Posts Tagged ‘Giveaways’

Biggest Book Giveaway Yet, Boys and Girls!

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

This book giveaway may be my biggest yet.

Two for the Money 2021 Paperback Edition cover
Paperback:

I am offering ten copies each of Kiss Her Goodbye, Shoot-out at Sugar Creek, Two for the Money – these are all books that will be published in April.
Kiss Her Goodbye is a trade paperback from Titan of the third Spillane/Collins Mike Hammer novel, with my original, previously censored ending.

Shoot-out at Sugar Creek is the final Caleb York western being published by Kensington, although I hope to revive the series next year (probably with Wolfpack). This edition is a trade paperback the size of the hardcover and is an advance reading copy.

Two for the Money is a reprint of Hard Case Crime’s omnibus of the first two Nolan novels, Bait Money and Blood Money, with a new cover (the previous one being the rare HCC cover that disappointed).

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

You agree to write a review for Amazon and/or Barnes & Noble (and other review sites, blogs, etc.). This is the honor system, but Big Brother is watching. Or anyway I am.

Kiss Her Goodbye will be of interest to Mike Hammer fans because this is indeed the correct ending for the novel. My previous editor objected to what he considered too big a similarity to the ending of a classic Spillane title; he is a Spillane fan and expert, and I mean no disrespect to him – he was instrumental in getting Mike Hammer back out there – but I should not have given in to him and rewritten it.

So if you already have the hardcover, you still need to get the trade paperback. Yes, it’s double dipping, but there’s a new cherry on the sundae.

* * *

Barb and I are doing a Master Class via Zoom that is available to anyone interested.

DSM Book Festival: Sat. April 3
Workshop: Max Allan Collins at 9 a.m. (duration 1 hour)
Log-in: 8:40 a.m.

Workshop description:
Learn from the masters, Max Allan Collins and his wife Barbara Collins, as they each present their Top 5 Fiction Writing Tips and then field questions from the class. Together, Max and Barb have published the “Trash & Treasures” mystery series. Max is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of “Road to Perdition”, “True Detective,” the Quarry series, “Girl Can’t Help It” and many more.

Here’s the link: https://www.dsmpartnership.com/dsmbookfestival/attend/writers-workshops

They are taking registrations for until March 30.

* * *
Anatomy of a Murder DVD Cover

Several classic films got watched around the Collins household this weekend.

First, one of my top ten turned up in high-def on TCM – Anatomy of a Murder. I watch this once a year, and am astonished by how caught up in it I get every time. It’s a perfect movie. Otto Preminger may have been a cruel taskmaster, but he made some great films (Anatomy the greatest, but Laura and Advice and Consent ain’t chopped liver, nor are a bunch of other films noir, and he pushed the censor’s envelope with Moon Is Blue and Man With a Golden Arm) (on the other hand…Skidoo).

James Stewart is at the top of his powers in Anatomy, and I am reminded that he was the greatest film actor of the 20th Century. That sounds like I’m stating a fact. I am. No one starred in, and propelled, more great films than Stewart. If you can top this list with your choice, feel free to try – Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Shop Around the Corner, The Philadelphia Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Winchester ‘73, Harvey, Rear Window, Vertigo, Anatomy of a Murder, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance).

And that’s just the great films. It doesn’t count the really good ones, like the other Anthony Mann films he made, or Bell, Book and Candle, or Rope, or Destry Rides Again, or The Man Who Knew Too Much, or Flight of the Phoenix, or The Shootist.

He made Vertigo, Bell, Book and Candle and Anatomy of a Murder right in a row – astounding. On my birthday Barb and I watched Vertigo in 4K in case I’d forgotten that it was my favorite movie. I would hate to have to choose between Vertigo and Anatomy of a Murder for Stewart’s best performance, and they are quite different, at that.

I love courtroom dramas and Anatomy is the best I’ve ever seen. It’s based on a novel by a lawyer (Robert Traver) and was itself based on a real murder case that lawyer won as a defense attorney. Boldly shot entirely on location, the film has a stunning, innovative jazz score by Duke Ellington and amazing opening credits by Saul Bass. For its day it was daring in its subject matter and frank expression thereof.

