Posts Tagged ‘Killing Quarry’

Mistake for Murder – Hammer Time

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

Hardcover:
E-Book: Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes
Digital Audiobook:

Turns out I make mistakes now and then. Who’d have thunk it.

A reader tells me I mangled an entry in the bibliographic essay at the conclusion of Do No Harm, for example. I will try to correct it in the ebook, when things settle down, but for now it’s all I’ll think about when I look at that book. A small continuity error in Killing Quarry is all I see when I look at the cover of that one (the e-book has been corrected).

For those caring enough to read this weekly update, I made another mistake, although it was not exactly my (or anybody’s) fault. Turns out the new Mike Hammer, Masquerade for Murder, was published on March 17, the original announced date, and not April 7, having supposedly been postponed to that date. The audio is available, too, read by the great Stefan Rudnicki.

Now, here’s the surprise Spillane ending: the novel’s release really has been postponed till April 7…in the UK. Which sort of lessens my error, because after all the publisher is Titan, which is a British publishing house.

The bottom line is you lucky Americans can rush out and buy it now…well, you can order it online, anyway. Corona virus is doing nobody any favors – not even Smith Corona Virus. I may or may not do a book giveaway to help promote the book – I need to discuss the logistics of that with Barb.

Let me take this opportunity to discuss the new Hammer book a bit. The title of Masquerade for Murder is in line with the Stacy Keach TV movies of the ‘80s, all of which had “Murder” in their titles. This is fitting because the synopsis Mickey wrote, from which I developed the novel, was likely written for the Keach series, as was the case with Murder, My Love (the previous Hammer novel).

These two novels have in common something uncommon in Mike Hammer novels – the detective has a client in both of them. In Mickey’s famous novels, starting with I, the Jury, Hammer almost always is on a personal crusade, a vengeance hunt usually (a girl hunt in, well, The Girl Hunters). But with a TV series, Hammer couldn’t play vigilante every episode – the Darren McGavin version only has a handful of revenge plots, for example – so it’s natural Mickey might have developed these synopses with TV in mind.

The only TV synopses he wrote that became a novel written solely by him was The Killing Man, and it had Hammer personally motivated. Mickey did not submit that synopsis, by the way, considering the story “too good for TV.” (He apparently developed a synopsis for the terrible Keach-less Hammer TV movie, Come Die With Me, but only his ending was utilized.)

If Mickey was writing these synopses with television in mind, what am I doing developing novels out of them, in the case of Masquerade for Murder and the previous Murder, My Love?

Let me discuss what my procedure has been in creating novels where my famous co-author is deceased.

As I’ve reported numerous times, Mickey’s wife Jane and my wife Barb and I went on a treasure hunt – following Mickey’s directive shortly before his passing – for unfinished material in his three offices at his South Carolina home.

Our discoveries included half a dozen Mike Hammer manuscripts that represented works well in progress. These were usually 100 pages or a little more (double-spaced) and often had character and plot notes, and in a few cases endings.

Mickey had been racing to finish what he intended to be the last Mike Hammer novel, chronologically, The Goliath Bone, all but a few chapters of which were unfinished, and a roughed-out ending was there, too. But because of the terrible ticking clock he was working under, Mickey’s nearly complete draft was much shorter than usual and required fleshing out. Also, the novel had no murder mystery aspect. I provided the latter (his ending is the basis of the second to the last chapter).

A non-Hammer novel, Dead Street, existed in a nearly complete draft, a little rougher than usual but with almost everything there. Dead Street had been written in a stop-and-start fashion, however, and had some inconsistencies due to being written over a longer span of time than usual. I smoothed things out, and wrote the last several (missing) chapters.

The other five Hammers-in-progress – The Big Bang; Kiss Her Goodbye; Lady, Go Die!; Complex 90; King of the Weeds – all had individual issues for me to deal with. The Big Bang consisted of about a third of the novel in finished form, and Mickey had told me the ending; but no plot and character notes turned up. Kiss Her Goodbye existed in two substantial manuscripts that went in two different directions (different mysteries developing); a lot of plot and character notes existed. I combined the two manuscripts – removing the redundant material – and used both mysteries, weaving them together.

