Posts Tagged ‘Quarry’

New Editions of Regeneration and Kiss Her Goodbye

Tuesday, April 6th, 2021
Regeneration by Barbara Allan, 2021 Wolfpack Edition cover
Paperback: Bookshop Purchase Link
E-Book:

The Zoom presentation Barb and I made Saturday morning (for the DSM Book Festival) was attended by around seventy people, and went very well. This is the first online dual appearance we’ve made. We concentrated on five writing tips each, which not only gave participants some decent advice, but highlighted the differences in our approach as well as how we go about collaborating.

We spoke for about forty minutes, followed by answering questions from attendees.

As it happens, our first collaborative novel – Regeneration – is out this week in a new edition from Wolfpack, with another of that company’s stunning covers. The novel – which I’d classify as Dark Suspense, but could be a Psychological Thriller or even Horror – began as a short story by Barb, which we expanded into our debut collaborative novel. Bombshell would follow, and of course we began the Antiques/”Trash ‘n’ Treasures” cozy mystery series after that. (Wolfpack is planning an edition of Bombshell as well.)

Regeneration was originally published by Leisure Books, and a while back by Thomas & Mercer under our joint “Barbara Allan” byline. In many respects, this book was Barb’s baby as the idea was hers, as was the original plot of the short story, and nicely reflects the way she explores some social concern of hers in her fiction (a topic we discussed in that Zoom “Master Class”).

She really deserves top billing, but for marketing reasons I’ve reluctantly taken it.

* * *

The recent book giveaway (and more will follow, possibly including Regeneration) was nicely successful, and all thirty books were gone in 23 hours and signed copies have gone out in the mail to the winners.

Kiss Her Goodbye – one of the three books in that giveaway – is out tomorrow (April 6). My mentioning that it has the previously censored ending has attracted some attention, including questions like, “What previously censored ending?”

The editor of the original hardcover edition (and there was a trade paperback as well) of the third of the first three of my “Mike Hammer” Spillane/Collins collaborative novels objected to what he saw as an ending too similar to a certain famous Mike Hammer novel. I am dodging exactly which novel, and what ending, by way of avoiding a spoiler.

But I should say this editor was and is a friend to my efforts to get the unpublished, unfinished Mike Hammer novels in Mickey Spillane’s files finished and published. He aggressively went after those first three novels, and would have continued on with them, but his relationship with the publisher came to an end.

Publisher Nick Landau of Titan then stepped up immediately to take over publishing the Hammer novels as part of a greater Mike Hammer Legacy Project. Also, Nick went after mass market publication rights of the first three of those collaborative Spillane/Collins Mike Hammer novels (The Goliath Bone, The Big Bang, Kiss Her Goodbye), to bring the entire run under one imprint.

When this occurred, I asked my editor, the great Andrew Sumner – a true Hammer fan and expert – if I might restore the ending of Kiss Her Goodbye. Andrew thought it was a great idea, both in terms of honoring my artistic vision and to give the mass market edition something special to set it apart. (Ironically, I rather like the rewritten ending – if less than the previously unpublished one – and hope diehard fans will put both the original and the restored version on their shelves.)

Call it double-dipping if you like, but – as I’ve said elsewhere – double-dipping never hurt a hot fudge sundae.

* * *

I was very excited about HBO Max, specifically after the announcement that all Warner Bros movie releases for the next year would be streaming in tandem with actual theatrical presentations.

Then came the Wonder Woman 1984, as pathetic a major super-hero release as has come down the pike since Green Lantern.

Now Barb and I have endured Godzilla Vs. Kong, a movie we had been looking forward to for months. One of the definitions of insanity is to keeping doing the same thing over and over, always expecting a new result. That’s me and American Godzilla movies – I am always excited, thrilled by the preview, and the movie always disappointments.

Some people like this film – it’s 73% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes – but that’s just Covid Derangement Syndrome. So starved are theatergoers (and streamers) for entertainment, they embrace this vapid, stupid exercise in SFX artistry and screenwriting incompetence. Only Stranger Things star Millie Bobbie Brown emerges with her dignity. Well, also the great Kyle Chandler, wasted in a walk-on.

