Posts Tagged ‘Dick Tracy’

Publisher’s Weekly, the Spillane Doc, Encore and More!

Tuesday, December 20th, 2022

For those of you looking for cyber stocking stuffers, or who will need a way to use that Amazon gift cards you’ll be receiving, four of my books are on sale as Kindle titles right now for a meager $1.99 each until the end of 2022. You can avail yourself of the Collins/Clemens titles Executive Order, Fate of the Union, What Doesn’t Kill Her and my solo title, Girl Most Likely. Also available for $1.99 (not sure for how long) is my collaboration with SCTV’s Dave Thomas, The Many Lives of Jimmy Leighton, a science-fiction-tinged crime thriller.

The three Clemens co-authored titles are among my bestsellers at Amazon, and Girl and Jimmy are two of my personal favorites, which if you haven’t tried, you have this opportunity to brighten our mutual Christmases by doing so.

Executive Order cover
Fate of the Union cover
What Doesn't Kill Her cover
Girl Most Likely cover
E-Book: Amazon

The Many Lives of Jimmy Leighton cover
E-Book: Amazon Purchase Link

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Spillane – King of Pulp Fiction (Mysterious Press) will be out February 7 of next year, which is sooner than it sounds. James Traylor and I had a nice if brief interview with longtime Spillane buff Michael Barson in the latest Publisher’s Weekly.

You can see it here, including color photos of me and of co-author Jim Traylor, which we are considering releasing as NFT trading cards at $99 each.

This week I’m planning to shoot the material for the expanded edition of my 1999 documentary, Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane. Several years ago, the doc was edited (and slightly updated) from forty-eight minutes to thirty-some) for the Criterion release of Kiss Me Deadly.

I’ve been planning to reinsert some footage we cut initially (it had run something like fifty-three minutes), and to insert new interview footage with myself, to cover things not discussed and to include what has happened regarding Mickey’s work since his death in 2006.

Phil Dingeldein, my partner in cinematic crime, has found a very good copy of the documentary among our materials and shared it with me. At risk of sounding foolishly boastful, I had forgotten had good it was. Further, it was tightly edited with Chris Christiansen’s terrific score playing almost non-stop beneath. That made it problematic to insert anything that had been previously edited out, material we would have to locate among the dozens of tapes from the 1998 shoot. Mickey’s interview footage had taken up ten Betacam tapes alone.

And as tempting as it might be to restore what I’d been encouraged to cut years ago, disrupting the smooth edit of what arguably is my best work as a filmmaker is not worth doing. For this reason, I’ve decided to expand the current cut in a new way. It will open with an explanatory introduction by me, and at the conclusion of the original documentary a sort of epilogue will follow, bringing the Spillane story up to date. It will also expand the doc to around an hour, which is considered feature length in the documentary game.

The tricky thing is that this new footage will be primarily me talking on camera, which is something not even my late mother would have relished seeing. Our challenge is to include enough interesting visual material to edit over my mug as we can manage. Oh, you’ll see plenty of me, just not enough to turn most stomachs.

We will be covering Mickey’s final novel (Something’s Down There) and his passing, including his request to me to complete the last Mike Hammer novel (The Goliath Bone) and to develop his unfinished material. But it will also briefly discuss our friendship and our collaboration on various projects, including anthologies of his and other mystery writers, the Mike Danger comic book series, and the documentary the viewer will just have seen.

The focus will be on the posthumous collaborative novels and conclude with the 75th anniversary of Mike Hammer’s debut in I, the Jury (1947). We’ll include documentary footage of the production here in Muscatine, Iowa, of Encore for Murder with Gary Sandy, including interview footage with Gary and the actors who play Velda and Pat Chambers. This should connect Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane – the 75th Anniversary Edition nicely to the feature version we’ve recently completed of the Encore for Murder live performance. I am hopeful that we will see a Blu-ray and/or DVD of the new version of the Spillane doc with Encore for Murder as a bonus feature.