But perhaps what dazzles me most, every time I see it, is the intersection of two eras – Stewart as a Golden Age movie star going head to head with the Method crowd of Ben Gazzara, George C. Scott and Lee Remick. Gazzara and Remick are terrific in it, and Scott too…but Stewart owns the picture anyway. He is aided and abetted by two classic Hollywood supporting players – Eve Arden and Arthur O’Connell.

Two supporting performances stand out for me – Orson Bean, a personal favorite of mine (for The Star Wagon if nothing else), and Joseph Welch, Joe McCarthy’s real-life nemesis who, though an amateur actor, more than holds his own in this heady company.

Interestingly, another supporting player – Russ Brown – turned up in the second half of our amazing double feature this weekend – Damn Yankees (1958), on Blu-ray at last. Brown played the trainer of the Washington Senators in the great Broadway hit brought very faithfully to the screen by George Abbott and Stanley Donen. In the original show, Brown won a Tony as did Gwen Verdon and Ray Walston, and choreographer Bob Fosse.

Damn Yankees is one of the handful of Broadway musicals done justice by Hollywood – others include Li’l Abner, Pajama Game and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Pajama Game was based on the novel 7 ½ Cents by Iowa novelist Richard Bissell (another personal favorite). Both Pajama Game and Damn Yankees (also from a novel, Douglas Wallop’s The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant) had scores by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, but tragically Ross died at age 29, leaving only these two great shows and a few pop songs as a nonetheless amazing legacy for the team.

The films of Damn Yankees and Pajama Game brought almost the entire Broadway casts along for the ride. Pajama Game replaced Janis Paige with Doris Day and Damn Yankees replaced Robert Shafer with Tab Hunter. Hunter gets a bad rap, sometimes, for his performance, but he’s quite good.

While I’m ruminating about (not quite reviewing) films I’ve seen recently, I should mention Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which lasts four hours plus and is streaming on HBO Max. This is an odd duck of a movie for many reasons. Director/writer Snyder left the original filming due to a family tragedy and Joss Whedon took over. Fans largely recoiled at Whedon’s version, which took a somewhat light approach to what had been conceived as a dark film. He re-shot most of it. I’ve often liked Whedon’s work, but his Justice League only looks good if you compare it to Wonder Woman 1984.

Snyder restored the material Whedon either cut or ignored of a film Snyder had shot 80% of, albeit minus most special effects. Fan pressure, amazingly, got Snyder the opportunity (i.e., the funding) to complete the film his way, and it’s better. Obviously over-long, but on its own quirky terms, it’s a super-hero epic worth seeing.

But quirky is right – for one thing, he presents the film in 4:3 ratio, which is to say, old-fashioned square TV format, apparently because that’s the I-Max format, even though not much of the film had been shot that way. Oh-kay….

And he got most of the cast back to film an apocalyptic dream sequence that ruins an otherwise acceptable epilogue. The dream sequence features ridiculously misjudged dialogue between Ben Affleck’s Batman and Jared Leto’s Joker (otherwise not in the film). How ridiculous? Batman talks about “fucking killing” Harley Quinn, and the Joker rhapsodizes about giving Batman a “reach-around.” Plus, it lasts a long time, right after we’ve sat through about four hours of capes and quips. Not okay.

Curiously, the film goes out of its way to set up the next film in the saga that Snyder would have made had Warner’s and DC not cancelled it. So rather than take the opportunity to bring his saga to a satisfying conclusion, Snyder tosses loose ends right and left, as if daring somebody to give him more money to keep going.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed it. I took the ride. I just wish I had turned it off when the dream sequence (initially not obviously a dream sequence, more a flash-forward) (including the Flash) gave a bad taste to a good time.

* * *

Here’s an interview I did with Brian Vakulskas on KSCJ radio in Sioux City, largely about the current Nolan novel, Skim Deep. The interviewer knew his stuff.