Lady, Go Die! was an early manuscript, an unfinished follow-up to I, the Jury which had a good chunk of manuscript – about sixty pages – but was missing the first chapter. I had set this manuscript aside until I’d completed the first three Hammers, so that I felt comfortable enough to write the first chapter of one without Spillane input – I’d been intimidated, because nobody wrote better first chapters than Mickey Spillane. And I had a Spillane first chapter for another Hammer that seemed to be a 1970s reworking of the much-earlier story, and this I was able to use about half-way through the novel, to put more Spillane content in.

Complex 90 ran around 100 pages, very polished, but also had an issue: in the opening chapter, Hammer reports his harrowing adventures in Russia to some government spooks. I decided to turn that exposition into a flashback taking Hammer to Russia and experiencing all of his exploits first-hand. So that novel is unusual because it’s mostly the middle third that represents Mickey’s work.

King of the Weeds was the most challenging, and I had held it off for last, since my initial goal was to get these six substantial Hammer novels completed (and to complete Dead Street). Mickey conceived King of the Weeds as the final Hammer (changing his mind after the Twin Towers attack, which sparked Goliath Bone). At some point he misplaced the manuscript and – this is typically Mickey – just started over.

So I had two manuscripts to combine, including two very different opening chapters (the ending he had shared with me in a late-night gab session). The other difficult aspect was that Mickey was doing a direct sequel to Black Alley, a book that at that time was out of print. I almost threw out the Black Alley sequel material, but ultimately couldn’t bring myself not to follow Mickey’s wishes. Ironically, King of the Weeds became one of the strongest of the novels.

There was more material in Mickey’s files. I had done Dead Street for Charles Ardai at Hard Case Crime, and now completed for HCC the sequel to The Delta Factor, another 100-page Spillane novel-in-progress that gave the world a second Morgan the Raider yarn.

Titan was anxious for me to continue Hammer. I had about forty or fifty pages of the novel Mickey began after Kiss Me, Deadly – a false start for The Girl Hunters with gangsters not Russian spies as the bad guys. It included Hammer traveling to Miami for an unusual change of scene and I felt had great potential. That became Kill Me, Darling.

A strong opening chapter by Mickey, plus some plot notes and his terrific ending became Murder Never Knocks. Two detailed opening chapters by Mickey became The Will to Kill. And – with Mickey’s 100th birthday in mind – I had held back about sixty pages of Mickey’s first, pre-I, the Jury (unfinished) Mike Hammer novel, Killing Town.

Mickey’s last completed novel, The Last Stand, a non-Mike Hammer, was wonderful but somewhat atypical, and rather short. So I revised an unpublished, very typical early novella, “A Bullet for Satisfaction,” and it became a sort of preamble to Mickey’s final novel, published by Hard Case Crime. Interestingly, The Last Stand is a modern-day western, and another Spillane project of mine has been to develop a novel and then series of books from an unproduced screenplay he wrote for his buddy John Wayne – the script that became The Legend of Caleb York.

And there’s been a collection of eight Hammer short stories (A Long Time Dead) developed from shorter fragments. I have also sold a handful of non-Hammer short stories, which may someday be collected.

Which brings us up to the latest Hammer novels, last year’s Murder, My Love and Masquerade for Murder. Murder, My Love is the only Hammer novel so far with no Spillane prose stirred in – strictly Mickey’s basic plot. The new book, Masquerade for Murder, came from a rather detailed synopsis, and the opening description of NYC is mostly Mickey’s, with a mini-sequence between Pat Chambers and Mike (about Hammer’s propensity for low-tech armament) that is Mickey’s as well. I feel good about how smoothly this material stirred in.

Where to now?

I have proposed three more Hammer novels, all from Spillane material. One combines two non-Hammer (but Hammer-ish) fragments, including a very different take on Dead Street; another will utilize a Hammer story Mickey developed for radio and again for TV, unproduced; and finally another synopsis apparently for a Keach-era Hammer episode.

