Posts Tagged ‘Ms. Tree’

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.

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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.

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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.

Bargains and Raves!

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

Amazon has a bunch of my stuff on sale all through the month of December, starting with the entire Reeder and Rogers series ([Linking to Amazon: –Nate] Supreme Justice, Fate of the Union, Executive Order) in an offer that will be sent to select customers.

Everybody else gets an even better deal – all of the following are at .99-cents during December:
The Titanic Murders
The Hindenburg Murders
The Lusitania Murders
The Pearl Harbor Murders
The London Blitz Murders
The War of the Worlds Murder
What Doesn’t Kill Her
Midnight Haul
Girl Most Likely

This is the first time The Girl Most Likely has been offered at the .99-cent price. And Girl Can’t Help It is available for $1.99.

Just till the end of the month.

At the Rap Sheet, that stellar critic and pop culture expert J. Kingston Pierce has selected Do No Harm as one of his favorite crime-fiction books of the year. Normally I would just provide a link, but I want to brag a little:

Do No Harm, by Max Allan Collins (Forge):

In previous books, Chicago private eye Nate Heller reinvestigated some of the 20th century’s most notorious crimes, from the “presumed” murder of bank robber John Dillinger to the slaying of L.A.’s enigmatic “Black Dahlia.” So it’s no surprise that he should finally tackle the real-life case of Cleveland osteopath Sam Sheppard, charged with bludgeoning his wife to death in July 1954. As on television’s The Fugitive—supposedly inspired by this case—the accused here claimed innocence, insisting an intruder had offed his spouse. And in Do No Harm, Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner believes Sheppard … which is why he hires Heller to review the evidence, three years later. In so doing, Heller walks readers back through the bizarre, haunting circumstances of that homicide and its aftermath, raising doubts not only about Sheppard’s guilt but about the actions of authorities (and newspapers) that helped to promptly convict him. In addition to Gardner, “Untouchable” Eliot Ness and celebrity attorney F. Lee Bailey guest star in this inventive 17th Heller novel, one of the series’ finest entries—and that’s saying a hell of a lot.

Do No Harm cover

Kevin Burton Smith of the great Thrilling Detective web site selected Do No Harm as one of his favorite crime fiction novels of the year, and listed it (also at the Rap Sheet) but did not write about it. But I’m pleased just the same.

I should remind regular readers here that Do No Harm apparently will not get either a trade paperback or mass market reprint. So you’ll need to pick up the hardcover, which will likely go out of print (other than e-book) before too long.

Continuing to brag, I will share Ron Fortier’s wonderful review of Come Spy With Me at Pulp Fiction Reviews:

Come Spy With Me (Wolfpack)
Max Allan Collins with Matthew V. Clemens

Max Collins is one of those writers who is constantly surprising us. After decades of offering up great mystery and crime tales, he then had us cheering wildly for his western actioners courtesy of the late Mickey Spillane’s cowboy hero, Caleb York. Now comes super-spy James Bond’s clone, John Sand.

The setting is the early 60s and a British novelist has become famous by fictionalizing the exploits of M1-6’s operative, John Sand. Obviously with such notoriety, Sand’s effectiveness as an agent is compromised and as the story opens, he has retired and married the beautiful Stacey Boldt, the beautiful heiress to a Texas oil tycoon. If that sounds familiar, think George Lazenby and Diana Riggs, we certainly did. It is wish fulfillment ala what might have happened had she survived. This book takes us there and it’s a wonderful ride.

Sand is sincere in his desire to leave his dangerous career behind and pursue his new role as an executive in his wife’s business empire. This all goes awry when, while on a trip to Caribbean, he becomes entangled in a political assassination. Within days he’s summoned by President John F. Kennedy to a clandestine meeting in the desert of Utah where a Frank Sinatra western is being filmed. Kennedy suspects rogue agents of the C.I.A. are planning on assassinating Fidel Castro. After the disastrous failure of the Bay of Pigs, the last thing he wants is another embarrassing incident pointing back to the U.S. Reluctantly Sand agrees to go to Cuba and see if there is any validity to the President’s claims.

As always, Collins’ use of the time and culture are spot on and add so much to the rich texture of his narrative. Ultimately Sand uncovers an even greater threat and upon reporting to Kennedy, is once again manipulated into being the President’s personal secret agent. If that wasn’t enough of a headache, Stacey demands to tag along. If her husband is going to continue leading a double-life, then he is going to do it with her or else he can pack his bags and kiss their marriage sayonara.

If like us, you grew up reading Ian Fleming’s James Bond adventures, Come Spy With Me will feel like old home week. Not a bad way to kick off a new series, Mr. Collins & Clemens. Not bad at all.

Come Spy With Me cover
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Indiewire has a selection of books that its reviewers think should be TV series – and Nate Heller is on the list! Check this out….

This is Skyboat media hawking its own audio releases of Murder, My Love and Masquerade for Murder. But it’s a very nice job and you may get a kick out of it.

Once again, Supreme Justice has made a list of the best legal thrillers of all time.

Here’s The Consummata by Mickey Spillane and me at a bargain price (check out this entire website, for cool stuff.)

Ms. Tree: Skeleton in the Closet gets a recommendation from Tony Isabella, whose blog is always fun and informative.

M.A.C.

Ms. Tree Comes out of the (Skeleton) Closet

Tuesday, October 20th, 2020
Ms. Tree Vol. 2: Skeleton in the Closet
Paperback:
E-Book:

I have not seen a copy yet, but this update will appear on publication day of Ms. Tree Vol. 2: Skeleton in the Closet from Titan.

