Better Late Than…

October 5th, 2010 by Max Allan Collins

A terrific QUARRY’S EX review came in from Daniel Luft – very insightful and a real pleasure to read. Too bad the book didn’t come out last month as promised. On the other hand, and I can say no more, it looks like EX really will be out some time next year…possibly a year late, but…

Mystery File shared two Top 100 Lists by top-notch fan/critics, dating to 1993. I don’t remember this – maybe never saw it – but both lists have Nate Heller novels on ‘em. As you know, I despise such lists…unless I am included. In which case their validity is unquestionable.

I do wonder, when I see such lists, just how much tastes-of-the-moment are in play. In 1993, STOLEN AWAY was getting a lot of attention, rave reviews, a Shamus nod, etc. There hasn’t been a Heller since 2001, so I wonder how many lists today would fail to include one of those novels. We’ll see if BYE BYE, BABY gets Heller back on the radar.

Blood Money NEL EditionThere’s a very interesting look from a UK site about the first two Nolan novels and how they were published with very cool Dali-esque covers over there. If you’ve never seen these covers, it’s worth a trip (to the site, not the UK) (but I’m always up for a UK trip). I left a couple of comments that you may find of interest.

Barb and I listened to a rough cut of the new Mike Hammer audio novel (THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER VOL. 3: ENCORE FOR MURDER) in the car on a Chicago getaway this weekend. Producer/director Carl Amari did a great job, with Stacy Keach just batting that ball out of the park as his signature character. But the rest of the cast is terrific, too – with Mike Cornelison as Pat Chambers (in my opinion, the best Chambers ever), Tim Kazurinsky as a Broadway producer, and all kinds of Chicago talent. This will be out next March. By the way, I play a role in ENCORE FOR MURDER – a small but significant one – and I got the best review possible from Barb: she didn’t realize it was me! This either shows that I did an incredible acting job, or that I don’t make much of an impression, even when you live with me for 40 years.

Also on the trip, we listened to the second pass on the new Crusin CD – CRUSIN’ LIVE – ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HAPPENED – and after just one tiny tweak, we’ll be ready to press the suckers. I’m doing about 100 copies for promo purposes, and a limited edition available here at the site – these will probably be given away “free” when you purchase another item (TBD). This is not a national release because it’s designed to show potential clients what the band sounds like, and includes covers of material that we can’t afford to license. We may be able to offer downloads of the original songs from the album (there are seven, including a blistering “Psychedelic Siren,” first live recording of that we’ve ever issued).

While in the Chicago area, I saw Nate’s book SUMMER, FIREWORKS & MY CORPSE in the science-fiction/fantasy section of Borders! He has arrived!

I would like to mention two of my favorite writers, briefly. First, Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay for the Facebook film THE SOCIAL NETWORK is a stunner – beautifully constructed and the dialogue crackles. Don’t miss this film.

Second, we lost Stephen Cannell last week. He did a lot of TV in recent years that I didn’t care about (starting around A-TEAM time), and I have never been able to get into his novels. But he remains one of my handful of favorite TV writers (Sorkin being another). He gave us ROCKFORD FILES, TENSPEED AND BROWNSHOE, THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO (Mike Cornelison had a recurring role!), and RICHIE BROCKELMAN, PRIVATE EYE. Most important to me, he and Roy Huggins (my other favorite TV writer) came up with CITY OF ANGELS. That’s my favorite private eye show of all time, and I owe Cannell, Huggins and actor Wayne Rogers a huge debt – Nate Heller is their bastard offspring. I never met Cannell, but not long ago I sent him a foreign movie poster of a film version of the three-part ANGELS pilot, “The November Plan,” asking that he signed it. He did, and I will treasure it.


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3 Responses to “Better Late Than…”

  1. Brad Schwartz says:

    If only Amazon let me post reviews of an item up for preorder I’d get a QUARRY’S EX one up there for you. I’d like to help the book get buzz if I can, because it’s great and I want to see it published, but I suppose I’d need a blog to do that, although I can’t really see myself as a blogger.

    And just for the record, Heller would place (several times) on any “Best Of” mystery list of mine, if I ever wrote one.

  2. Kim Frazier says:

    Your Heller novels rank right up there in my all-time favorite mysteries, right alongside Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, Mickey Spillane and Ross MacDonald. In fact, I have all the Hellers, including Dying In The Post-War World and Kisses Of Death, in my collection, and I’ve spent the last few months leisurely re-reading the series so I’m prepped when the new novel arrives next year. Been a LONG time since I revisited them, but I’m really having a great time getting reacquainted with Nathan Heller. Can’t wait for the new book to come out!

    Stephen Cannell also wrote for a couple of seasons on my all-time FAVORITE show, Adam-12. And the two seasons he wrote for, s.4 &5, were THE BEST in the whole series, IMHO. I absolutely LOVE the two episodes he wrote, “The Search” and “Killing Ground”. Both episodes kept me on the edge of my seat the very first time I saw them. He will be missed.

  3. These are lovely comments — my thanks to both Brad and Kim.

    Ironically, Jeff Myerson updated his 1993 list and left me off — proving my point that such lists are of the moment.

    I will look for those seasons of ADAM-12, Kim. Jack Webb is one of my heroes (Warner Archives just released -30-, his newspaper movie). But I lost interest in his productions when he stopped acting in them. By the way, the second season DRAGNET set that contains the great DRAGNET 1967 (shot in ’66) two-hour pilot has a glitch — the very dramatic and necessary “This is the city” sequence was left off initial pressings. If you have bought this, or buy it, check for the opening — which is dynamite, probably the best thing about the entire movie — and then go to Shout’s website, where they have instructions for you to receive a corrected disc at no cost.