As I said, the expanded documentary will come in around sixty minutes or a tad under, and should be a good length for the streaming services and possibly for PBS. Whether Encore for Murder will stream or not, I can’t say. But I will do my best to make it available to any of you who are interested. I am probably too close to know how good it is or isn’t. Clearly Gary Sandy is wonderful as Mike, and the local actors are much better than I could ever have hoped. Several clearly are professional level, and everyone does well.

The production’s MVP is Chad Bishop, who has (under the burden of my supervision) edited Encore for Murder from the actual performance and two dress rehearsals, with the bulk of the footage taken from the former. Chad was the on-stage foley person – part of the fun of doing a Golden Age Radio-style show is having the sound effects performed on stage. But in addition to doing all the foley work, Chad was mixing the sound and laying in recorded sound effects and music cues…all done live. If he had not pulled that feat off, we couldn’t even have considered putting together a “movie” version of our production.

I know I’ve talked about this before, but I look back on what we did in September of this past year with a bit of wonder.

I was initially approached to do a Dick Tracy radio show and refused, then offered the use of my play “Encore for Murder,” which in 2011 Stacy Keach had recorded with a full cast for Blackstone audio. Later Gary Sandy had starred in live productions in Owensboro, Kentucky, in 2012, and in Clearwater, Florida, in 2018. I had been present for both, not directing but able to work with the director and actors in both cases.

So when local theater maven Karen Cooney – who is affiliated with the Muscatine Art Center – asked me to do a Golden Age Radio-style play, I of course thought of “Encore.” Initially I was going to play Hammer myself, but Karen suggested I ask Gary. It was a long shot, and I said I’d think about it.

Before taking that step, I wanted to see what kind of cast Karen had put together. I attended the first table read and was impressed. I went home and told Barb I thought the actors were quite good, but didn’t trust my judgment – I wanted them to be good, after all. Barb, who is totally no-nonsense (she has to be), agreed to come to the next rehearsal. I read Hammer, which seemed to perk the players up even further. When Barb and I went home, she said, “You’re right. They’re good.”

I called Phil and got the project on his radar. I told him if this thing came together, we should try to shoot it with multiple cameras. Throughout the month or rehearsals, co-directing with Karen, I kept Phil in the loop. But it wasn’t till the week of the performance that I said, “Let’s do this thing. I don’t want it to disappear into the ether.”

We shot the two rehearsals and the performance with multiple cameras (four), some provided and operated by Phil, others by Chad, who runs Muscatine’s public access channel 9. On performance night, unbeknownst to us, one of the key cameras ceased to function for the last ten minutes of the show. That’s one of the places where having dress rehearsal footage came in handy.

Keep in mind Gary was only present for three days. The rest of our cast is amateur (a few are pro-am, having appeared in some indie films). But we would at the very least have something for Chad’s public access channel, and I was – and am – hopeful one of the two PBS stations in my area might be interested.

I think it’s likely that the Spillane documentary will be on some streaming services. Whether Encore for Murder will be deemed worthy remains to be seen. I will let you know, and be frank about our fate.

As I said last week, I will be entering this into a couple of Iowa film festivals.

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Who Killed Santa?  A Murderville Murder Mystery

If you have Netflix, I would guess you are occasionally disappointed, even frustrated, by their original fare. But when they get it right, they get it right. And their Who Killed Santa? A Murderville Murder Mystery is hilariously wonderful. You should probably watch the six episodes of the Murderville series on Netflix first; but it should work on you even without that.

The premise is that a famous actor or sports star portrays the partner of Terry Seattle, a homicide cop played by Will Arnett. The mysteries are actually clever and can be solved if you pay attention, which the guest stars sometimes don’t. You see, they have not seen the script, which makes them the butt of the jokes cascading through each episode – at least when Arnett isn’t taking the comic heat himself.

It’s based on a wonderful British series, Murder in Successville, which ran for three seasons. The celebrities on Successville are not always recognizable to an American audience, but it works just the same. You can find those original episodes on You Tube. (I wrote a little bit about Murderville before, back in February of this fading year.)