I know some of you know all of this, but I thought it might be a good idea to get this recorded and in one place. Also, maybe it will inspire you to get hold of Masquerade for Murder, which I think is a damn good entry in this series.

I can’t express what it means to me to look over at the shelf and see Mickey’s Hammer novels residing next to the ones I’ve completed for him…and for me, the teenager in Iowa who wanted more, more, more Mike Hammer.

* * *

Speaking of short stories, Barb and I – writing as Barbara Allan, of course – have sold a short story to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine – “What’s Wrong with Harley Quinn?” It’s not an Antiques story, but rather harks back to the kind of nasty little tale my beautiful and talented wife concocted when she was specializing in short stories.

It’s a very big deal to get published in EQMM, and we are thrilled.

* * *

With Masquerade for Murder the subject of today’s update, I am pleased to share with you this terrific review of that very novel.

The word is out about Nolan’s somewhat imminent return in Skim Deep. Read about it here.

Also, my friends at Paperback Warrior have a podcast, always interesting, which this week includes some commentary on the Nolan series.

Here’s a wonderful Ron Fortier review of the Brash Books edition of Black Hats.

Guess who’s an Irish comic book character? Michael O’Sullivan, that’s who! Check it out here.

Both yrs truly and Barbara Allan get good play on this discussion of Quad Cities area authors. Hey, what about Matthew V. Clemens?

M.A.C.

A Do No Harm Excerpt, and Markers

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

Here is a free excerpt from Do No Harm, the soon-to-be-published Nathan Heller novel.

* * *

As I approach my 72nd birthday (March 3 – plenty of time left for gift-buying), I am struck by the surprising emergence of ageism in my career, the tumultuous times I’m being forced to tolerate, and changing tastes that are understandably somewhat foreign to me. The latter has never proved a problem for me, but time and age have finally caught up with me on that score. I believe it has a lot to do with the fragmentation of the culture, including and maybe particularly the pop culture, where there is too much stuff to keep track of. Too many choices.

Too many choices has an upside – it means new venues are available for storytellers. It may also mean less pay, in some cases, but my focus now is on being able to continue telling stories. Part of why I am less tuned into the popular culture of the day has to do with my increased focus on my own work – in getting everything done that I came here to do. I am a collector who is collecting his own work.

Two events this weekend were markers of sorts for me. I’ll start with the fun one, which was Barb and me accompanying our four-and-a-half year-old grandson, Sam, to his first movie at a theater. Yes, I know theaters are not what they used to be – what is? But for a little boy who has never experienced a film in the big dark chamber with a huge screen and earthshaking sound and other people seated around him, seeing Sonic The Hedgehog was a very big, even frightening deal.

Sam is a smart kid, very well-spoken and funny. He is rather small – he was a premie – which adds to the impact of the sometimes astonishing things he says. As we drove toward the Palms Theater, Barb and I explained that the big building up ahead was where we’d be seeing the movie. The very size of the multiplex widened his eyes.

In the lobby, he watched with interest while other kids and their parents were lining up for popcorn, his grandpa among them. He was insistent that he did not want soda, and was glad to find lemonade an option. He was a very well composed young man.


Sam’s First Movie

When we entered the darkened theater, however, where the previews were blaring, he paused and clutched his grandma’s hand. He was, understandably, overwhelmed. We assured him everything would be all right, and he moved cautiously with us up the rise of the entry and then across the theater, with the mammoth screen looming and the sound booming, to seats on the other side, about half-way back and on the aisle, and sat between us. The kiddie meal (a little tray of popcorn with a slot for a package of M and M’s and a built-in cup holder for the non-soda) was soon in his lap. He looked small in the seat, but his eyes were big, as kid-oriented previews took the screen. Luckily, first up was the trailer for the new Minions movie (Minions are a favorite of his and most kids), which eased all three of us into the process.

