Posts Tagged ‘Antiques Flee Market’

ANTIQUES Tomorrow, BIG BANG Today!

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Barb and I will be doing at least three more ANTIQUES “Trash ‘n’ Treasures” mysteries for Kensington after the end of our current contract. This is three books beyond the recently completed ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF (which will be out about a year from now), taking us all the way into 2014. I give the lion’s share of credit to Barb, whose unique vision and sense of humor makes these books so special.

Quarry's Ex

THE BIG BANG, which I did not expect to see on sale until mid-May, is available now from Amazon, and I’ve seen it at a Border’s, as well, so I am assuming you can find it whether you buy your books, whether in cyber space, a chain outlet or an indie bookshop. Strong sales on this one are key for me to be able to turn the remaining trio of Spillane/Hammer manuscripts into finished novels. (KISS HER GOODBYE has been delivered and will be out next year.)

Also on the Spillane/Hammer front, this weekend I did final revisions on the next NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER radio “novel,” ENCORE FOR MURDER. The basis is a one-page outline of an unwritten novel by Mickey Spillane. The notes from producer Carl Amari and star Stacy Keach were minimal, and the script is put to bed. We record it in Chicago next month.

I also read the galleys for QUARRY’S EX, doing final tweaks and corrections. This will be published in October by Hard Case Crime. Whether there will be any further Quarry books remains to be seen.

There were several nice mentions of my work on the internet this past week.

Here’s a nice blog review of THE BIG BANG by a longtime Spillane fan.

There are been several nice mentions on the net about my history-of-hardboiled-short-fiction intro to BLOOD, GUTS & WHISKEY, the Thuglit anthology. This one’s that terrific writer, Tom Piccirilli.

Also, there’s a nice ANTIQUES FLEE MARKET review on another blog.

Finally, here’s a nice little write-up about STRIP FOR MURDER, the second of the two Jack and Maggie Starr mysteries. It’s available at a bargain price at Amazon right now — $5.60.

Short update this weekend — have to devote my time to the new Harrow novel, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU.

Check out my Facebook Fan page! I post almost every day.


SCTV Reunion

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

As I write this (Sunday night), I am in a hotel in suburban Chicago. Tomorrow I shadow sportscaster Mike North as the first step in what I hope will be an exciting film project.

Just in is a nice review of ANTIQUES FLEE MARKET from Craig Clarke, who hasn’t always been a fan of Barb and me working together, but definitely seems to be coming around.

Barb and I have spent the Friday through late Sunday afternoon at Second City in Chicago, for the famous improv theater’s 50th anniversary celebration. Many huge comedy stars were present (Steve Carrell and Steven Colbert the biggest draws), and scores of familiar comedy faces from legends like Shelly Berman and Robert Kline to SNL vets like Tim Meadows and Rachel Dratch. Barb and I went to Second City regularly in the ’70s and ’80s (until hotel and parking costs drove us to the suburbs for our Chicago shopping getaways) and followed many of those who entertained us on the famous Second City mainstage to SNL and other show biz glory — among them, Tim Kazurinsky, Mary Gross, George Wendt, and many more. Of that company, Larry Coven became a friend and appeared in two of my indie films (MOMMY’S DAY and REAL TIME) and brought the legendary Del Close into MOMMY’S DAY for a cameo role (making me Del’s final film director). Del was a big fan of the Nate Heller books — he would come to my Chicago signings — and that’s an honor I cherish.

SCTV Reunion
Photo courtesy Metromix Chicago

But the real reason Barb and I were at the 50th anniversary event was the one-time only reunion of the cast of SCTV. They did two shows Friday night (Dec. 11) and did a panel about the show on the following morning. I guess I’ve never revealed my obsession with SCTV here. It’s an enthusiasm I share with Barb, but also my longtime comics partner, artist Terry Beatty. SCTV debuted in 1977, right around the time I got my first home video machine, and I taped every show. I have rarities few people even know of (a Cleveland special, a Dave Thomas time travel mini-movie, a Bobby Bittman bio). To me, SCTV was the comedy Beatles…and their reunion was the Beatles reunion that never happened.

The cost was enormous (don’t ask). It was a benefit for Second City performers who need financial and health assistance, and the “cheap seats” ($175 each) were gone before I even heard about the event. Frankly, we could not afford to go. But we couldn’t afford not to, as a used car salesman would say.