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Matt Clemens and I did a joint interview on a podcast hosted by the talented and gracious Terrence McCauley that you may find of interest. Matt was excellent. I will tell you frankly that I sucked. I talked too much, I didn’t wait for the questions, I was searching for words, and my only excuse was the podcast hadn’t got on my calendar and I was caught flatfooted by it. But Matt is good.

Here’s a nice essay on the film version of Road to Perdition.

Here’s another.

This essay looks at the tropes that can be found – or in some cases were generated by – Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer. I am mentioned.

This years-late review of my Dick Tracy: The Secret Files anthology is well done, if a tad late in the game.

The article calls Road to Perdition one of the best crime comics of all time. You bet! But, uh…where’s Ms. Tree?


Upcoming Titles, A Recommendation & A Couple Warnings

Tuesday, November 15th, 2022
Spillane: King of Pulp Fiction cover

I have received a handful of ARCs of Spillane – King of Pulp Fiction, the upcoming biography of Mickey by Jim Traylor and me. It’s a thing of beauty! Mysterious Press did an outstanding job with the packaging. I will soon be doing a book giveaway for a few copies (possibly five) of this trade paperback version of what will be available in hardcover on (note new pub date) Feb. 7, 2023.

The new Nate Heller, The Big Bundle, is delayed, a fact that has dismayed some readers. But the book exists and is in fact a December 2022 title…it’s just held up at the UK docks by a strike. It will be available on Dec. 6 on e-book.

Better news for those dying to read something by yours truly – the first Kindle boxed set from Wolfpack of my work, Max Allan Collins Collection Vol. One: Eliot Ness is a Kindle Deal running from Wednesday, November 30 to Wednesday, December 7, 2022. The price will be dropping from $3.99 to $0.99 during that time period. That’s a quarter a book, which is what I used to pay for new paperbacks when I was in junior high. This is all four of the Eliot Ness in Cleveland novels (Nate Heller guests in two of ‘em).

A Big Bundle book giveaway is coming soon, too. Remember, if you get the novel prior to its publication date (some of you received it via NetGalley), your review can’t appear till we hit that date.

I am working now on the final chapters of the next Heller, Too Many Bullets, about the RFK assassination. It’s a big book, on the lines of True Detective, and in a sense it’s the bookend to that first Heller memoir. It’s been very difficult, in part because of my health issues (doing better, thanks) but also because it’s one of the most complicated cases I’ve dealt with. It has required more time compression and composite characters than I usually employ, and I spend a lot of time discussing with Barb what’s fair and what isn’t fair in an historical novel. I’ve been writing those since 1981 and I still wrestle with that question.

Also, there has been replotting, which is not unusual in the final section of a Heller as the need to tighten up the narrative frequently means a sub-plot gets jettisoned, particularly one that doesn’t rear its head till the last hundred pages.

But I’ll tell you what’s really unfair: using Barb as a sounding board when she’s working on her own draft of the next Antiques novel (Antiques Foe).

I am also wrestling with (and I’ve mentioned this before in these updates) how long I should to stay at it with Heller. The degree of difficulty (as I’ve also mentioned before) is tough at this age. Right now I am considering a kind of coda novel (much like Skim Deep for Nolan and Quarry’s Blood for Quarry) that would wrap things up. The Hoffa story still needs a complete telling.

Should I go that direction, and should my health and degree of interest continue on a positive course, I might do an occasional Heller in a somewhat shorter format. Of course, the problem with that is these crimes are always more complex than I think they’re going to be. I thought The Big Bundle would be an ideal lean-and-mean hardboiled PI novel, perfect for Heller’s debut at Hard Case Crime. But the complexities of a real crime like the Greenlease kidnapping tripped me up. On the other hand, the book – probably a third longer than I’d imagined – came out very well. In my view, anyway.

And with Too Many Bullets, I thought the RFK killing would make a kind of envelope around the Hoffa story, maybe a hundred, hundred-fifty pages of material.