* * *

The print edition of the International Association of Media and Tie-in Writers anthology, Turning the Tied, is available now (the e-book too, of course) (Paperback: | E-Book: ). It features many terrific writers doing famous characters in new short stories, including a Sherlock Holmes by a couple of guys named Collins and Clemens.

Check out this lovely gallery of Hard Case Crime Quarry covers.

M.A.C.

Live Fast, Try Hard to Find It…Shoot-Out Where?

Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

You apparently can pre-order the print version of Live Fast, Spy Hard at Amazon now, although for some reason the book doesn’t turn up when you search anywhere except at the listing for Come Spy With Me, which provides a link to the next book (this one) in the John Sand series. Since the book in both Kindle and trade Paperback is being published this week, that’s a little disconcerting. But there’s no reason not to go ahead and pre-order here.

Matt Clemens and I are already working on the third novel, To Live and Spy in Berlin.

Matt and I are both longtime Bond/Ian Fleming/’60s-era spy fiction fans. I have told here, a number of times, how I gravitated to Ian Fleming when I ran out of Mickey Spillane books to read, and that I was a Bond fan well before the first movie came out. And that I talked my parents into driving me, on a school night, to Davenport – thirty miles away – to see Dr. No. I was in junior high.

If you drop by here regularly, or even now and then, you may be aware that I wrote novels every summer during my high school years and spent the following school year trying (unsuccessfully) to market them. There were four such novels, the first three starring private eye Matt Savage, but the fourth of the novels – the last of the high school novels – was a Bond imitation about spy Eric Flayr (I don’t remember the novel’s title). I was very much caught up in the spy mania, as were many of my male schoolmates. We carried briefcases to school (after From Russia With Love) and were caught up in an imaginary plot to overthrow the school.

It seemed innocent then.

So writing about John Sand, the spy James Bond was based on (the implied conceit of the series), has brought me full circle. I think Matt feels the same way. It’s gratifying that readers, so far, have responded well to the series and understand where we are coming from. We studiously avoid camp, but it’s fair to say we’re slightly tongue-in-cheek.

And we are grateful to Wolfpack, editor Paul Bishop, and publisher Mike Bray for allowing us to indulge ourselves in a fashion that appears to be entertaining readers.

The fact that you have to go hunting on Amazon to find the Live Fast, Spy Hard listing is an ongoing frustration to me. Any number of forthcoming titles of mine are not showing up when my name is searched, and yet my listings are littered with the works of other authors who Amazon is pushing to readers who enjoy my stuff. Here is a startling concept that seems to elude Amazon and its trusty algorithms – readers who like my stuff may wish to encounter the titles of things of mine they haven’t read. (NOTE: After further checking, searching “Max Allan Collins” on Amazon, the books don’t come up; but apparently without quotes those books do.)

Some interesting things have turned up on the web that I’d like to share with you.

Ron Fortier at Pulp Fiction Reviews is looking at each novel in the Caleb York western series, but he’s doing so out of order, as he’s able to get his hands on the various titles. Here he takes a splendid look at The Bloody Spur, book three in the Spillane/Collins series.


Hardcover:
E-Book: Google Play Kobo

There’s a new one coming soon, Shoot-out at Sugar Creek. Here’s a first look at the cover.

The Mystery File site has put a review from pulp fiction expert Art Scott of my long-ago Mallory title, Kill Your Darlings, from 1001 Midnights.

They have also posted a review by the late, very great John Lutz about the first Nathan Heller novel, True Detective. This is well worth looking at, particularly in light of the warmly received news that I will be doing two Heller novels for Hard Case Crime.

For reasons mysterious to me, my novelizations of the three Brendan Fraser Mummy movies appear to remain very popular (though out of print for decades now) and have generated a number of quotations at various web sites – like this one.

Finally, this is an hysterical (in several senses of the word) You Tube rant by a big guy who likes my novel Quarry till he finds out Quarry (whose name he hilariously mispronounces) weighs 155 pounds. Everything else about the book he seems to like, even love, but he refuses to read the rest of the series (despite salivating over the McGinnis covers) because Quarry isn’t a big guy. Dude – ever hear of Audie Murphy?

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.

In This Exciting Issue!

Tuesday, February 16th, 2021

One of the small pleasures denied me during this pandemic, where Barb and I have been largely sheltering in place for almost a year now, is going to Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million to check out the new magazines.

