Posts Tagged ‘Covers’

The Consummata Cover (and Wallpaper!)

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

No update this week, other than to give you this first look at Robert McGinnis’ great cover for THE CONSUMMATA! Working with visiting George Hagenauer doing final plotting and researching for the upcoming Nathan Heller JFK novel.

M.A.C.

The Consummata

[Nathan]I also made wallpapers out of the cover — head over to the Download Page to check ’em out.

Hammer Sounds

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Quarry's VoteThis is going to be a brief update this week, because Nate has a busy week in Japan.

This week’s cover from Perfect Crime’s reprint series of the first five Quarry novels is QUARRY’S VOTE. The original title of this one is PRIMARY TARGET, a title I like and actually prefer; but we needed to make the patterning of the titles consistent, and especially with the new Hard Case series entries, Quarry seems to have found his way into the titles.

I recently heard the final mix of THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER Vol. 3: ENCORE FOR MURDER, and could not be more pleased. Stacy Keach, Mike Cornelison and Tim Kazurinsky (among other talented thesps) (I don’t think I ever typed “thesps” before) did great work. The audio stuff – both Carl Amari’s radio-style dramas and the readings of the new Spillane/Collins novels by Stacy Keach – are attracting some attention and awards. Here’s a nice write-up on Mike Hammer as one of the classic tough guys available on audio. And here’s a link to a brief, fun interview with Stacy on the same subject.

We will very soon have the new CRUSIN’ CD available, probably right after Nate gets back from Japan. Because it’s a promotional item, I can’t sell it, but I am reserving around 50 of the 200 run to give away as free bonus items with the sale of another, related item. I’ll be more clear about that later….

M.A.C.

Hardboiled Vs. Cozy

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Quarry's CutThis week’s Quarry cover is QUARRY’S CUT, originally THE SLASHER – the final of the first four in the series, published in the mid-‘70s by Berkley Books. It’s the darkest of the first four, the most overtly a dark comedy of any of the novels, and is one of my periodic, probably ill-advised attempts to do an Agatha Christie-style closed environment mystery in the hardboiled style.

I seem to be one of the few mystery writers who likes Christie as much as Hammett, who likes Stout as much as Spillane. Someone recently was putting down cozies, assuming I’d agree, when I had to say, “Uh – I write a cozy series with my wife.” I find things to like in every variation on the fictional sleuth – for example, Barb and I spend much of our leisure time watching British mysteries. We are currently preparing ourselves for withdrawal pangs over the upcoming departure of John Nettles (Inspector Barnaby) from Midsomer Murders (Nettles is leaving after a record number of episodes, though it’s continuing without him). As I mentioned here previously, we recently blew through the wonderful boxed set of Ellery Queen starring Jim Hutton, father of Archie Goodwin, I mean, Tim Hutton.

I don’t understand the hostility between fans of the variations on the detective story – it makes as much sense as the old Marvel Comics/DC Comics rivalry. What I notice most is that people who dislike a writer like Christie or Spillane generally haven’t read them much if at all. Some tried them as kids and had a knee-jerk reaction and never went back and tried again as adults.

The take on Christie is that her characters are cardboard – not true; in fact, the solutions to her mysteries almost always hinge upon psychology. She is also a great dialogue writer – she was, after all, a hugely successful playwright.

Spillane is supposed to be a woman hater, yet his women are remarkably strong with Hammer’s P.I. partner, Velda, a prime, pistol-packing example. The key to enjoying Spillane is understanding that he is not Chandler just as Chandler was not Hammett. Mickey gets dissed over his politics, but there’s nothing really political about that lunatic urban knight Mike Hammer – true, Mickey was a conservative of sorts (as a Jehovah’s Witness, he did not vote), and I am a liberal; but that has had zero impact on the Hammers I’ve co-written.

By the way, if you are unemployed, and you voted for the Republicans – you know, the party that wants to end your unemployment benefits? You are about to get exactly what you deserve.

I read very, very little contemporary crime fiction. I kid on the square that I don’t like to encourage the competition, but the real reasons are (a) my reading time is taken up by research, and (b) the mystery I am “reading” is the one I am writing.

So, instead, Barb and I watch British mysteries on TV, and other mystery series old and new (from Johnny Staccato to Leverage) (Tim Hutton again). And we listen to audio books when we travel. We are heading into our fourth trip through Rex Stout, having listened to Agatha Chritie’s entire body of work twice. If I am doing a Spillane collaboration, I listen to a Spillane audio book.