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Last week I recorded (with Phil Dingeldein) the commentary of ClassicFlix’s upcoming widescreen release of The Long Wait, based on Mickey Spillane’s 1951 non-Hammer bestseller. I like the commentary better than my I, the Jury one and have been astonished by just how good I think both the film of I, the Jury and The Long Wait are, since I was used to seeing them in cropped, dubby VHS gray-market versions (and because Mickey himself hated them). Widescreen makes all the difference on Long Wait, and Anthony Quinn is a wonderful Spillane hardboiled hero.

I will report here on when the Blu-ray/4K release is scheduled. It won’t be as pricey as I, the Jury because the 3-D factor is absent.

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Millie Bobbie Brown in Enola Holmes 2

Living under a rock as I do, I had somehow missed the fact that the Enola Holmes movies (there are two, one quite recent, both on Netflix) starred the talented Millie Bobbie Brown of Stranger Things. I also got it into my head that these were kid movies. Wrong again!

These are two excellent, quirky Sherlock Holmes movies, with Henry Cavill excellent as the young Holmes, and very tough films despite a light-hearted touch manifested by Enola (Brown, absolutely wonderful) breaking the fourth wall and talking to the audience. It’s tricky and charming, and reminiscent – but actually kind of superior – to the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes movies.

Do not miss these.

Here’s one you can miss: Lou. A lesser Netflix flick, it stars the excellent Allison Janney and starts fairly well, but devolves into ridiculous plot twists and makes a bait-and-switch out of the entire movie.

Also, I have made it clear here that I am a fan of Quentin Tarantino’s movies, particularly starting with Inglorious Bastards – prior to that, the self-conscious references to his favorite films were too on the nose for my taste, although I revisited them after Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (a masterpiece) and had less trouble.

I don’t usually criticize other writers, but after trying to read his new book I am convinced Tarantino needs to stick to film, where he colors wildly but within the lines.

His Cinema Speculation is opinionated blather about ‘70s and ‘80s films that reminds us that Tarantino once worked at a video store. This is absolutely the kind of stuff a motormouth, know-it-all video clerk used to put us through when we were just trying to rent the damn movie.

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This is a re-edit of an interview I gave to the Des Moines Register back in 2016 (I think). It’s not bad.

And here you can see a much younger me (and Chet Gould and Rick Fletcher) on the occasion of Dick Tracy’s 50th birthday.


A Farewell and Several Unexpected Resonances

Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

The unsung hero of my weekly update/blogs is my son Nathan. He does all the layout and catches (most of) my goofs in the text. Regular readers of these updates may be aware that Nate is a Japanese to English translator and has been doing manga, video games, and novel translations for well over ten years.

One of his claims to fame in his specialized field is translating the novel Battle Royale (which as Quentin Tarantino recently pointed out was the, shall we say, inspiration for Hunger Games) (and Quentin should know about such things).

Nate current ongoing gig is translating the popular manga Jo Jo’s Big Adventure for Viz. By way of demonstrating just what a big deal this is, take a gander at the accompanying photo taken at FYE in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Nate is a terrific writer in his own right (and write) and if you have any interest in manga, checking out JoJo would be a good idea. [Especially from Part 3 onward (where I took over).—Nate]

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My novels Girl Most Likely and Girl Can’t Help It are still 99-cents each on Kindle till the end of this (July) month. Give ‘em a try!

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I have mentioned here several times that my frequent assistant director on my indie film productions, the late Steve Henke, would always complain that my dark noir subject matter inevitably softens at the conclusion, where I betray a streak of sentimentality, and there was nothing anybody could do about it.

That’s true, and I am about to talk about the death of our family dog, and you can skip it but you can’t stop me.

Toaster Collins, a Blue Heeler, died last week at age 13 or so. Her name came from the robots on Battlestar Galatica (the reboot). She was Nate’s dog, but when he moved back to Muscatine from Chicago two weeks after he bought Toaster, she became the family dog. The two of them lived for a year or two with us before they set out for St. Louis (and a few years ago returned here). So Barb and I bonded early with the little dog.

