Posts Tagged ‘Reeder and Rogers’

A Kindle Sale, Argylle & I’m Famous! (In Iowa)

Tuesday, February 6th, 2024
The Million-Dollar Wound cover

For you Kindle readers, two novels of mine are being offered by Amazon this month. The Million-Dollar Wound, the third Nate Heller novel, will be promoted via Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle book deals in the US marketplace, starting 2/1/2024 till the end of the month for $1.99.

Supreme Justice, the first novel in the trilogy of Reeder and Rogers novels by Matt Clemens and me, will be promoted via Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle book deals in the US marketplace, starting 2/1/2024 till the end of the month at $2.99.

These are books I’m particularly proud of, respectively the novel in which Heller is a WW 2 Marine, and a political thriller that hasn’t dated a minute.

* * *

I am working on the script for am Antiques novel that, if all works out, will be my next indie movie. Blue Christmas really got my juices going. Much more later.

Once again, here is where you can get advance tickets for the Des Moines and Muscatine showings of Blue Christmas. The Cedar Rapids and Davenport advance ticket availability will be posted soon.

Advance tickets are on sale for the World Premiere of Blue Christmas in Des Moines at the Fleur Theater on February 24.
And the Muscatine, Iowa, premiere tickets are available here.

* * *

Barb and I are beginning to return to our habitual moviegoing ways – which post-Covid had till now been few and far between – and this weekend we took in Argylle.

Argylle Movie Poster with Bryce Howard

We had enjoyed director Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman movies very much – cheerfully over the top, reminiscent of Guy Ritchie’s best films. We weren’t disappointed in this latest effort. In fact, we were pigs in excrement throughout.

But apparently a lot of people weren’t.

This twisty tongue-in-cheek take on the worlds of pop fiction writing and James Bond has already been deemed a flop (it brought in $18 million at the box office first week out). Rotten Tomatoes shows only a quarter of the reviewers liked the film, and only (?) seventy-five percent of the public liked it.

What does all of this prove? First, the critics have absolutely no taste much less sense of humor in these wretchedly humorless times. Second, the public is better, but not a big enough share of them went to this exciting, witty movie. And third, Barb and I have impeccable taste.

Basically (very basically) Argylle is about a young female writer’s romantic spy series (very much modeled on Bond) that begins to come to life. That’s all I’m going to tell you. This has more credible (in the world of this film anyway) twists than any film I can remember.

It slightly resembles the John Sand novels written by Matt Clemens and me, though I doubt the creators were familiar with those. The Sand novels, the sales of which have not set the world on fire (despite great reader and critical sense) (those critics know what they are talking about) is available here. If you like my work, or the Fleming Bond novels, you will probably like these.

Max Allan Collins Collection: Volume 2: John Sand cover

The complete series is available on Kindle here.

Anyway, Argylle. Don’t listen to the critics or that 25% of readers who didn’t like this film. Apple produced it and it will turn up on that streaming service fairly soon, but you really should take this in on the big screen.

Without spoiling anything, I can say that one of the reasons that 25% didn’t like the film is the advertising that focuses Henry Cavill as the Bond-like Argylle. But Cavill is the fantasy version and the reality version is portrayed by the great Sam Rockwell, playing opposite Bryce Dallas Howard, Ron’s talented daughter. Both Rockwell and Howard are fantastic in Argylle, and neither is exactly the Hollywood model of lead actors. Rockwell is scrawny and scruffy, and Howard – stunningly beautiful in my opinion – is what we used to call zaftig. Her fetching but undeniable heaviness has worked against her here, in this supposedly more inclusive culture. So does that advertising campaign that is at heart a bait-and-switch job.

Lemme tell ya: this is not a culture inclusive where old white guys are concerned. And apparently not to forty year-old actresses who aren’t anorexic (the female star of Argylle does not look even close to forty, by the way). Ms. Howard, you are welcome in Iowa to make a micro-budget movie with us any old time.

* * *

You really should check out this terrific review of the last (to date) Caleb York novel, Shoot-out at Sugar Creek, in a series Kensington chose not to continue. The only way this review could have been better is if I wrote it myself.

Check out these five interesting things to love about Dick Tracy…I’m one of ‘em!

Yes, these first two links take you to places that praise my work right before (a) one of my series got dropped, and (b) where the S.O.B.s fired me right before Christmas. On the other hand, the latter inspired me to write “A Wreath for Marley,” the basis of Blue Christmas – so thank you, Chicago Tribune Syndicate!