I can still learn from the classics. I am well aware that some very good people are writing right now. And I do read a handful (chiefly pals like Ed Gorman, John Lutz, Bob Randisi, and a few others). But I doubt anybody’s writing right now who could teach me things I couldn’t learn from Hammett, Chandler, Cain, Spillane, Thompson, Westlake, Stout, Gardner and Christie.

One of these days I am going to discuss the definition of “noir” here. It seems to be a fairly controversial subject. Recently, though, my friend Otto Penzler declared all private eye fiction outside the boundaries of noir. Otto is, of course, one of the most knowledgeable guys in the field. He is also wrong.

But that’s for another update.

M.A.C.

You Only Blog Twice

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

This week’s Quarry cover is QUARRY’S DEAL. Another great Terry Beatty cover. Ordering info here.

Quarry's DealNate has been in Japan for several days now, and he’s doing a blog (daily, so far). He is posting beautiful pictures and great, often very funny commentary. He is a very talented young man and his father (me) is proud of him. So you get two blog entries this week; this one from me, and this one from Nate.

Because Nate is in Japan, I’m working a few days early on this update, to give him plenty of room to get it put together and posted. So it’s October 30 in Muscatine, Iowa, a beautiful fall day with lots of color in the trees and chill in the breeze. Tonight is the “official” local Halloween night, and I’ve carved the pumpkin (I’m damn good at it – ask Nate) [Nate:It’s true!] and Barb is putting a bunch of scary stuff on the porch…ours is one of the houses the neighbor kids flock to, although some of our goodies are getting long in the tooth (we had to throw away a talking skeleton head after years of noble service).

We’ve been watching horror movies, and Barb – who for decades didn’t like them – is now a fan and catching up. We watched the very funny RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD from the late, great Dan O’Bannon. Our favorite Halloween movie, though, is TRICK ‘R’ TREAT, and if you haven’t seen that wonderfully dark, funny anthology movie, put it on Netflix for next Halloween season. It looks great on Blu-Ray. (So does RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, which features my old pal Linnea Quigley, with whom I almost did a comic book project some years back).

This weekend I am zeroing in on the conclusion of RETURN TO PERDITION, and next week (now, as you read this) I’ll be writing the next DICK TRACY introduction. Nice to have a connection to TRACY again. Next up is THE CONSUMMATA, the DELTA FACTOR sequel by Mickey Spillane that I am completing for Hard Case Crime.

Next year is going to be a big M.A.C. year. Barb and I have ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF (by “Barbara Allan”) coming out in March, and that same month from the same publisher (Kensington), Matt Clemens and I have NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU out. In May the third of the Mike Hammers appears – KISS HER GOODBYE (do not miss this one) – and in August BYE BYE, BABY, the first Nate Heller novel in ten years. Some time next year, QUARRY’S EX will come out, as well. And from DC/Vertigo, RETURN TO PERDITION.

This will no doubt initiate a bunch of “when do you sleep” questions (and putdowns), but the fact is BYE BYE, BABY has been done for well over a year, and three of the titles are collaborations. RETURN TO PERDITION is something I’ve been working on for a year and a half. QUARRY’S EX, of course, was supposed to come out this year and was postponed. What I fear is that some or maybe all of these titles will get lost in the shuffle because there are so many of them. And that drives me crazy, because each of these books is really strong. I get beaten up and sometimes ignored because I am seen as “prolific.”

But I have no intention of slowing down. At 62, I am not fooling around – I have stories to tell. I even have band jobs to play. Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of my first professional sale of a novel – BAIT MONEY to Curtis Books. The following two years will mark the 40th anniversary of me as a published professional (BAIT MONEY came out in December 1972 but was a January 1973 book).

So if any of you connected to writer’s organizations (the MWA has had enough yearly dues out of me to afford to make a statue of me for their lobby, if they had a lobby) or mystery conventions or mystery magazines (attention: Kate Stine) are interested, 2011 is a perfectly good time to start the career tributes and to book me as a guest and to just generally make a fuss. I’m available. I’ll even bring my rock band along.

For a price.

Here’s a fun fan review of my Batman graphic novel SCAR OF THE BAT. Nice to see something from a few years back get noticed now.

M.A.C.