And here’s an advance look at the third Ms. Tree collection from Titan.

M.A.C.

Shoot the Moon & A Shot in the Arm

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021
Shoot the Moon Cover
E-Book: Amazon Purchase Link
Trade Paperback: Indiebound Purchase Link Bookshop Purchase Link Amazon Purchase Link Books-A-Million Purchase Link Barnes & Noble Purchase Link

Yes, it’s one of our ever-popular book giveaways. I have ten copies to give to the first ten readers who request it and agree to do an Amazon (and/or other) review. Those of you who have won books in the past and have not posted a review yet, for shame. Those of you who have won books and hated the book and haven’t posted a review, thank you.

[All copies for the giveaway have been claimed. Thank you for your support! –Nate]

Anyway, this is for Shoot the Moon, which is a repackaging (with revised intro) of Early Crimes. I’ve done this because Shoot the Moon is a novel and Early Crimes was rather inaccurately described as a collection. What we have is a novel, written about six books into my career, that was my attempt to do a Donald E. Westlake-style comedy of crime. By now you can see that Westlake was a major influence on my work, and was in fact a mentor to me when I was working on Bait Money, the first published Nolan novel, which of course was written as a pastiche/homage to Westlake’s Richard Stark-bylined Parker novels.

So perhaps it was natural that I try to follow in his other footsteps, and Shoot the Moon is that novel. It’s a short novel (but not a novella) and the two early short stories, “Public Servant” and “The Love Rack,” follow the novel as the equivalent of DVD/Blu-ray bonus features.

Back to the book giveaway. Write me at [link removed], and (this is important) include your snail mail address, even if you’ve won before. This is for USA only. That’s not patriotism, it’s cheapness (foreign postage is particularly high in the Covid era).

Speaking of which….

Barb and I have received our first vaccine doses (the Pfizer variety) and we are greatly relieved. How we got it is reflective of the difficulties even those of us who are seniors with underlying conditions are having getting vaccinated for Covid-19. Here’s our story.

For about a month I have been haunting the site of the Hy-Vee supermarket’s pharmacy (Hy-Vee being the major grocery chain in Iowa). It’s where Barb and I step outside of sheltering in place to take in “geezer” hour and do our weekly grocery shopping. The benefits are fewer people and ‘60s-era oldies playing instead of country western.

About four trips to Hy-Vee ago, I stopped at the pharmacy window to ask how I went about getting an appointment for vaccination. I was told by the pleasant young woman to sign up on-line and I would receive updates. (To date, I have received none. I also enrolled at Walgreens and also got zip updates.) On my next trip to the Hy-Vee pharmacy I inquired about when a vaccine shipment might be coming in and learned that one had in fact come in two days ago – 200 doses – and were gone in an hour.

That was when I asked (Barb said, “Don’t be angry!”) why I hadn’t received an update, and was told what I needed to do was keep refreshing the Hy-Vee pharmacy page on Facebook. I went home and began doing that, probably a dozen times a day – not a hardship, as I work at my computer. Two shipments would be coming in the following week, I was assured.

A week later I was told (credibly) the shipments hadn’t made it because of the cold in Texas that Ted Cruz was avoiding. I went home and began refreshing and refreshing.

The next week – this past week – I asked when the next shipment was coming in and was told by the pleasant young woman that it already had and was gone. (Two shipments had become one shipment.) I asked why the updates had never come and why all my refreshing hadn’t indicated any shipment ever had. The answer was not direct. I was advised to go to another web site and sign up there for…updates.

I trudged off and caught up with Barb, who was shopping to the tune of “Swinging School” by Bobby Rydell. I followed, considerably less happy than I usually am hearing Bobby Rydell, who is a favorite. Suddenly I said, “I’m going back there.”

“Why?”

“It’s unclear exactly what page I’m supposed to be refreshing.”

“Be nice.”

This conversation was conducted through masks, of course.

I said, “What do you mean?”

She said, “You’re a hothead.”