Sam has seen movies at home, but always the animated variety – he has always been rather bored by actual humans (as am I, often). But he got caught up early on in Sonic, which proved to be a pretty good movie. Sam held his grandma’s hand through a few scary parts, but mostly he ate popcorn and M and M’s as he watched intently, sometimes on the literal edge of his seat. He asked surprisingly few questions, and the ones he did ask tended to be, “Are those good guys or bad guys?” In the four-year-old world, there are few grays.

We sat and watched much of the end credits, during which two post-film tags appeared, one revealing the Jim Carrey villain turning out to be the Sonic world’s key bad guy, Dr. Eggman. But more important, the final tag revealed the character Tails, a key character from Sonic-land, apparently, who has come to our world to seek the speedy blue hedgehog. There seems to be some confusion as to whether Tails is a boy or girl, but Sam always refers to Tails in the female sense.

“She has two tails,” he told us, “that transform into propellers.” (Later, in his car seat, he said, “I am wondering what is going to happen to Tails in the next movie.” He said he’d still be wondering tomorrow.)

On our way out of the theater, the credits were still rolling, with endless names as is the case with movies heavy with CGI, and Sam said to me (holding onto my hand now), “Are those the people who made this movie?” I said yes, and that since he likes to make up stories (which he does), someday a movie might be made from one of his stories.

“Then will my name be up there?”

I assured him would be.

And you know what? I think it will.

* * *

Russ Cochran by Frank Frazetta

That rite of passage over, another rite of passage much less pleasant happened last Sunday – I learned my friend Russ Cochran had died.

I’ll let his web site tell you who Russ was, and after that, I’ll tell you who he was to me.

For the past 30 years Russ Cochran has been collecting and publishing comic art.

Russ Cochran was born in West Plains, Missouri. Without television in the 1940s, Russ developed a passion for comic books.

In 1964 Russ earned his Ph.D. in Physics and became the Chairman of the Drake University Physics Department in Des Moines, Iowa.

As time passed, Russ felt the desire to become a collector of the comic books he had always enjoyed in his youth. The hobby brought him to his first comic book convention in 1965. Russ pursued a collector’s connection with Bill Gaines, publisher of EC Comics and MAD Magazine. Bill Gaines and Russ Cochran shared a mutual enthusiasm which led to a great friendship. Their relationship inspired Russ Cochran to republish the entire collection of EC comics.

In 1975 Russ followed his dream by moving back to West Plains, Missouri while devoting all of his energy toward publishing. Today Russ Cochran’s Auction offers select comic art for those collectors who share his appreciation and nostalgia.

That’s a modest, compressed version of who Russ was. A more detailed look at his accomplishments is provided by Bleeding Cool here.

I’ll bet there are people in your life who you’ve known for many years and who have been important over those years, yet you don’t remember exactly how the two of you came to intersect. I am going to guess that I met Russ around 1971 or ‘72, when he was still living in the Des Moines area. Whether he invited me to his place, or whether I had heard there was somebody into comics in Des Moines that I might like to meet, I can’t tell you.

But it speaks volumes that, back in the early ‘70s, just hearing that somebody else in your state – not your town, your state – was into comics made it worthwhile getting in touch with them. We were rare beasts. Comics fandom was still in its relative infancy.

At any rate, Barb dropped me at Russ’s place – all I remember is that it was a lovely, ranch-style affair – and likely drove off to spend a few hours at a shopping center. Meanwhile, Russ welcomed me warmly. Lanky, casual, he had a low, easy, slow pattern of speech, kind of deceptively lazy in a western way. I understood that he was the Chair of Physics at Drake, which was at once surprising – his quiet, folksy manner – and not surprising – his confidence and articulate speech.

He was a big, bearded guy, who might have been a Mountain Man in another life. He showed me around his house and I saw the most amazing, even mind-boggling array of original comic strip, comic book and illustration art that I had ever seen…no, have ever seen. He had paintings by Frank Frazetta, with whom he it was clear he had a friendship, and Flash Gordon originals by Alex Raymond, and Krazy Kat originals by George Herriman, and so much more…all framed, knocking my eyes out from every wall.