Present were Flaherty, Ramis (who’d been only on the first two seasons though a guest later on), Andrea Martin, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Eugene Levy and Dave Thomas “as the Beaver.”

The reunion Friday night was comedy nirvana. I got to speak briefly with both Joe Flaherty and Harold Ramis before the show, and both were apologetic before the performance (Ramis said: “Good luck with the show tonight”). In truth, they were under-rehearsed (on the panel, Catherine O’Hara revealed that they had put it together via e-mail, with one rough run-through Friday afternoon). They used scripts at times (worked into the pieces — i.e., the newscast sketch), and in the first scene they fumbled any number of times. But as the love from the audience washed over them — and as each amazed and proud cast member watched the geniuses around them shine, they found the zone. It was a mix of Second City standards (some of which had given birth to SCTV regulars, like Ed Grimley, Pirini Scleroso and Edith Prickely) and routines from SCTV itself (Dr. Cheryl Kinsey’s instructions on how to fake an orgasm, Count Floyd’s 3-D glasses pitch), with occasional new stuff — most impressive, an extended Sammy Maudlin show mostly about Ramis’ Moe Green replacing the late William B. William (John Candy), but featuring incredible dance gymnastics from Andrea Martin, who did a flat-out amazing medley of “great” Canadian pop tunes with Levy’s Bobby Bittman. I could not have been happier opening a fat envelope stuffed with royalty checks (which I could use after springing for the tickets). Time Out Chicago also had a great review of the reunion.

Their panel Saturday morning was as good as the reunion show — they shared backstage stories, and were funny and entertaining, particularly when Levy goaded Thomas into defending the notorious “Vikings and Beekeepers” sketch. They spoke movingly about Candy. I got to ask a question from the audience, which was about how the famous folk they’d impersonated had reacted, and Thomas told of Richard Harris being furious, Martin of Streisand being oblivious, and Short of Jerry Lewis being gracious. Just wonderful.

Over the course of the weekend, I had the honor of speaking to Ramis several times, and Levy and Thomas, as well. I spoke to Short briefly and he was gracious, and Flaherty, who is a wonderful guy. The two gifted female members of the cast made themselves scarce, and were the only autographs I did not snag for a DVD cover. Over the weekend I managed to get signatures from other SCTV regulars — Tony Rosato, Robin Duke, and John Hemphill — as well. Rosato has been in ill health but looked fine, though he did not perform. Duke led a troupe of Toronto alumni (“Women Fully Clothed”) that was a knockout — Duke is one of the funniest women who ever walked the planet.

I was a real fanboy all weekend — really disgraceful — snagging autographs whenever I could. Everybody was gracious, with one exception — Steven Colbert blew me off. There was no one around and it would have taken him maybe three seconds. Very disappointing. Others were generous, from Belushi to Berman, from Colin Mockrie to David Koechner. Edie McClurg (Hermit Hattie of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse!) became our immediate new best friend. Jeff Garlin was such a sweetheart of a guy, you could understand why Larry David wants to hang with him.

Speaking of Garlin, of the non-SCTV events we went to perhaps the most amazing was his Saturday afternoon “Combo Platter.” He was joined by Fred Willard and Chicago comic David Pasquesi in about 90 minutes of spontaneous stand-up. Garlin did nothing prepared — he worked off the audience, gave stuff away that he’d gathered at the event (hotel cookies, a Second City Christmas ornament, some old DVDs his parents gave him) and got half an hour of genuinely hilarious stuff out of it. When the others came on, they did a sort of pass the baton routine, where they started off with an audience suggestion (“Tiger Woods!”) and kept handing off to each other as they explored golf, marriage, cheating, sports movies, and on and on. Some of it may have tapped into bits the artists had done — Pasquesi is a sharp, smooth pro — but mostly it was off-the-cuff. Willard is a genuis of insanity, and both he and Pasquesi would get Garlin laughing in a distinctive wheezing high-pitched way that threatened to kill their host on the spot. I have liked Garlin on CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, and have both his DVDs (the film I WANT SOMEONE TO EAT CHEESE WITH and the stand-up YOUNG AND HANDSOME). But I had no idea he was this casually brilliant average joe comedian.

Among the Second City alums was Tim Kazurinsky, who appears on THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER VOL. 2: THE LITTLE DEATH. Tim, who rivals Garlin in sheer niceness, said he loved THE LITTLE DEATH and thought it came off great. So do I. So will you (Amazon has it in stock now — talk about stocking stuffer!).