Never had I ever been so insulted! That she had a point was…beside the point…or something. I trudged back.

The pleasant young woman behind the counter said, “I was just going to page you.”

“Why?”

“Get your wife. We’ve had two cancellations and we start vaccinating in fifteen minutes.”

I ran – let’s call it power-walked – to Barb, pushing her cart with the patience of Sisyphus pushing his big rock, and at about the same speed.

“Come with me,” I said.

“Why?” She was understandably suspicious.

“They’ve had two cancellations.”

Suddenly my wife loved me again. Suddenly my stubborn hotheadedness had been transformed into blessed persistence.

I don’t blame anybody for this, and I do thank Hy-Vee for stepping up in the war against Covid and for the pleasant young woman having the presence of mind – and, frankly, compassion – to take advantage of those two cancellations…and the opportunity to get rid of me.

The vaccines will start flowing better, I am sure. Some of my readers support Trump, and that’s fine. I like anchovies. But nobody can say Joe Biden isn’t taking this pandemic seriously, and things are going to get better and soon. But right now it felt like the luckiest of lucky breaks to blunder in making a weekly nuisance of myself with stupid questions and a generally incompetent approach to getting vaccinated and be able to fill two cancellations and feel like our lives had been saved.

The bottom line, of course, is: it’s better to be lucky than smart.

M.A.C. waiting to get a COVID vaccine.

M.A.C. receiving the COVID vaccine.

* * *

Our sheltering in place has gone on for just about a year, Barb and I. We take it very seriously. Her health is fine, but she’s only a few months younger than me, so she needs protection and I’m not talking condoms. And I have enough underlying conditions to just check “all of the above” on a physician’s questionnaire.

So tomorrow (if you are reading this on the Tuesday it was posted) I will turn 73. It seems unreal to me, but I will tell you this – as long as I have my marbles, and can find venues that will have me, I will keep working. I will keep writing. Skim Deep is the new Nolan novel and the first one appeared in 1973, and was written around 1970. So do the math. It’s almost beyond belief that I recently wrote an entry in a series I created fifty-one years ago.

And I just completed Quarry’s Blood, in a series that began with a book I started in 1971. Fifty years ago.

Mickey Spillane used to talk to me about this – how writing was the only business you could stay at as long as you had decent health, no matter what age you might be. And that you can keep improving all along the way.

I’m not sure if that’s correct. I know there are many things I do better now, but I also know that the rigors of a work like Stolen Away might be beyond me. Nonetheless, I intend to do another Heller later this year, if the contract comes through.

Oh, as for my birthday. I am not fishing for birthday wishes, here or on Facebook or even in my snail-mail mailbox. If you want to send a gift, though, checks are best. Sorry – no PayPal account.

And if you really are, seriously, looking for a way to say Happy Birthday to me, buy one of the recent books: Come Spy With Me, Skim Deep, Masquerade for Murder, Antiques Fire Sale, Reincarnal, Shoot the Moon, Ms. Tree Vol. 2: Skeleton in the Closet, Murderlized, or maybe one of the great audiobooks that Skyboat Media is putting out (they’re doing all of the Nolans!). And the Wolfpack trade paperbacks are very handsome books indeed.

Here’s an idea: post a positive review for Max for his birthday.

* * *

I have seen some interesting things of late. I am particularly taken by a new sub-genre that Groundhog Day has spawned – specifically, movies that openly, unabashedly borrow its premise. Happy Death Day is a crafty horror-movie take on the Time Loop premise, and its sequel, Happy Death Day 2U, is more of the same but also good. Edge of Tomorrow is a strong s-f variation.

Two excellent rom-com takes are streaming right now – Palm Springs starring Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg, and The Map of Tiny Perfect Things starring Kathryn Newton and Kyle Allen. What’s fascinating about these two is that, despite both depicting a couple caught in a Time Loop with a romance developing, each is different and makes its own point. And, while both films name-check Groundhog Day on screen, they demonstrate that the Time Loop concept has plenty more places to go.