It reprints in color the rest of the DC comics run from the early ‘90s, and is essentially a casebook – five graphic novellas often dealing with controversial subject matter (gay bashing, date rape, etc.) that unfortunately hasn’t dated at all. There’s also a flat-out horror tale that reveals the roots of the Collins/Beatty team in EC Comics.

I am thrilled that Titan is publishing these books, finally getting all the work Terry and I – influential work, I will immodestly say – in a more permanent form.

This is some of our best work. Volume Three will start at the beginning and the subsequent volumes will continue in the order of original publication.

* * *

For the first time, every person who entered one of my book giveaways – this one for Too Many Tomcats and the Eliot Ness novels – got a book. While that pleases me, it makes me wonder if I’m having too many of these and wearing you people down…particularly those of you who’ve entered and never been rewarded with a book.

The problem is that Wolfpack has been generous enough to put a whole passel of my books out over a short period of time, including Murderlized, a new one. So I don’t mean to swamp you, although it’s important to get reviews for these books out there, including the reprints. Which is the point of the giveaways – to prime the review pump. Well, Amazon Prime the review pump.

The Wolfpack e-book versions have been made available a bit before the trade paperback editions, at times; but I have received copies of most of the books by now and they are beauties. And I am very favorably impressed with the level of the Wolfpack covers. Murderlized is wonderful. So is Too Many Tomcats. And Mommy (while somewhat re-fried as Mommy’s Day) blows me away.

We have new editions coming of Regeneration and Bombshell, the two stand-alone collaborations by Barb and me, and I’m stoked to see what kind of covers Wolfpack whips up with for those.

But the most important Wolfpack release will come in December – Come Spy With Me, the first in the new series by Matthew Clemens and me. It’s set in the early ‘60s and is an unabashed homage to Ian Fleming and the Connery-era Bond films, and the whole spy craze of my youth. Matt and I are going over the galley proofs now, and we have seen the cover, which I hope to share with you soon – it’s a beauty.

I’ve made a huge investment of time and property (in the sense that my backlist titles and short story collections are properties) in Wolfpack. If those of you who enjoy my fiction in general support those efforts, Wolfpack is the rare company that will let me do what I want creatively. A series that other publishers consider “busted” I can write a new entry for. There could be a new Mallory or Disaster Novel or Jack & Maggie Starr. We are seriously considering doing Reeder & Rogers at Wolfpack and Krista Larson, too. If we have some success, Spillane material will appear there.

Consider Quarry. Quarry as a crime novel series had been dead commercially for decades. But editor Charles Ardai, the guru of Hard Case Crime, encouraged me to write a new Quarry novel many years later. No other publisher would have done that. And it has led to many new Quarry novels, an award-winning short film, a feature film, and a Cinemax TV series.

Not long ago Charles encouraged me to write a new Nolan novel. Nolan also has been “dead” for decades, but Charles liked the series and wanted a new one. Now we are looking seriously at Nolan for a TV series on a streaming service (early days, of course, and these things often tank, but…we’re talking about a series I started in 1973). And Hard Case is bringing all of the Nolan novels out again (two to a book). There will also be audios of them read by the great Stefan Rudnicki.

The new Nolan, Skim Deep, will be out the first week of December.

The support you continue to show the work that I produce, my own and the collaborations, means a great deal.

Thank you.

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Here’s a very interesting look at Quarry, the novel of that title, expressing some interesting insights, as well as some thoughts on the Cinemax series.

This is one of several previews of the second Ms. Tree collection, Ms. Tree: Skeleton in the Closet from Titan.

Scroll down at this entry at the entertaining Atomic Junkshop and see a brief but very strong review of Murderlized by Matt Clemens and me – and a great look at the wonderful cover provided by Wolfpack.

This article presents the Nathan Heller novels in order of publication (includes the short story collection and the novella collection) with nice thumbnails on each. Whether this is the best order to read them in, I can’t say. But I did write them in that order, so it makes sense in terms of following my growth (or decline!) over the years.

M.A.C.

Wolfpack Giveaway #2 – Untouchable Cats

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020

I am in the middle of the third of the three novellas I’m doing about a brand-new character (stay tuned) for Neo-Text. So I will try to distract you for the lack of a real blog entry this week with the second Wolfpack book giveaway.

Too Many Tomcats Wolfpack Edition

I have four trade-paperback copies of Too Many Tomcats, my wife Barb’s terrific collection of tales about evil, dead and stuffed felines. I co-authored a couple and wrote the intro. If you are a hold-out among my readers who has avoided reading Barb’s work and/or our collaborative work, now is your chance to finally get wise.

Barb’s short stories are in the vein of the old Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV show and Roald Dahl, and she’s been compared to both (and not just by me!).

In addition, I have two copies each of the four Eliot Ness trade paperbacks – The Dark City, Butcher’s Dozen, Bullet Proof, and Murder by the Numbers.

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

This is for USA only – mailing overseas and even to just Canada was expensive before the Pandemic.

Here’s the important part – this isn’t really about free books. It’s about getting reviews on Amazon and/or at your own review site, if you have one. Most of you participating in these book giveaways have been good about doing those reviews. But please hold up your end of the bargain.

Eliot Ness Saga, Wolfpack Edition
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Here is a video interview wherein my pal Andrew Sumner talks to me about Ms. Tree, and specifically about the soon-to-be-published second Ms. Tree collection, Skeleton in the Closet.

And here is the appearance (via Zoom) by my co-author A. Brad Schwartz and I at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas in support of Eliot Ness and the Mad Butcher. Includes a power point presentation! Excited?

Finally, here is a nice look at Road to Perdition as Tom Hanks’ most under-rated movie.

M.A.C.