Quarry Racking ‘Em Up

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Barb and I are signing at Mystery Cat Books this Saturday (details above). We’ll have both QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE and ANTIQUES FLEE MARKET available, and many rare out-of-print M.A.C. items will be on hand, as well. It’s possible Ed Gorman may drop by, which provides a sighting opportunity second only to Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.

More wonderful reviews are coming in, some for QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE, others for the Quarry movie, The Last Lullaby.

Craig Clarke, long a booster of my work and a knowledgeable Quarry fan, provides a really smart, insightful review at his Somebody Dies website.

And writer Ron Fortier (he collaborates with Gary Kato on the fun comic Mr. Jigsaw — Gary assisted Terry Beatty on Ms. Tree back in the day) has provided another sharp-eyed review of The Last Lullaby.

And the Author Magazine website has posted a great review of QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE.

Battle Royale

Coming out this week from Viz is the novel BATTLE ROYALE, the wonderfully fried modern classic that was the basis of the cult film. The film is very well-known for one too controversial to ever get traditional American DVD distribution — high school kids on an island play Survivor with lethal weapons, winner take all. I wrote an introduction for this edition (tying it to the original Death Race 2000), and Nathan translated an afterword by Koushun Takami, the author of the novel, plus an interview with Kinji Fukasaku, the director of the film. (Nathan may be doing a major translation project for Viz very soon — stay tuned for a much more detailed announcement.)

We are seeing the paperback of ANTIQUES FLEE MARKET, with its festive new Christmas cover, displayed face-out at the big chain stores, sometimes in the mystery section, sometimes with Christmas-themed books. The perfect stocking stuffer. Barb continues to work on her draft of ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF (ANTIQUES BIZARRE will be out in the Spring).

Matt Clemens and I have been working on the synopsis for the second novel in the series that begins with YOU CAN’T STOP ME. After a false start on a different idea, Matt and I (at Bouchercon in Indianapolis) pitched editor Michaela Hamilton of Kensington what we all think is a really strong, wild idea that she liked…and which I will not share with you here. I’ll say, though, that this series attempts to take the approach Matt and I developed for the CSI, BONES and CRIMINAL MINDS novels into something of our own that has an element of social satire (having to do largely with reality TV) that serial killer novels often lack.

People are constantly asking me about the film version of ROAD TO PURGATORY, and I can only say that it remains very much alive, and I hope to have news for you soon. In the meantime, I am working on the graphic novel conclusion to the saga, RETURN TO PERDITION, doing my best to stay out in front of artist Terry Beatty.


Quarry Keeps Coming

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

The QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE reviews kept coming in. Here is a particularly insightful one, I think, from old pro Mel Odom’s excellent Bookhound site.

And here’s a great new review of the Quarry film, The Last Lullaby.

If you haven’t gone to to buy your copy of the limited edition DVD, do so at once.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of upcoming events here in Eastern Iowa:

On Saturday, November 21, Barb and I will be doing a signing in support of the mass-market paperback reprint of ANTIQUES FLEE MARKET and the new Hard Case Crime title QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE at Mystery Cat Books in Cedar Rapids.

It’s a lovely used bookshop, cozy in the best sense with lots of first editions and cool collectible vintage paperbacks, and few bookstores have a better stock of my novels. The address is 112 32nd Street Drive, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52402. 2 to 4 pm.

On Saturday, November 28, Crusin’ will be performing at the Bar (actually a nice little club) at PlaMor Lanes in Muscatine from 8 pm to midnight. 1411 Grandview Avenue, Muscatine, Iowa 52761

Nathan has been visiting for a week now and will go back to St. Louis tomorrow. He’s mostly been burrowed in working on translation jobs, but we’ve had some fun — notably Saturday night, taking in the live performance of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe at the lovely Englert Theater in downtown Iowa City. These are the hilarious guys responsible for the films SUPERTROOPERS, CLUB DREAD, BEERFEST and the upcoming SLAMMIN’ SALMON. They interspersed stand-up with sketch comedy and audience-participation improv, and had a typically drunk Iowa City college crowd in the palms of their hands. We met them afterward and they were friendly and easygoing, very approachable.

Nate and I also have been working our way through a five-film Criterion DVD boxed set of Japanese noir in preparation for my next Asian Cult Cinema column.

I am still recovering from the intensity of writing the Nathan Heller novel in record time, but did manage to get the research done for the next fifty pages or so of RETURN TO PERDITION.