As I say, a new sub-genre.

Now to a controversial topic. Barb and I gave up on Hamilton after about 45 minutes. I’ve made it clear that I am a musical comedy fan – that I love Rodgers and Hammerstein and Stephen Sondheim and Frank Loesser. The upcoming Blu-ray release of Damn Yankees has me giddy. And Hamilton certainly is a spectacle with a stage brimming with energy and talent.

What’s wrong with it – for me – is the rap/hip hop aspect. And that’s my problem. But I can’t get past it. I hate rap almost as much as I hate country western – maybe more. To my ancient ears, it’s just a bunch of rhyming and fast-talk gymnastics, and has little to do with music, although the percussive aspect is catchy in the way melodies used to be.

All-black musicals are nothing new – this one does have a few white faces dropped in – as The Wiz and Ain’t Misbehavin’ and many others demonstrate. All-black revivals of the likes of Guys and Dolls and Hello Dolly! have done very well, both critically and at the box office. But Porgy and Bess and Carmen Jones were originals, and the faithful films of both are both problematic today, I’m afraid, despite the wealth of talent on display.

Hamilton feels like a fad to me, not a Broadway classic unfolding before our eyes. But I am probably wrong.

As I said earlier, I will be 73 this week. This musical isn’t for me. As someone who has loved popular culture my entire life – loved my generation’s pop culture, but also my parents’ and my grandparents’ and much of my son’s – I am disappointed that Hamilton doesn’t touch me the way Sweeney Todd or Carousel or How To Succeed in Business do.

My fault. My loss.

* * *

Here’s a peek at the Spillane/Collins “Mike Hammer” short story, “Killer’s Alley,” in this month’s Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Just a taste….

From the great Ron Fortier comes this splendid review of Reincarnal.

Finally, here’s an article on the best Batman stories drawn by Norm Breyfogle, one of which is mine.

M.A.C.

Book Give-Away, Noir Alley Clips, and a Current Interview

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021
Max Allan Collins holding up a trade paperback of Reincarnal & Other Dark Tales

This week we have fifteen copies of the beautiful Wolfpack trade paperback edition of Reincarnal & Other Dark Tales to give away. I’ve written about this book here before, but I only now have physical copies in hand.

[All copies have been claimed. Thank you for your support! New updates are posted every Tuesday at 9 Central. — Nate]

If you miss out on the giveaway, I hope you’ll order it anyway, either on Kindle or this very cool trade paperback, which is a rather massive 330-some pages. It collects virtually all of my horror short stories, including two radio plays written for Fangoria’s Dreadtime Stories.

Be forewarned (or enticed, as the case may be) that many of the stories in Reincarnal (as the title may indicate) have a strong sexual element. This has to do with many of them originally having been published in erotic horror anthologies, back in the day when such stalwarts as Marty Greenberg, Jeff Gelb and Ed Gorman were turning out wonderful “theme” anthologies of original stories.

As I said here before, horror is a strong element of my fiction – you can see it in the Mommy novels (available from Wolfpack), many of the Quarry novels (The Wrong Quarry), a number of Hellers (Angel in Black), Eliot Ness (Butcher’s Dozen) and novels by Barb and me (Regeneration). Even the recent non-fiction work, Eliot Ness and the Mad Butcher (by A. Brad Schwartz and myself) qualifies as horror-tinged. The only horror tales not collected in Reincarnal can be found in the Wolfpack collections Murderlized (gathering collaborative stories by Matt Clemens and me), Blue Christmas (holiday horror and dark suspense), and Murder – His and Hers (stories by Barb and me).

While I am first and foremost a novelist, I do enjoy writing short stories and it’s long been an ambition to see collections of my shorter fiction, like Reincarnal, give those stories a certain permanence.

* * *

If you missed my second guest shot with Eddie Muller on Noir Alley, here is the intro and the outro for Born to Kill, a great crime movie you should see (the TCM streaming service has it right now).

* * *

Publisher’s Weekly has a great article by Lenny Picker about Hard Case Crime. I can’t share it with you, because PW requires you to subscribe for the link to go through.