But magazines have been a stubbornly dying breed for some time, and my favorites – most dealing with B-movies – have been hit hard. A particularly tough loss to take comes as a double hit – the writer/editor/publisher behind VideoScope, Joe Kane, has died.

And with him has gone his wonderful magazine.

Cover of VideoScope magazine

VideoScope was among the last of a handful of magazines combining reviews of what a prior dead magazine called psychotronic movies with news, articles and interviews. I never met Joe, but we exchanged many e-mails and I was an occasional contributor to the magazine. He was a consistent booster of my films and, when he was writing for the New York Daily News, reviewed both Mommy movies generously.

I looked forward to receiving VideoScope in the mail the way I used to (in my high school years) look forward to snagging my father’s gift subscription copy to Playboy before he got home from work. Of course Playboy – like my father – is gone now, but perhaps that magazine’s demise has to do not just with changing times, but the reality that certain magazines – yes, like the otherwise dissimilar VideoScope – were so much extensions of their creators/editors that they could not survive their absence. The fate awaiting Hustler, now that Larry Flynt is gone, is likely the same.

I dealt with a Flynt-like editor of the Hustler-like Climax magazine in Quarry’s Climax, the sexual content of which offended some readers – usually the same readers who weren’t offended by the violence. And I revisit aspects of that story in the forthcoming Quarry’s Blood. I liked Flynt’s Hustler, which had an outrageous sense of humor and a unique combination of blue-collar sensibility and left-wing politics (only “Asshole of the Month” could do a Tucker Carlson justice). The interviews and articles were often of interest as well (I will stop short of defending myself by saying, “I read Hustler for the articles,” even if it is sort of true – but I doubt I’ll be picking it up again).

Among the more respectable magazines I have looked forward to are two devoted to Old West history/pop culture, True West and Wild West. Both remain excellent and the former is the work of Stuart Rosebrook, a friend of mine who I’ve watched in recent years rise to the position of editor (the magazine’s publisher and creative guiding hand is the great artist/writer, Bob Boze Bell). Stuart Rosebrook’s screenwriter father Jeb wrote the classic “modern” western, Junior Bonner and much else (including The Waltons and The Yellow Rose on TV, The Black Hole feature film and The Gambler TV movies); when Stuart was living in Iowa City, he arranged for me to meet his visiting dad, which was an honor and a thrill.

Shock Cinema cover

With VideoScope gone, only a few stalwart defenders of the psychotronic side of cinema remain. A standout is Steven Puchalski’s Shock Cinema, which combines in-depth interviews with actors and filmmakers with reviews of obscure movies, Blu-rays/DVDs, and books. It has the same kind of fannish yet professional touch as Joe Kane’s VideoScope but with its own distinctive spin. The current issue is typical, featuring incredible interviews with actors Candy Clark (American Graffitti), Veronica Cartwright (Alien), Robert Wuhl (Arli$$), and director Jack Hill (Switchblade Sisters). A similar survivor is Darryl Mazeski’s Screem, another newsstand survivor. Like Shock Cinema and the now-lamented VideoScope, Screem has a personal touch and its own look and feel.

A slicker classic cinema magazine that somehow endures is the UK’s Cinema Retro, with incredible in-depth articles, wonderful reviews, and contributions by my pal Raymond Benson. Every issue is a feast, and occasionally they do a special issue devoted to a single classic film, with the emphasis on the ‘60s and ‘70s.

But these baby-boomer delights are a dying breed, as are magazines themselves, I fear.

Among the first things I did when it became clear we’d be sheltering in place until a vaccine arrived (and we still are waiting, Barb and I, for our shots) was to subscribe to all of the above and a few other magazines. But the joy of going to the magazine section of a book store, to see if a new issue of a favorite periodical is on the stands, is among the small yet keenly felt losses of this pandemic.

Joe Kane, who called himself the Phantom of the Movies, is a loss particularly keenly felt. So are the many magazines we have all loved…and taken for granted.

* * *

Here’s my introduction to the just-published IAMTW tie-in anthology, Turning the Tied. (Kindle link)

I also discussed tie-in writing in the forthcoming MWA, Lee Child-edited mystery writing handbook.

M.A.C.