Bang Bang Bang Bang!!!!

May 4th, 2010 by Max Allan Collins
The Big Bang
In Stores Now!

THE BIG BANG continues to attract attention, but first things first…

…Barb, Matt Clemens and I are appearing on Saturday May 8 at a book fair in Davenport. We are doing a panel on collaboration at 1:30 P.M. at the River City Music Experience, talking about the new books YOU CAN’T STOP ME, ANTIQUES BIZARRE and THE BIG BANG. Here’s more info.

THE BIG BANG has had some wonderful cyber write-ups in recent days. Writer Brian Drake gives us a great, insightful write-up.

Writer Ron Fortier (he collaborates with Terry Beatty’s MS. TREE collaborator Gary Kato on the very, very fun comic MR. JIGSAW) has a great site (PULP FICTION REVIEWS) where he, too, provides insightful comments about “the Lost Sixties Mike Hammer Novel.” But is “heroine” a pun or a typo? You decide.

Here’s another really good BIG BANG write-up. So great to see so many reviewers in the blogosphere (yuck) really digging Mike Hammer and “getting it.”

And my pal Ed Gorman gave THE BIG BANG lots of space both for a review and a re-cycle of some stuff I wrote a few updates ago, generating a lively discussion that (of course) I got into. Turns out Robert B. Parker is a major writer and that I am apparently minor. That’s what I get for being Max Allan Collins, Jr. But do check it out – the great reviewer Jon Breen stops in.

Speaking of Ed, he briefly came out of his bunker at the undisclosed Cedar Rapids location to do a two-man “conversation” in front of a dozen nice people at a pleasantly trendy winery in Coralville, Iowa, for a library fund raiser. At his most excellent blog, he said nice things about me, including that I should run for governor. That is a nice thing to say, isn’t it?

John Kenyon was moderator at the event, and he did his best herding cats, but it was a hopeless task. He wrote about it, too, at his fun site.

M.A.C. and Ed Gorman
M.A.C. and Ed Gorman at the Iowa City Public Library Fundraiser
Photo by John Kenyon, Things I’d Rather Be Doing

Finally, Bookgasm – the gold standard of internet book review sites – didn’t much care for the new anthology CRIMES BY MOONLIGHT, but he likes the Collins/Spillane story, “Grave Matter.”

If you’re in the Eastern Iowa area, come to the Book Fair in Davenport. This is only the second event Clemens and two Collinses have either done together (not counting poker).


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4 Responses to “Bang Bang Bang Bang!!!!”

  1. Brian_Drake says:

    Thanks for the mention, Max. The book is out of this world. I think it ranks as my favorite of the ’60s Hammers, which, I admit, are not my favorites overall. I may do a post on “Survival Zero” which is my all-time favorite Hammer (and The Big Bang, to me, has much in common with Survival Zero as they both feature the impending doom of a missing drug shipment and missing bio weapon), but I can’t remember if that was out in the ’60s or ’70s. I think “Survival Zero” has my all-time favorite ending (though it may be tied with “Vengeance is Mine”), with the best last line ever.

    Was “Bang” done during a break Mickey had with the Jehovah’s Witnesses? As far as the sex and violence, this doesn’t have the toned-down feel that “Kiss Me, Deadly” or some of the other post-“Girl Hunters” books had. Was that a change you made, or did Mickey start out that way?

  2. SURVIVAL…ZERO! is 1970, I believe. I have grown to like that book more and more — it’s one of the ones I really studied for writing both this book and GOLIATH BONE.

    Mickey was definitely on the outs with the Witnesses when he wrote his chunk of THE BIG BANG. Mike is smoking and screwing Velda and screwing around on Velda and mercilessly killing bad guys. The stunning surprise ending is Mickey’s (although I executed it).

    KISS ME, DEADLY isn’t very toned down in my opinion. And I think THE GIRL HUNTERS, THE SNAKE and THE BODY LOVERS just have more to do with Mickey being older and perhaps being a little more restrained in his outrageousness….This is the era when he stated, “Sex and violence are exclaimation points in a story. And you don’t over-use exclamation points.” I believe he was on the outs with the Witnesses from around ’60 to the early ’70s.

  3. Brian_Drake says:

    You’re right about “Deadly”–that has the great head smashing scene. I think I only meant post-“Girl Hunters” but now I have to go back and read “Deadly” again. I thought the climax of “Deadly”, when Hammer shoots the doctor, could have been a bit bloodier. You could see how Mickey’s style had changed, though, between “Jury” and “Deadly”, so maybe I had that in mind, too.

    What other books other than “Survival Zero” did you study? I would think “The Killing Man” and “Black Alley” would have been valuable, in order to bring “Bone” more in tune with Mickey’s later style. I have often told other writer friends that the first chapter of “The Killing Man” should be memorized and examined because I can’t think of another opening sequence in any book that immediately grabs me like that one does and anybody who can learn from it and apply it to his own work will lead the pack.


    For THE BIG BANG, I went back to THE SNAKE and THE BODY LOVERS, and also THE GIRL HUNTERS.

    But I also listened to audio books of THE TWISTED THINGS, MY GUN IS QUICK and KISS ME, DEADLY, just to get the general Spillane vibe.

    For the forthcoming KISS HER GOODBYE, I returned to THE BODY LOVERS and SURVIVAL…ZERO!

    Always something to learn from Mickey….