I was interviewed for the PW article on HCC, and a grand total of one paragraph was used (in part) in that article. So, since that interview is very up-to-date as to what I’m up to, I’ll share it here:

What led you to have some of your books published by Hard Case Crime? In other words, what makes a Collins book a better fit for HCC?

When editor/publisher Charles Ardai began Hard Case Crime, he featured a number of reprints among the originals, from the classic likes of Erle Stanley Gardner and Lawrence Block. He approached me about reprinting the second Nolan novel, Blood Money, and I suggested he reprint both it and the first in the series, Bait Money, under one cover, which he did, as Two for the Money. Later he approached me about doing another reprint and I offered instead to write an original. It was obvious to me Charles and his partner Max Phillips had a love and feel for classic hardboiled fiction and represented a home for what I most like to write in a market not terribly conducive to that.

Another fact was the retro packaging, the covers that were not only fully illustrative in the fashion of ’50s and ’60s paperback suspense novels, but depicted beautiful femme fatales and handsome tough guys, in a fashion that had become essentially forbidden due to politically correct restraints at other publishers. HCC has a way of saying, “We’re retro, not Neanderthals. We have our tongue slightly in cheek as we celebrate a form of American mystery fiction pioneered by such greats as Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.”

What makes them different from other publishers/imprints?

They go their own way and are motivated by a love for the noir genre, taking risks with new talent and respect older talent. Charles Ardai encourages me to write what I want to write. I’m at a point in my career and, frankly, at an age where being able to write what I want means more than financial considerations, an approach that can pay off better than a more market-driven, cynical one.

For example, the first original I did for HCC was a return to my Quarry series, which had become a cult favorite after its initial four-book run in the mid-’70s and a one-shot comeback ten years later. I’d always wanted to complete the series and The Last Quarry was intended to be the final book about my hitman character…the first contract killer to “star” in a book series. The Last Quarry was popular and widely well-reviewed. Charles said, “Too bad you’ve written the last book in the series.” And I said, “How about I write, The First Quarry?” Since then another dozen or so have followed. An award-winning short film I wrote led to a Quarry feature film (The Last Lullaby), and a few years ago HBO/Cinemax did a Quarry TV series.

What led you to revive Nolan last month?

Charles has been after me to do that dating back to Two for the Money. I resisted, feeling my novel Spree was the proper ending to the series. But he said he’d bring the early books back out if I did a coda to the series, which I have — the current Skim Deep. Now I’m writing a coda to The Last Quarry called Quarry’s Blood. My hitman is 68 years old in the novel, which is younger than me.

How hard was it to return to the character after so many years?

Not at all. I spent almost two years, when I was at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop in the late ’60s, writing that novel. My instructor was Richard Yates, the great mainstream novelist. I also studied with Walter Tevis, whose reputation is getting a boost from The Queen’s Gambit mini-series. So I spent a lot of time with Nolan and his young sidekick Jon, and then there were the other six novels and several versions of a Nolan screenplay I wrote a while back…unproduced as yet, but it got optioned. A movie is brewing now combining elements of several of the novels.

How was writing him different?

He was an old man of 48 when I conceived him at age 20. Now he’s 55 and really something of an old man, so my perspective on him has shifted.

Are there other characters that you’re planning on reviving?

I get requests to do another Mallory, but that character was based on me, which doesn’t interest me. My recent Krista Larson series I hope to keep going, and when the political world settles down, if it ever does, I might do another Reeder & Rogers novel with Matt Clemens, who I’m writing the James Bond-ish “John Sand” novels with now for Wolfpack. My wife Barb and I are continuing the long-running Antiques series we write together as Barbara Allan, with Severn now.