And she was a little dog, for a Blue Heeler anyway, the runt of her litter. Not as little as the terriers we’d had previously, but small enough to be a lap dog, and I am proud to say my lap was apparently her favorite. Overall her master, Nathan, was her favorite human; but all of us loved her, man, woman and child, though she drove us absolutely crazy with her craziness.

And she was crazy. For the first eight years of her life (approximately), all you had to say was, “Tree,” and she scrambled half way up the nearest one – climbing up the bark before tumbling back down. She was a greedy little thing, begging at our house, and playing predator floor-cleaner at Nate’s. She was gentle with our two grandkids and loved both Nate and his wife Abby with that unconditional love humans can only aspire to. She was happiest when all of us were together, both households, and would position herself in a doorway to keep a herding dog’s eye on us.

I like to think that, after Nate, I ranked pretty high. That’s clearly delusional, as Barb in this house was Toaster’s source for food – it was a dog bone of contention that at Nate and Abby’s the animal got healthy kibble, and at ours she got turkey breast and whatever she could beg off of us, which was plenty.

She was every bit the family dog. We fell, a while back, into one week at Nate’s house and the next week at ours. For many years Toaster, relentlessly frisky with toys, was playful and could run you a merry chase around the interior of the house. She was shameless in her nearly sexual pursuit of me – no leg dancing, but she would roll on her back and spread her legs…at a distance that would require me to get out of my chair…as she would wave one paw in the air as if summoning me. She would stay on her back until I climbed from my throne and scratched her belly and nuzzled her neck. All I had to do to get a dog kiss was ask for one. No woman in my lifetime, including my wife, has ever been that generous.

Toaster became incredibly neurotic in her later years. Whether separation anxiety or just wanting to go along, she would furiously bark on our every exit. She began to anticipate such exits – all I would have to do was come down the stairs near lunch hour and she would begin to go nuts. Yet when I pointed to Barb’s empty office while she (Toaster, not Barb) was furiously barking, the little animal would obediently go in there to be shut away till Barb had slipped out and I was poised to follow.

Toaster could make a pattern out of a single instance. One morning, Barb – freshening up for the day and being bugged by the creature – gave the animal a treat that became an immediate ritual, the “make-up” bone. If the animal had to go out, she would jump onto my chair (a recliner of course) and march up to my face and stare at me, her wet nose turning mine similarly moist.

Like all dogs, she loved to go for walks. She also loved to bark at bigger animals from the safety of a window. As Barb worked at her computer, Toaster curled on the floor beside her. Sometimes she got up on Barb’s chair and took up most of the space, relegating her mistress to the edge of the seat. At bedtime Toaster managed to expand herself into crocodile length on our bed and assume an angle that left no real comfortable space for any human.

Toaster was nuttier than a Baby Ruth, and why wouldn’t she be? All dogs, house dogs particularly, reflect their owners. It’s more than just Best in Show physical resemblances of pets and masters – it’s personality. She was neurotic as hell. So are we.

She declined over one terrible but mercifully swift weekend. Her presence looked like forever (as Mark Harris said through Henry Wiggins) but of course it was just those thirteen years. And of course in our memories until we, too, are gone.

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It may be because I am this old that resonances and coincidences keep popping up that seem surprising when you consider that Barb and I stayed in small-town Muscatine, Iowa, all these years.

I was watching True Romance (1993) on the Arrow Video 4K edition, as part of an ongoing attempt to reconsider the early Tarantino films I had disliked at the time, now that I’ve turned into a fan of his later films. He of course did not direct True Romance, but it was an early script.

If my memory serves me (and I admit it often does not), when I was working in 1993 on The Expert (1995) with director Bill Lustig and producer Andy Garoni, I was told that True Romance was nearly a Lustig/Garoni production. Tarantino – transitioning from video store clerk to auteur – was in their orbit, but then Reservoir Dogs (1992) got made and things began to happen for Quentin, who moved on and took True Romance with him. The script I was writing for them was apparently their next project.