Over the years to come, as Russ began his fabled art auctions – which ran for decades with beautifully illustrated catalogues – I began collecting comic artwork. Not on his level, of course, but Russ showed me the way to appreciate this material. I have never been a collector who sticks things away in a drawer. Like Russ, I have framed the art. And I found surrounding myself with the creativity of others somehow fueled me. It still does.

Russ Cochran changed my life…Barb might say not for the better…and the thought that I won’t still hear that smoky, soothing voice of his over the phone saddens me more, perhaps, than it should. I bought from him, traded with him, spent time at comics conventions with him, and in the last few years have thinned my collection through his still ongoing art auctions. My most recent conversations with him were about an original Tarzan page by Jesse Marsh (good for you, if you know who that is) from the Dell comic books of my youth. Russ helped make sure I landed the page that I wanted.

Russ had an eccentric side. He was such a Tarzan fan, he bought a chimp as a pet – not a good idea, everyone will tell you, but it worked for him…and the chimp, apparently. You don’t move from Chairman of the Physics Department to a comic art dealer if you’re not eccentric.

I wrote introductions for a number of the EC hardcover collections he did – Johnny Craig’s work my speciality. For that, he sent me every volume of that incredible reprint series – boxed sets of every comic book and magazine EC ever published.

We argued a few times. He got mad at me once when I wouldn’t make a trade. That happens among collectors. But that unpleasantness lasted about a day, then fizzled away into warmth and good will. He always called me “Al” – in that Missouri way of his that somehow turned Al into three syllables.

Thanks, Russ. You introduced me to a world of collecting that was equal parts misery and delight, and – oddly – I appreciate having experienced both.

* * *

This is the first coverage that Girl Can’t Help It has received on the Net – features a quote from me before I wrote the book, inaccurately describing it! Check out my comment among several others at the bottom.

There’s a nice Killing Quarry mention toward the bottom of this EQMM review column.

M.A.C.

Book Giveaway, an Award Nomination, and Three Fond Farewells

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

I have ten finished copies each of the new Nate Heller, Do No Harm, and the second Krista Larson, Girl Can’t Help It, available first-come-first-served, in return for Amazon and or other reviews, including blogs.

[Note from Nate: The giveaway is over. Thank you for your participation! Keep an eye out for more to come.]

I am counting on your support because, as I mentioned last week, I am in the unhappy situation of having three books published by three publishers simultaneously. This may sound like an embarrassment of riches, but really it limits buyers and reviewers for all three titles.

If you have a blog or review site of some kind, you can request a book without being part of the giveaway. Just state that you are a reviewer.

I can’t emphasize enough how much reviews at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and elsewhere – including blogs – impact sales. So if you have purchased either of these books, please consider reviewing them. Reviews at booksellers like Amazon do not have to be lengthy. The number of stars you give a book is as important as the review itself.

And this doesn’t apply just to me, obviously, but to any author whose book you enjoy, particularly authors you follow regularly.

Keep in mind, too, that the latest book in a mystery series – like Heller – seldom gets much publisher promo. Thomas & Mercer gave The Girl Most Likely a big push, just as they did Supreme Justice. But after a series has been launched, books depend on authors for D.I.Y. promotion.

I don’t have copies of the new Mike Hammer, Masquerade for Murder, yet; but hope to have enough on hand to do a giveaway for that one, as well, in the next few weeks.

* * *

I’m pleased and honored to say Killing Quarry has been nominated for a Barry Award for Best Paperback. You can see the complete nomination lists here. The Barry Awards are presented by the editors of Deadly Pleasures, and is named after fan/reviewer, the late Barry Gardner.

It’s been very gratifying to see Killing Quarry so warmly received – the reviews have been flattering, to say the least.

By the way, for those keeping track: I have completed the first Nolan in 33 years – Skim Deep – and it will go out to Hard Case Crime by Wednesday at the latest. All that remains is one last read and the minor tweaking that will entail…unless I screwed something up, in which case all bets are off.