The biggest thing will be taking Nathan Heller to HCC. I consider the Heller novels – which as you know are traditional tough private eye novels dealing with major crimes of the Twentieth Century – my best work, my signature work. But I don’t spend all my time looking backward. I’m working on two projects for Neo-Text, one a ’40s female private eye, Fancy Anders, who solves mysteries involving an aircraft plant, a movie studio, and the Hollywood Canteen. The other is a science-fiction-tinged noir collaborating with SCTV star Dave Thomas, who was a writer/producer on Blacklist and Bones, for which I wrote a tie-in novel.

I should note that HCC has been a supporter of my work building up the legacy of my friend and mentor, Mickey Spillane. We’ve done several books at HCC, and something like fourteen Mike Hammer novels at HCC’s parent company, Titan. These all reflect my completing unfinished manuscripts from Mickey’s files, something he asked me to do shortly before his passing in 2006. Next year is the 75th anniversary of Mike Hammer, and I’ll be doing a biography of him with James Traylor for Otto Penzler at Mysterious Press. It’s people like Charles and Otto who nurture and keep the hardboiled genre alive in the face of changing times.

What would you most want article readers to know about HCC?

HCC is a boutique publisher that cares about books, readers, and authors. I am extremely grateful to them for letting pursue my work my way.

* * *

A reader in this You Tube piece recommends five HCC titles to represent that publisher’s output, and The First Quarry is one of them!

And, finally, this fantastic review from the UK of the current Mike Hammer, Masquerade for Murder.

M.A.C.

Come Spy With Free!

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020
Come Spy With Me Advertisement

Yes, it’s yet another M.A.C. Book Giveaway!

I have ten copies to give away of the very handsome Wolfpack trade paperback of Come Spy With Me by yrs truly and Matt Clemens, the first in the John Sand series. Should you win a copy, you agree to write a review for Amazon and/or Barnes & Noble (review blogs are also kosher). [All copies have been claimed. Thank you for your support! — Nate]

These reviews are extremely important (and not just from those of you who get a free book now and then). Amazon is key, because the e-book version is available only on Kindle, Amazon’s format. The trade paperback can be ordered at Barnes & Noble and other on-line retailers. I think finding a copy at a brick-and-mortar store is unlikely, at least at this point.

Wolfpack has been very supportive and even ran a big ad in Publisher’s Weekly (reproduced here).

I should have mentioned when I announced the Skim Deep book giveaway a few weeks ago that you cannot post reviews at Amazon until the book’s publication date (Come Spy With Me is out now). Those were advance copies of Skim Deep, and a few of you tried to post reviews unsuccessfully. Amazon is listing that pub date as Jan. 5, although I believe that’s inaccurate – it’s actually going to be available early December. I will try to get this corrected at Amazon, but keep trying if you’ve written your review, when we get into December. I’ll try to have updated info on the official pub date soon.

(By the way, Nate always provides ordering links when you click on the first mention of a book title in any of these updates.)

Meanwhile, Booklist has given Skim Deep a very strong review:

Skim Deep. By Max Allan Collins Dec. 2020. 256p. Hard Case Crime, paper, $10.95 ( 9781789091397)

Collins’ first novel, published in 1972, was called Bait Money and was intended as a stand-alone homage to Donald E. Westlake’s Parker thrillers, which Westlake wrote as Richard Stark. The one-off homage, however, became a series starring Collins’ version of Parker, superthief Nolan, and his surrogate son, musician and comics artist Jon.

Now Collins returns to Nolan and Jon in a new adventure, set in the late 1980s. Nolan, living the straight life as a restaurateur in the Quad Cities, has decided it’s time to marry his longtime lover, Sherry. A trip to Las Vegas ensues, where the newlyweds reunite with Jon and settle in for a long weekend of fun and frolic. Not quite. Unfortunately, one of Nolan’s pals from the bad old days has a plan to steal a week’s worth of skim from a Mobbed-up casino and to use Nolan as the fall guy. Meanwhile, trouble’s brewing back in Iowa, too, where a Ma Barker–type wants Nolan’s head in a basket (literally).