Larry Cohen, who wrote and almost directed I, the Jury (1982), was a filmmaker I admired; he had written for Lustig/Garoni a screenplay for Brute Force (a remake of the Jules Dassin noir), which evolved into The Expert. Cohen had fulfilled his contract, but the director and producer did not like his screenplay (I never got through it).

So basically I was the third writer they’d been dealing with lately, the previous two being Quentin Tarantino (wooed away by bigger-time filmmakers) and Larry Cohen (who had dropped the ball on his script for them). It should be noted that previously Cohen had written Maniac Cop 1 and 2 for Lustig and later would do Uncle Sam (1996) with the director. Why Cohen’s script for Brute Force was so weak I have no idea, because he was usually an adept if quirky screenwriter.

All of that is a long preamble to something short. In watching True Romance (which I liked this time around), I was stunned as were most people revisiting that film by its incredible cast, filled with actors who would go on to famous, like James Gandolfini, Samuel Jackson, and Brad Pitt. I’d forgotten that Tom Sizemore and Chris Penn were in the film, let alone that they played a team of LAPD detectives in it.

So here’s the resonance. Sizemore played Quarry (as “Price”) in The Last Lullaby (2008) and Chris Penn was a guy Barb and I had dinner with once. Penn was a guest, as were we, at a Southern arts festival, the exact year and even place having fallen prey to my spotty memory. But we had a nice evening meal with him, though he seemed vaguely irritated by how in tune Barb and I were, which is not the usual reaction we invoke.

None of that is a big deal, but to be watching one of Quentin Tarantino’s break-out movies, with memories of following in his footsteps on my 1993 Hollywood adventure, and seeing the only actor to date who has played Quarry in a feature film and Sean Penn’s late brother, who Barb and I had a memorable but slightly odd dinner with once upon a time…well, it had me blinking.

This kind of thing happens to me more and more. Barb and I, over the weekend, watched an excellent six-part HBO documentary about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, The Last Movie Stars. Into the Newman/Woodward story, actor Ethan Hawke inserts himself – and the cast he recruited to play voiceovers of the participants based on a transcript of a destroyed documentary Newman began in the 1990s – in a manner that should come across as self-indulgent and intrusive; but isn’t. The approach provides a picture of how in post-WW 2 Hollywood movies evolved (and devolved) over time, but mostly a revelation into how gifted actors think. The Zooming participants included (but are not limited to) George Clooney (as Newman), Laura Linney (as Woodward), Sam Rockwell, Sally Field, and Vincent D’Onofrio, with Brooks Ashmanskas spot on as Gore Vidal. Not part of the recreation cast are interview subjects David Letterman, Martin Scorcese, and Mario Andretti, as well as Newman’s adult children and grandchildren.

The revelation for me was understanding that Newman had brought to his performance in Road to Perdition his warm relationship with his two male grandchildren. The two boys in Perdition are of course surrogate grandchildren of Rooney/Looney, and Newman’s tragic turbulent time with his late son Scott informs his relationship with troubled son Connor (Daniel Craig)

Both Newman and Woodward are fascinating artists. Newman, a limited one in his earlier phases, played off his natural charm and good looks and became a movie star. Woodward’s instinctive but unerring acting chops made her a movie star first, but also a major actress while Newman seemed a commanding screen presence…but no more. There’s a middle period for Newman, where he finds himself in the humor of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973), and reveals himself in the political fervor of the unfortunate WUSA (1970) and the well-realized Slapshot (1977). He does occsionally retreat into movie star mode for the good Harper (1966) follow-up, The Drowning Pool (1975), and such hollow victories as The Towering Inferno (1974) and Absence of Malice (1981), the latter with its awkward, misjudged relationship with a stridently too young Sally Field. From this came the triumph of The Verdict (1982) and the beginnings of star character roles from his Hustler (1966) sequel, The Color of Money (1986), to a little thing I like to call Road to Perdition (2022).

