Pleas, Pleas Me

April 12th, 2011 by Max Allan Collins

Before we begin, I have a request – even a plea.

Those of you who recently asked for and received free advance copies of various M.A.C. books, the deal was you’d post a review – some of you have. Others have not. How can I put this gently? Get cracking.

Reviews at Amazon in particular, but also at other sites like rival Barnes & Noble, are very important. I am told that certain Amazon recommendations don’t kick in until a title is at over 20 reviews. So any of you out there enjoying the books, please post a review – it doesn’t have to be worthy of comparison to Jon L. Breen or Anthony Boucher. A simple line – “This is a terrific read!” – will do. Four- and particularly five-star reviews at Amazon are important, because of the average star rating that appears when you search for a title or author. Amazon reviewers have an unfortunate tendency to either post four- or five-star reviews…or one star reviews. And those one-star reviews really pull a title’s rating down. Some of these one-star reviews are frankly imbecilic – like rating a book one-star because it took two weeks for Amazon to ship it.

I am particularly annoyed by people who took advantage of the free Kindle copies we gave out, for several days, or YOU CAN’T STOP ME and ANTIQUES ROADKILL. What kind of a-hole posts a one-star review for a book he or she got free? Why do these people keep reading a book to the end that they don’t like from page one? When they are served a terrible meal, do they wolf it down after that first disgusting bite?

Anyway, your grass-roots support at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders’s and on your own blogs and Facebook pages in general is much, much needed…and appreciated.

ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF continues to get wonderful reviews. We hit the trifecta of the major industry publications, with Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus and now Library Journal reviewing (and liking us). This is from the Library Journal review:

This fifth cozy series entry displays the versatility of husband and wife Max Allan Collins and Barbara Collins. Scenes of Midwestern small-town life, informative tidbits about the antiques business, and clever dialog make this essential for those who like unusual amateur sleuths.

But my favorite ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF review – one of my favorite reviews for the entire series – comes from that splendid human being and blogger extra ordinaire, Bill Crider. You gotta check this one out. Barb and I were working hard on ANTIQUES DISPOSAL last week, really worn down by the work, and this came in and boosted our spirits incredibly. It should be noted that Bill is a terrific mystery writer his own damn self, and you can find info at his site about his excellent books, when you’re checking out this review.

Speaking of great guys who happen to also be great writers, Ed Gorman has struck again with a wonderful retrospective of the first Quarry novel, in the context of the new Perfect Crime trade paperback reprints. By the way, Perfect Crime has also published an outstanding Gorman short-story collection called Noir 13.

Steve Lewis has a very interesting and insightful review of the forthcoming KISS HER GOODBYE at Mystery File, and the comments include some lengthy ones by me that describe the process of creating new Spillane novels from old unfinished manuscripts.

And here’s a neat review of A KILLING IN COMICS. How I wish I’d been able to do more than just one Jack and Maggie Starr mystery.

I should mention that THE BIG BANG has been nominated for a Scribe (Best Original Novel) by the International Association of Media and Tie-in Writers. You can see the other nominees listed at Lee Goldberg’s terrific site (always worth checking out – fun, funny and informative). Lee and I co-founded the organization, but I assure you the fix is not in.

Even Wild Dog got some love this week! All because he wore a hockey mask.

And there’s some very insightful stuff about Ms. Tree, with a smart feminist perspective, at Ink-stained Amazon. This is Part Four, but you can find your way to the previous parts as you scroll down. I think the bulk of the Ms. Tree material is right here in Part Four, though.

Today, Barb and I will very likely complete ANTIQUES DISPOSAL. The book is essentially written but we are in Day Two of our final tweaks. After ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF has done so well, we’re a little intimidated. KNOCK-OFF essentially completes the first story arc (took five books to do it). DISPOSAL introduces another story arc, this time designed to span three books. This time we’re dealing with the auction of storage units whose owners are either in arrears or have disappeared. Murder and hilarity ensues…or anyway, they better….


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7 Responses to “Pleas, Pleas Me”

  1. I did get to do more than one Jack and Maggie Starr mystery — I got to do two! I was prepping a third one when the contract I’d been pledged was withdrawn….

  2. mike doran says:

    Hello again from the land of forgotten passwords.

    In my advancing years I apparently cannot distinguish between a zero and an upper-case O.

    Anyway – to the point.

    I can’t find any of your new books in any of the stores yet.

    Not in Borders (those few that are left) or Barnes & Noble or anywhere,

    Have any of them been formally released yet?
    (Or have they at least escaped?)

    Please advise (I’d hate to show up at C&S empty-handed).

  3. Joe Menta says:

    Max, you recently sent me two series books for review, thanks again! I’m currently catching up by reading the previous installments of those respective series, hence the appearance that I forgot about you. But within a week or so you should start seeing some scribblings about the two Harrow books and the last couple of Antiques books.

    Via the Amazon “Vine” review program I also just got the new Hammer. So a review of that will be coming up soon, too.

    As an Audie Awards judge, I’ll be attending (for the first time!) the upcoming awards gala in NY. Will you be there? Stacy Keach, maybe? I judged a more academic category this year, so I’ll be able to relax and not have to justify my views to any mystery narrators/writers I meet, and can just have fun talking to them!

  4. NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU and ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF (as well as the mass market paperback of ANTIQUES BIZARRE and the trade paperback of THE BIG BANG) are out right now. In Barnes & Noble, NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU appears to be in Fiction, not Mystery. I believe it’s in Mystery at the remaining Border’s, though. ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF has done very well at Barnes & Noble, and if you don’t see it, they are sold out. I haven’t seen THE BIG BANG trade paperback anywhere yet, or the audio book THE NEW ADVENURES OF MIKE HAMMER: ENCORE FOR MURDER. But I actually one of the latter myself from Amazon and have received it.

    Listen, it’s terribly frustrating for those of us who love bookstores…but a certain amount of online buying is a must now.

    As for Audies, I have no plans to attend the awards. I am considering attending the Thriller Awards, though.

  5. Amazon won’t allow me to leave a review of Kiss Her Goodbye because, I assume, it’s not out yet, and I didn’t get a copy through their Vine program. The other books you sent have been reviewed there as well as on Goodreads and my blog. As soon as it will allow, I’ll get up one on Amazon.

  6. I have heard that Amazon sometimes blocks reviews by people who didn’t buy the book from them. Frustrating. If you’ve received a review copy from the author or publisher, you ought to be able to post a review.

    The Vine program has its benefits, but it also can get you some strange reviews. There’s a KISS HER GOODBYE review from a guy who writes a lot in ALL CAPS for emphasis, who calls himself a “purist” who thinks I shouldn’t be completing Mickey’s work, but also says he’s never read Mickey’s work…and makes it clear he’d have never read this book at all if it wasn’t necessary to keep the freebies coming from the Vine program.

    What purpose is served by having somebody review a book that he or she would never have bought? Of course that applies to professional reviewers, but it REALLY (say, that’s effective, huh?) applies to reader reviews.

  7. He can claim he only got it to keep the freebies coming. You’re only allowed two a month, but there’s a large selection of books to choose from(I’m a member myself and the only reason I didn’t take the Hammer was you’d sent me a copy).