Here’s a great Killer Covers column by the great J. Kingston Pierce about the great Paul Mann, the artist who has done several of my recent covers at Hard Case Crime (three of the originals are on my office wall!).

This column credits the graphic novel Road to Perdition as one of the works that redefine Hollywood. You’re welcome!

And, finally, I’ll bet you didn’t know I was one of the 27 most famous people living in Iowa. I sure didn’t!


Dirty Deeds (Sometimes) Done Dirt Cheap

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024
Ms. Tree: Heroine Withdrawal cover
Paperback: Bookshop Purchase Link
E-Book: Google Play

The latest “archive”-style edition of Ms. Tree is available now: Ms. Tree – Heroine Withdrawal. Titan has done a beautiful job with this one (volume #5) and it contains some of Terry Beatty’s best work (and, maybe, mine). These books are a little pricey, but they are beauties and jam-packed. Even if you have a complete run of the original comics, these are worthwhile.

There’s a particularly nice price for the volumes here.

We did, as I mentioned recently, make a number of Best Of lists. But Craig Zablo (bless him) is the first to put two of my novels on his list of year’s best. Check it out here.

My books for Thomas & Mercer are turning up in book promotions (there are e-books one and all, on Amazon).

The War of the Worlds Murder will be promoted via Limited Time Deal in the US marketplace, starting 1/8/2024 and running through 1/14/2024. 1.99 USD during the promotion period. ()

The Lusitania Murders will be promoted via Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle book deals in the US marketplace, starting 1/1/2024 and running through 1/31/2024. 1.99 USD during the promotion period. ()

Fate of the Union will be promoted via Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle book deals in the US marketplace, starting 1/1/2024 and running through 1/31/2024. 2.99 USD during the promotion period. ()

The best deal of all is from Wolfpack, however: Max Allan Collins Collection, Volume Two: John Sand (John Sand Books #1-#3) for $0.99! ()

Wolfpack has five collections of my novels, and a lot of other titles of mine, including an anthology title, Murderlized, that includes the first story about Secret Agent John Sand. Check them out here.

That page includes some titles by good pals of mine, Steve Mertz and Paul Bishop.

* * *

For those of you following the trajectory of my movie Blue Christmas, here’s a brief report. Editor/producer Chad Bishop and I completed our edit and this Saturday past ran it by our partner in crime, Director of photography Phil Dingeldein. We screened the feature and Phil had a grand total of three notes, and I had one.

Today – the first day of January 2024 – Chad and I made what I think are the final tweaks, reflecting the notes Phil and I had (Chad a few himself, also).

So we have crossed that finish line, with other challenges ahead. Two Iowa theaters are interested in having premiere screenings, and more are likely to come. We should have word soon about distribution (physical media and streaming). We have entered the Iowa Motion Picture Awards and two festivals.

I hope some of you have sampled Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane (75th Anniversary Expanded Edition) on Amazon Prime or VUDU, and the Hammer Golden Age Radio play, Encore for Murder, on those same venues. Both are reasonably priced. And you can get the Blu-ray from Amazon here (right now, at only $20).

But from the distributor, VCI, directly you can get the expanded Spillane documentary for $14.98.

The Blu-ray includes Encore for Murder as a bonus feature. But Encore is also available, stand-alone, as a DVD, here, directly from VCI for only $9.99.

I don’t know how long VCI’s reduced prices are going to last, so if you have an interest in Spillane (and me), now’s the time.

* * *

Here’s an interview with yrs truly.

Finally, here’s a pretty decent review of Ms. Tree – Heroine Withdrawal.


Another Book Giveaway, An E-Book Sale & Major Announcements

Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

A limited book giveaway kicks off this Update.

I have only five copies I can share with you of the new Mike Hammer novel, Dig Two Graves. So move fast.

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

IMPORTANT: If you recently won a copy of Too Many Bullets, please don’t enter. If you’re not sure whether you were a winner in that giveaway, e-mail me at the above address and I’ll let you know. But before you do, keep in mind that I contacted everyone who entered who did not win and informed them of it. And please don’t tell Nero Wolfe I used “contact” as a verb.

You agree to write a review (or reviews) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and/or Goodreads, or your own blog.

* * *

Speaking of Dig Two Graves, the great Andrew Sumner of Titan interviewed me about it recently, and you can watch it right here.

Dig Two Graves will be available from Amazon and others a week from today (Sept. 19).

E-Book: Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes
Digital Audiobook: Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes Chirp
Audio MP3 CD:
Audio CD:
* * *

Two of my novels are on sale right now (and until 9/30/’23) at Amazon, e-book editions of Executive Order ($2.95 Amazon) and Girl Most Likely ($2.49 Amazon). Exec is co-written by Matthew Clemens and is a Reeder and Rogers political thriller. Girl is one of my personal favorites.

* * *

Robert Meyer Burnett, You Tube’s finest commentator on pop culture and physical media, made an interesting announcement on air last night (Sunday Sept. 10). All of a sudden he was talking about me! Hearing my name invoked was startling and, I’ll admit, a little thrilling, because I respect this man’s opinions and admire his uncanny ability to hold my attention for literal hours with his good-humored brilliance. But I wasn’t entirely surprised, because he and I (and our mutual friend Mike Bawden, who is the producer of the Burnett podcasts, and happens to be located near me in the Quad Cities) are embarking on a project together.

We are setting out to do a podcast series based on the Nathan Heller novels. Each multi-episode podcast would take on a single book. I will write these adaptations myself. Rob Burnett is, among other things, a Hollywood director (Free Enterprise, Femme Fatales, The Hills Run Red). There will be a crowd-funding effort to get the first podcast off the ground, and I’ve written a 10-page self-contained script (based on the opening of Stolen Away), to be presented as an example of what we’re up to at the crowd-funding site.

These are early days, but I think we’ll be moving fast. We are talking to several terrific name actors about playing Heller on the crowd-funding pilot, and when we’re a go for the podcast (likely six episodes – we’re considering several titles, including Carnal Hours), other name actors will be cast as well.

Since we haven’t had a Heller movie in all these years, despite continued Hollywood interest, I think a superior podcast could really jump start things on that end.

But the podcast on its own will be great fun, and producer Bawden is a genius at promotion and utilizing You Tube. Not surprisingly, my longtime movie collaborator Phil Dingeldein is involved in the project, and we’ll be making behind-the-scenes and behind-the-story “true crime” videos. That, at least, is the plan.

* * *

Meanwhile, work on Blue Christmas continues apace.

We are trying to secure Gary Sandy, but he has several prior commitments we have to find a window between. If we don’t land him, he has nonetheless been a friend to me and my work, and incidentally a fan specifically of Blue Christmas. His taking on Mike Hammer for our Golden Age-radio style local production made recording it (and turning it into a modest but fun little movie) possible.

We are having auditions this week for the rest of the Blue Christmas cast, and I intend to use as many of the players from Mickey Spillane’s Encore for Murder as possible. I was very pleased with their work.

Both the Blu-ray of the expanded Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane documentary and a DVD of Encore for Murder will be out in December (exact date TBA). Here is the trailer for Encore.

We are on a very fast track for Blue Christmas – the shoot is toward the end of October.

* * *

Yesterday afternoon/evening (Sunday Sept. 10), my band Crusin’ made its last appearance of the summer. Rain kept threatening but never happened, and a large appreciative crowd seemed to have a great time.

Crusin' September 10, 2023
Crusin' September 10, 2023

Barbara and Samuel dance to Crusin’

I had to postpone this from a scheduled August appearance, due to my health stuff; but I was pretty much fine for this performance, although I admit to tiring easily. It’s becoming obvious that I’m near the end of my rock ‘n’ rolling days, and I think next summer (if the rest of the band is up for it) we’ll do a Farewell Tour of three gigs here in Muscatine.

We’ve been preparing new originals for one last CD, which would include the Crusin’ originals from Real Time: Siege at Lucas Street Market.

This version of the band has been very gratifying. This is the line-up, basically, that appeared at the 2018 Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction concert. Our late bass player, Brian Van Winkle, appeared with us there. He passed away not long after, most unexpectedly, and his sunny presence and self-deprecating humor is sorely missed – in many respects he was the heart of the band. His replacement – our guitarist Bill Anson’s son Scott – is one of the best bass players I’ve been privileged to appear with. He has his own sly sense of humor, too. By the way, Bill Anson came aboard just to fill in for a while – that was seven years ago.

I hate to hang it up, but I figure I’ve accomplished everything I ever will in this artistic/performing arena, and will concentrate whatever time is left to writing novels and working on movies. Blue Christmas is, in part, an experiment to see how I do directing a movie at this rarefied age.

I have designed it to be low-budget – a necessity, particularly since we didn’t get the expected Greenlight grant – and wrote it to be shot on a single set in a studio-style setting. I will have some wonderful actors lined up (with or without Gary, though I sure hope he’s able to do it) and great collaborators in Phil Dingeldein, Liz Toal and Chad Bishop.

Since Encore came out well and the filming of it was something of a last minute, impulsive decision, I had originally conceived Blue Christmas to be presented as a play that we’d shoot. There are advantages to that approach, but also disadvantages – shooting it film-style, without an audience, will broaden our market, and be more artistically satisfying to boot.

Wish us break a leg and stay tuned for reports from the front lines.

* * *

Here, from the Pulp, Crime & Mystery Books site, is a nice review of Dig Two Graves.

Finally, here’s a short but great write-up on Too Many Bullets from Craig Zablo.

Half-Price Books, The Other Muscatine Mystery Man & More

Tuesday, July 4th, 2023

Barb and I, stepping our toes in the waters of life after Covid and heart surgery (me not her), took a brief getaway to Des Moines, where we’ve often gone to relax at a favorite hotel (the Wildwood), indulge in some favorite restaurants (Noah’s Arc, Ohana Steakhouse), and shop at some of our favorite brick-and-mortar stores.

Master Chef Cy Gushiken at our favorite Des Moines restaurant.
Master Chef Cy Gushiken at our favorite Des Moines restaurant.

Unfortunately, Barb’s favorite of that latter category (Von Maur at Valley West) has moved to upscale Jordan Creek mall. West Des Moines/Clive (they are adjacent) has a very nice Barnes & Noble that is still open and apparently flourishing, despite a second B & N opening a while back at Jordan Creek.

The dog in my hunt, chiefly, is the West Des Moines Half-Price Books. I go to the Cedar Rapids Half-Price frequently, but I always considered the somewhat larger Des Moines outlet an outstanding one. This time I was less enthusiastic.

Now, let’s take a brief side trip into the competing worlds of streaming and physical media. Physical media has taken a bad hit – Best Buy has all but phased out the home video that was for decades their chief loss leader/draw. They dropped CDs several years ago. The younger world (the same one inexplicably drawn to vinyl) has done its best to convince everyone over thirty that physical media has gone the way of the dodo and dinosaur. That we will be able to get every, movie and TV-wise, that we could ever want from the streaming services.


What we really have in streaming is a combination of charging for everything (even the oldest content) or foisting commercials on us, and gradually…well, not so gradually…dropping the movies and particularly TV shows you were paying to get.

Thank God for physical media.

And thank God for Half-Price Books, right?

Sure, they rape you when you sell stuff to them, and pretend to care about the environment by eliminating plastic bags (and selling you five-buck cloth ones, if you insist upon transporting your purchases to the parking lot without encountering bodily harm). But at least they are the home of physical media.

Right? Right?

My visit to the Des Moines Half-Price Books began by the book/video buyer informing me they were now paying less (!) because so much was so easily available from the streaming services (!). Muttering, I trundled off to the wall of movies and TV shows on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K to drown my sorrows in cinema.

What greeted me was indeed a wall of video. But it was also an ungodly video mosaic – DVDs were now interspersed with Blu-rays and 4K’s. No separation of titles – like Criterions, or classic cinema, or foreign, or any classification. Everything and anything that could be considered a “feature film” was lumped together – Bambi and Night of the Living Dead sharing only horrific death scenes. A secondary wall of TV series also consisted of interspersed DVDs and Blu-rays.

A few classifications remained, outside of the feature film area. In the Entertainment book section, you could find a row of interspersed opera DVDs and Blu-rays. And in the sports area was a row of wrestling DVDs. No opera-singing wrestler videos appeared to be on offer.

Here’s the thing: Blu-ray/4K collectors generally do not also collect DVDs. Nor do most people still buying DVDs want to be bothered with them uppity Blu-rays and 4K’s. And few of us in either group want to go through hundreds upon hundreds of unsorted (if alphabetized) mixed formats. I do not care to go through the entire inventory of a Half-Price Books looking for the five or six titles I might pick up. Nor do they benefit from people who come in looking for a title, check its alphabetical position, and find it, or not, make a paltry purchase and exit. Impulse buying? We don’t need no stinking impulse buying….

This unsorted morass is courtesy of (a) a generation or two who have contempt for physical media, with (again) the inexplicable hipster obsession with the delights of snap, crackle and pop common to Rice Krispies and vinyl records; and (b) corporate decision makers who don’t know what the fuck they are doing.

Imagine if the books within Half-Price were similarly rearranged – mass market paperbacks intermingled with hardcovers, cats and dogs living together, no separate sections for fiction or nonfiction, no categories like mystery or science fiction or true crime or humor. Madness. Lazy madness at that, with a complete disregard for customers.

I must add that the staff at the buying counter agreed with me whole-heartedly and hated the new corporate policy of shuffling the DVD and Blu-ray decks. In fact, they beamed when I complained, eager to hear (and pass along) the criticism. It was like sending your food back at a restaurant and having the wait staff say, “Damn right! This is shit!”

Some stores – Cedar Rapids included, so far – have ignored this idiotic policy.

* * *

There are three major mystery writers who were born in Muscatine, Iowa. My wife Barb is one of them. I am another. But arguably the most famous is Ellis Parker Butler, who wrote the very funny comic essay (published as a short book) Pigs is Pigs. Read about Butler at Wikipedia.

While Pigs Is Pigs is Butler’s most famous work, the second most famous is his detective character, Philo Gubb. (Butler’s Philo pre-dates Philo Vance, incidentally.) You can read about Gubb at Wikipedia, too, right here.

Philo Gubb Book Cover

Philo Gubb, Correspondence School Detective is one of Ellery Queen’s chosen best and most important mystery novels (though the book is a short story collection, really); it’s number 61 on their Queen’s Quorum. Here’s what Queen says about Philo Gubb:

“The year 1918 witnessed the arrival between covers of the first correspondence-school detective, a small-town paperhanger who commits a slight case of murder on the King’s English every time he talks. Philo Gubb performs his rustic ratiocination in a yellow-lemon book, its front-cover illustration showing a tall, gaunt Holmesian figure wearing a cap and dressing gown, a long pipe sticking out of his Sherlockian face, an enormous microscope on the table behind him, a beautiful damsel sitting in the client’s chair, a bookcase jammed with ponderous tomes in the background, and a framed diploma from the Rising Sun Detective Agency’s Correspondence School on the wall.”

It would seem Philo Gubb is more an ancestor of the Barbara Allan detectives, Brandy and Vivian Borne, than Nate Heller or Quarry. Like Barbara Allan (the Barbara and Max Allan Collins writing team), Ellis Butler Parker was noted for his stories being funny, even laugh out-loud funny. Not bad footsteps to walk in.

I was aware of Ellis Parker Butler, but only recently did I start collecting him. At an estate sale here in Muscatine, held at the Art Center where my band Crusin’ was playing (I was on a break), I picked up nine books by him, and have since ordered several more from e-bay and ABE Books.

Have to check out the competition, you know.

* * *

We have yet another Amazon deal for those of you who are e-book readers.

Thomas & Mercer team has announced that Fate of the Union will be promoted via Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle book deals in the US, starting 7/1/2023 and running through 7/31/2023 at 2.99 USD.

Also, the Amazon Encore team has informed me that True Detective will be promoted via a $3 towards this selection of Kindle books in the marketplace, starting 7/1/2023 and running through 7/31/2023. This promotion offers customers the opportunity to purchase books at a discount within a curated selection using a promo code offered to them in an e-mail. Customers who have purchase history within this genre will be presented this offer. Not all customers will be offered the coupon. But if it turns up in your e-mail, have at it.

Ordering info plus sample chapters and examples of Fay Dalton’s magnificent art for Fancy Anders For The Boys is right here. It’s a novella, remember, not a novel. Available in both e-book and physical (yay!) media.

* * *

I should note that I usually post a link to these updates on half a dozen Facebook sites where these missives might seem to have relevance. But last week I wrote almost exclusively about my weekend of playing two gigs with my band Crusin’, and ran a bunch of photos thereof, so I thought perhaps I shouldn’t bother people whose interests are old paperbacks, and noir mysteries and films and so on.

But if you’re reading this but missed last week, and think you might have been interested, just keep reading.