Woodward, interestingly, resented the loss of her movie stardom to stay-at-home mother with occasional film forays, but quietly roared back with a succession of award-winning TV movies. She and her husband made 16 films together, and he directed several films she starred in.

As might be expected, this fine documentary included a clip from Road to Perdition (2022). What we did not expect was that the clip chosen would be the scene Barb and I had witnessed being shot on our day on set.

Another resonance came from Newman’s first starring film, The Silver Chalice (1954), being the Biblical turkey that producer Victor Saville cynically used Mickey Spillane box office to fund. This is a topic much explored in the forthcoming Spillane – King of Pulp Fiction….

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Check out this lovely essay on the film version of Road to Perdition.

Here is a great write-up about my Dick Tracy novels on a Tracy film website.

Finally, back on the Road to Perdition, here’s an Entertainment Tonight piece I somehow missed; worth looking at.


Sand, Free John Sand Book & More

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

The Book Giveaway for the third John Sand novel, To Live and Spy in Berlin, by Matthew V. Clemens and me and published by Wolfpack starts right now – ten physical copies are available to the first ten of you who ask for one.

[All copies have been claimed! Thank you for your support!]

In return you agree to write a review at Amazon and/or other review venues (Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, various blogs). Should you dislike the book, you are absolved from that duty if you wish.

I would love to run J. Kington Pierce’s wonderful piece on the John Sand books for January Magazine, but you will need to follow the link here.

But it’s so encouraging to see a really intelligent professional and highly respected reviewer understand what Matt and I are up to in the Sand books. Good reviews are great for marketing, but it’s really gratifying when a smart critic “gets it.” (He also writes about it briefly at the Rap Sheet.)

My pal and Titan editor Andrew Sumner did an interview with me for the at-home San Diego Comic Con. It runs an hour and he did his usual terrific job. We cover all the Titan stuff – the forthcoming Ms. Tree Volume 3: The Cold Dish, the current flurry of Nolan books from Hard Case Crime (including Double Down), and next year’s 75th anniversary Mike Hammer novel, Kill Me If You Can for Titan, which I’m writing now (and which is the reason so little content is available here this week beyond the giveaway and some news items). Generously Andrew asks me about non-Titan projects, including the Spillane bio I’m doing with Jim Traylor for Otto Penzler at Mysterious Press and, yes, the John Sand series (and more) at Wolfpack.

I’m also a guest at the home version of the Sentai con, where I discuss Lone Wolf and Cub and Asian action films in regard to Road to Perdition. Info here.

A couple other pieces of news/information.

First, the rights to the Nate Heller novel Better Dead have reverted to me and I hope to line up a new publisher because there’s never been a paperback edition. And for now the e-book is off the market.

Second, in a bizarre mistake, the paperback edition of the Caleb York western Hot Lead, Cold Justice was published with the art for the previously published Last Stage to Hell Junction. A new edition will be published soon by Kensington with the correct art (the same art as the hardcover edition of Hot Lead). I hope to be able to have a way for anyone with the a copy of the wrong cover to be sent a corrected version. More on this later.

Dead-End Jobs: A Hitman Anthology
Paperback: Indiebound Amazon Books-A-Million (BAM) Barnes & Noble (B&N) Powell's
E-Book: Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

Andy Rausch, editor of Dead-End Jobs: A Hitman Anthology (which features a Quarry short story), is interviewed by Michael Gonzales on the subject of fictional hitmen here.

Book Bub has a $1.99 e-book deal on the Mike Hammer novel Murder Never Knocks, which they describe as a page-turning noir thriller: Legendary PI Mike Hammer scours Hollywood’s dark underbelly for the person who tried to have him killed. “This novel supplies the goods: hard-boiled ambience, cynicism, witty banter, and plenty of tough-guy action” (Booklist).

Check out this excellent write-up on an unfortunately out of print collection of my early Dick Tracy work with Rick Fletcher.

Finally, this should lead you to an excellent documentary about Walter Tevis, who (like Richard Yates) was one of my instructors at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop.