.98– and the Eliot Ness/Mad Butcher book for a nice price as well.

  3. Robbiecube says:

    Just back from Madison West B & N, where they’d just gotten in one (1) copy of Too Many Bullets. It hadn’t made it to the sales floor yet, but the always courteous staff unearthed it in the recieving department.
    And now that copy is safe at my home, ready to be cracked open tonite.

  4. Frank says:

    MAC, The new Heller was excellent. I put a review up on Amazon and recommend it to anyone.

  5. Bill P says:

    Very much enjoying the new Heller (about 2/3rds of the way through). There is a point where the A-1 offices in the Bradbury building are being described which I found particularly self-aware. It was describing ornate ironwork on the stairs and walkways of the building interior. I thought to myself, “Hey, I’ve been down this rabbit hole before!” having spotted the unique location in an old Quantum Leap episode (Sam Spade inspired) and wondered what it was. A sentence or two later, it is described as one of the most used silming locations in L.A. Like it was reading my mind!

  6. John M says:

    Dear Mr. Collins,
    Having just finished “Too Many Bullets”, another great Heller entry, i was greatly dismayed by your possible bookend to “True Detective” comment in the I Owe Them One. I first discovered Nathan Heller in 1983, in a small independent book shop catering to mysteries in downtown Chicago, (an elevator operator took me up in a rickety box that Nate himself could have used in 1933). This forty year journey I have been on with you and Nate has been a very special part of my life. My hope is that we have not heard the last from our favorite private eye. My best to you and your family and my sincere thanks for hours of page turning bullet riddled fun!