Cutout Emerges and True Noir Begins

April 16th, 2024 by Max Allan Collins
Cutout Audiobook Cover
Digital Audiobook:
Audio MP3 CD:

Today is publication date for Cutout, the new novella written by Barb and me. You should be able to order the print version from Amazon now (it includes some wonderful illustrations and should be a very nice physical book). Also available are the Kindle version and an audio version from Skyboat, who have done such a terrific job with the Quarry novels, the first two of three Fancy Anders titles, and more. The reader is Gabrielle de Cuir, who always does an excellent job. Barb and I have not heard it yet but are anxious to. Nor have we seen the print version and are anxious to.

I’ll interrupt myself to share with you this nice write-up from “Bits and Pieces” at Jerry’s House of Everything blog:

Max Allan Collins and Barbara Collins (or maybe Barbara Collins and Max Allan Collins), Cutout. Crime novella. “A young woman from the Midwest, recipient of an unexpected college scholarship, is recruited into a lucrative courier job that shuttles her from Manhattan to Washington, D.C. There’s a slight drawback: the previous two ‘cutouts’ died by violence.” Preordered; publication date is tomorrow 5/16. Also, Max Allan Collins Collection Volume 5: Twist in the Tale. E-Book compilation five books by Max Allan Collins and Barbara Collins: two novels (Reincarnal and Bombshell) and three short story collections (Murder — His and Hers, Suspense — His and Hers, and Too Many Tomcats and Other Feline Tales of Suspense). A superb bargain.

Thanks, Jerry!

The idea for Cutout was Barb’s and her draft was so good, working with it was a genuine pleasure. I think it represents our best work together, and really reflects her remarkable abilities as a storyteller and just flat-out good writer.

Neo-Text, who brought out the Fancy Anders novellas, is the publisher. They are in finally stages of prepping the third Fancy Anders, which will again have Fay Dalton illos. It’s my hope that the three Fancy Anders novellas (which interconnect) will be gathered into one novel with the Dalton art done full-color justice. And if the first two audios of Fancy Anders read by Gabrielle de Cuir (with music and sound effects) are any indication, Cutout should be very well-served on audio.

On a somewhat similar vein, the Kickstarter for the Nathan Heller fully-immersive audio dramas is about to go live. I have described this as a podcast series but that doesn’t do it justice. You’ll soon be able to get a sample of director Robert Meyer Burnett’s impressive handiwork with the proof-of-concept “pilot” I wrote, based on the opening of Stolen Away. Nate Heller is portrayed on that pilot by Todd Stashwick of Star Trek: Picard fame. That Todd is a Chicagoan and a former Second City cast member resonates extremely well with me.

We are beginning with the first Nathan Heller novel, True Detective, and I have delivered the first of ten scripts, which I am pleased to say got a rave review from director Burnett. I will admit it felt odd returning to a novel I wrote in 1981-1982 for 1983 publication, the book that I consider in many ways the real beginning of my career (meaning no offense to Nolan, Mallory or Dick Tracy). Since I am planning what will likely be the final Heller novel, The One-Way Ride, to be published by Hard Case Crime, the audio series seems somehow right to also be circling back to Nate Heller’s first recorded case, “The Assassination of Mayor Cermak.”

There’s an official Nate Heller/True Noir YouTube Channel with a pic of Rob Burnett, Todd Stashwick and the rest of the cast at the proof-of-concept pilot session.

* * *

Speaking of True Noir, Nate Heller and Rob Burnett, here’s a podcast interview with Rob that gets into True Noir and Heller, on John Suentes’ excellent Word Balloons.

The great Putnum Museum in Davenport, Iowa, is showing Road to Perdition on Sunday, May 19, at
2:30 p.m. in their Giant Screen Theater. I will be handling a Q and A session afterward. Details are right here.

Finally, the best ten performances on film of Tom Hanks are discussed here. Guess what #3 is?


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One Response to “Cutout Emerges and True Noir Begins”

  1. Bill P says:

    Read the sample start on Amazon. Sounds like an interesting premise. Was going to purchase an old Heller book but grabbed this instead. Looking forward to reading something a little different. Cheers!