* * *

I will be 72 in March, and one of the bad things about surviving this long is having to see friends and heroes go on ahead of you. Three passings this week were especially hard to take.

Mary Higgins Clark, in addition to being a hugely successful author and the creator of a whole style of thriller focusing on female protagonists, was a kind, sweet, generous human being. Barb and I were on a cruise with her – one of those mystery cruises with a whodunit game part of the activities – and she and her daughter Carol made wonderful company. Mary was warm and displayed a lovely sense of humor. Carol, who was also a delight, has gone on to her own great success as a suspense novelist.

Orson Bean died at 91, hit by a car (two cars actually) jaywalking to get to a play. The absurdity of that – and that theater was a part of it – shows fate in a fitting but cruel mood. Bean was a whimsical, wry stand-up comic early on, a comic actor of charm and skill on stage and (large and small) screen, and a particularly popular, adept and (of course) funny game show participant. He also has a small but key role in Anatomy of a Murder. Bean had a searching mind as several of his books display – Me and the Orgone, Too Much Is Not Enough, and M@il for Mikey (not a typo).

He was also the star of an obscure but wonderful shot-on-video version of the time-travel play The Star Wagon by Maxwell Anderson, with a pre-Graduate Dustin Hoffman as his sidekick. It was shot in 1967 for PBS and is available at Amazon on DVD.

In January a man few of you have heard of passed away in Muscatine. Howard Rowe was a chiropractor, my chiro for many years. He and I disagreed on much – he was conservative, very religious, and a home-schooler, none of which I am, and yet we never argued. He supported my work, and was an enthusiastic fan of the movies we made here in Muscatine. His life was a reminder of how to be individualistic with strong opinions and yet still be a pleasure to be around. When I picture him, he’s smiling. Always. Most of you never met him, and some who did meet him considered him an oddball. He was, I suppose. But a glorious one.

* * *

Rue Morgue, the major newsstand magazine on horror films, interviewed me online not long ago, and did a very good, gracious job of it. Now a Rue Morgue review of the Mommy/Mommy2 Blu-ray has appeared and it, too, is positive.

The Flick Attack website has given Mommy’s Day (as part of the above-mentioned Blu-ray) a very nice write-up. Check it out.

Earlier Flick Attack talked about Mommy, in a mostly favorable manner, here.

With the release of Girl Can’t Help It imminent, seeing a favorable review of Girl Most Likely by Ron Fortier feels like a good omen.

So does this solid Girl Most Likely review.

Ask Not with Nate Heller is still on sale as an e-book for $2.99 right here.

Finally, my old friend Rick Marschall writes about the creators he worked with as an editor in the newspaper comics field, and I’m pleased to say his role in landing me the Dick Tracy job is something he’s proud of.

M.A.C.

Why You Are More Important…

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

…than the trade publication reviewers.

Okay, here we go into the weeds. For the record, there are four trade publications in the publishing industry – Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist and Library Journal. These are our version of Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.

I have nothing bad to say about any individual reviewers who write for those publications. Often I get good reviews, occasionally great ones, now and then bad ones. Recently Girl Can’t Help It got a very good review from Booklist; shortly thereafter, Publisher’s Weekly hated it (apparently the same reviewer who felt the same about Girl Most Likely). And that’s one of my two big complaints about the reviews in the trades – PW and Kirkus publish unsigned reviews. I prefer knowing who hates me, thanks (also who loves me). Booklist and Library Journal have signed reviews.

I also consider the reviewers for Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Mystery Scene and The Strand to be in a class of their own – these publications clearly love and support the mystery. So do Crimespree and Deadly Pleasures and a few others (don’t mean to leave anybody out). Some web-based review/news columns are also great boons to the genre, including my favorite, The Rap Sheet.

My other complaint about the trade publication reviews is that most contain judgment with no supporting evidence. If you stink, you just stink – no excerpts or examples to prove a point. Same goes if you smell just fine.

But okay. The format is fairly short for all the reviews in these publications, so maybe I’m asking too much that a reviewer support an argument. You can’t expect a limerick to be an epic poem.