This jaunty caper novel has a definite dark side—Nolan is no ersatz antihero—but Collins, as always, mixes blood and badinage with gusto. — Bill Ott

Ms. Tree, Volume Two: Skeleton in the Closet has made the Mystery Scene Gift Guide, as assembled by the great Kevin Burton Smith of the equally great Thrilling Detective web site. Burton describes Ms. Tree as “9mmm-toting Chicago private eye, Michael Tree, who’s been pushing envelopes and taking out bad guys since 1981 (scooping Grafton, Paretsky, et al., on women’s issues and Law & Order on “ripped from the headlines” plots in the process). This volume rounds up the rest of the uncollected stories from the DC Comics 1990s run (which Collins considers ‘the best’ of the long-running series), and it’s just waiting for a whole new generation of fans. As usual, Tree and her agency take the ‘edgy route,’ dealing with homophobia, date rape, POW/MIAs and…exorcism?”

November, of course, means Gift Guide and Black Friday deals and other holiday-oriented consumerism. In these Pandemic times, gift buying has been driven indoors even more than in recent years, and it also finds us (well, me anyway) in a WTF mood when it comes to, “Should I buy this or not?”

So here are a few suggestions for yourself and others.

Kino Lorber has a Noir-vember sale that ends today – November 24, 2020 – but if you read these updates the day they appear, you have time to partake of a number of noir (or anyway noir-ish) titles. But pertinent to our interests here, they have:

The Girl Hunters (Blu-ray $12.99 and DVD 9.99). I did the commentary and the interview footage with Mickey from the Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane shoot in 1999.

My Gun Is Quick (Blu-ray $7.99 and DVD 6.99)

I, the Jury (Blu-ray $9.99) The Armand Assante version.

Among other strong titles on sale are I Wake Up Screaming, Murder He Says (among my favorite comedies), and No Orchids for Miss Blandish.

Even if the sale is over, check the prices at Kino Lorber’s site. They run lots of sales and tend to be cheaper than ordering from other on-line retailers of their product.

For Spillane completists, the low-budget 1970 production of The Delta Factor (which Mickey co-produced) is available in a decent gray-market edition here.

Be advised that I haven’t found a really good-looking copy of this film anywhere, and this one at least comes in a fun full color package. If you’re into collecting oddball stuff (like I am), this seller – J4HI.com – has a wonderful off-the-wall selection. Regular sales and new titles are always in the offing. Buying several titles at once lowers the price per disc.

Tell Mike that Max sent you.

* * *

My production has slowed down for a few weeks. A very stressful situation having to do with a copy editor rewriting me practically line by line sent me into AFib. Atrial fibrillation is an occasional side-effect of my heart trouble of a few years ago, and I had to go into the hospital briefly for what is called cardioversion. This is basically getting your heart shocked back into its correct rhythm, or, as I like to put it, getting jump-started like an old Buick.

I appear to be fine, though I’m having to take it easy, which is generally against my nature.

What I am having to deal with is more psychological than anything else. I apparently care too much about my work. I’ve expressed my general hatred for copy editors here and that came to a head with this episode. Barb has drilled into me not to get bent out of shape about this kind of thing, with a “Is it worth dying over?” mantra.

She’s right, and I am working on it.

As for copy editors, I should amend my expressed hatred, which is deep and abiding, to apply only to the intrusive ones. All writers need a copy editor to check for inconsistencies, missing words, typos, etc. But about fifty percent of the copy editors I’ve dealt with over my career have appointed themselves co-authors. There appears to be an army of young people, fresh out of college and armed with a degree in English, whose goal in life is to teach a professional writer with fifty years in the business how to do what he does.

I attach a letter to the copy editor with every book manuscript, tweaked for that specific novel; but often my missive is ignored.

Anyway, I’m doing fine.

And the battle goes on. In a lower-key fashion, but on.

* * *

Here’s a nice review of Skim Deep at Crime Fiction Lover.

Please stay safe over this Thanksgiving holiday. We are back to sheltering in place interrupted by only a very early morning grocery run every week or two.

It’s like my raging against copy editors – Thanksgiving with family and friends…is it worth dying over?

M.A.C.