Where it gets unfair has to do with the book industry’s publishers and editors. They love it when you get good reviews. They hate it when you get bad ones, and often write or even call authors supportively. Some publishing houses hold bad trade reviews against the authors, though. You may think that’s fair, but stick around….

I have received rave reviews from all four trades on a book, and then had that series almost immediately cancelled. The reviews and a dime wouldn’t buy you a cup of coffee. But I have also not received a new contract, at least in part, because the trades reviewed a book of mine unfavorably.

The technical term for this is damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

So where do you come in?

If you come by here often, you know that now and then I do book giveaways to encourage reviews at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other web sites, and at blogs, where many reviews appear. I do this because I believe those are the reviews that really count – that sell books (and sometimes discourage sales, but that comes with the territory).

This March I will have three books from three different publishers come out almost simultaneously – Do No Harm (Nate Heller), Girl Can’t Help It (Krista and Keith Larson) and Masquerade for Murder (Mike Hammer). This was not planned – it’s sheer accident, and not what I wish were happening.

This feeds into the notion that I write too many books – an editor (who should know better) recently said to me, “Are you still writing six books a year?” I have never written six books in one year. All I’m trying to do here is (a) tell my stories, and (b) make a living (okay, avoid real work, but that’s understood). But this kind of thing feeds into careless reviewers essentially panning me for being prolific and not taking each book on its own terms.

It puts you on the spot, too.

As a reader of my work, how can you be expected to shell out all that dough for three books of mine in the same month? Some of you selfish people seem to want to eat. And three books out at the same time encourages the trades to only review one of them, or none, or praise one and trash the other.

You, ultimately, are more important than the trades where reviewers are concerned. Amazon is the world’s biggest bookstore and reviewing there definitely sells books. Blogs are part of the social media world and that tells real people about books. The love for books and authors that comes through in many such blogs is a gratifying thing to see.

My hunch is that the trades are read by booksellers and libraries, both institutions that already know what their audience buys. If Stephen King gets a bad review, do you think bookstores won’t stock it? Or libraries won’t handle it? That applies to authors who aren’t bestseller types, too. I constantly hear from readers who know and support my work through their local libraries. A stealth good influence for an author like me is the bookstore employee who is a fan and makes sure my stuff is stocked.

You are the valuable reviewers. You read and enjoy books, and don’t get paid to review books you’d rather just throw out the window (like the reviewer who suffered through Girl Can’t Help It).

I’m writing this to encourage reviews for my books, sure, but I want to emphasize that if you are a reader who loves to read – who follows favorite authors – you owe it to yourself to review those authors and their latest books at Amazon and elsewhere. It keeps the books from those authors flowing from them to you.

I recently sent out copies of Girl Can’t Help It and Antiques Fire Sale to readers who requested them when I ran out of advance copies of Killing Quarry. I hope to have more of both titles and Do No Harm soon to do another big book giveaway.

Antiques Fire Sale by Barbara Allan will be out May 1.

Eliot Ness and the Mad Butcher by M.A.C. and A. Brad Schwartz on Aug. 4.

* * *

This coverage of the Blu-ray release of Mommy and Mommy 2 appears on the web site of the major horror magazine, Rue Morgue. It’s a rare interview with me that focuses on my filmmaking. Hope you’ll give it a look.

My editor and friend Charles Ardai of Hard Case Crime gives a terrific interview specifically on Killing Quarry and the Quarry series at HCC. Thank you, Charles!

Check out this great review of Killing Quarry at Paperback Warrior.

A very nice review of the Mike Hammer graphic novel The Night I Died appears here.

Here’s an earnest appeal for DC to reprint my continuity for the Batman newspaper strip as drawn by the late, great Marshall Rogers.

A smart and nicely favorable review of Killing Quarry can be read here.

You’ll have to scroll down for it, but here’s a fun review of the Mommy/Mommy 2 Blu-ray.

Same thing here – scroll all the way down for another favorable Mommy Blu-Ray review, although the word “terrible” is involved.

M.A.C.