St. Looie Postscript

September 20th, 2011 by Max Allan Collins

Bouchercon was a blast. Among many friends I got to see and spend time with were Bob Randisi, John and Barbara Lutz, Christine Matthews, Ted Fitzgerald, Jeff Pierce, Ted Hertel, Dick Lochte, Christa Faust, Deadly Pleasures editor George Easter, EQMM editor Janet Hutchings, Mystery Scene editor Kate Stine, agent Dominick Abel, editor Michaela Hamilton, Strand editor Andrew Gulli, and so many more. I can say with no humility whatsoever that the two times I signed I had huge lines, damn near rivaling the guests of honor — Barb and Matt Clemens signed with me, so I can’t take all the credit. I was part of two lively panels — one on comics, another on the future of the private eye genre — on Thursday and Saturday respectively.

Crusin' at Bouchercon 2011

Along the way, I gave “shite” (my new favorite word courtesy of my new favorite pal Ali Karim) to my shy and retiring buddy Gary Phillips both on and off the comics panel, jawed with Sara Paretsky, and with Crusin’ backed our guest artists Bob Randisi, Joelle Charbonneau, Bryan Gruley, Mark Billingham and Guest of Honor, Val McDermid. Everybody was great — Bob has a fine voice and gave Elvis a run for it on “Can’t Help Fallin’ in Love,” Joelle (a stunning redhead in a green gown) had the pipes to do justice to “Be My Baby,” Mark and I did a raucous “Saw Her Standing There” while the charismatic Val joined Mark for a stirring Orbison/k.d. lang-style “Crying.” Finally Bryan blew the roof off the dump with a “Gloria” that Van Morrison might have envied.

In addition, the performance (on Saturday night) found Crusin’ very well-received with dancing from the start and applause after every tune. A rough load-in at the Renaissance Grand (as my late friend Paul Thomas said, “The ass end of a hotel is never pretty”) was the only mote in the eye of a wonderful night.

Bill Crider (with whom I also jawed, his lovely wife Judy, too) was nice enough to post a pic from the dance with some comments from attendees thereafter.

The Shamus awards on Friday were fun at the Busch brewery, where some have accused me of eating two pieces of a cake that was not quite big enough to serve the entire group. This is a libelous notion, but perhaps my losing the short story Shamus was karma….

I was honored to read Ed Gorman’s acceptance speech for receiving the PWA life achievement award, the Eye. Much deserved, and a graceful, modest acceptance from Ed, who had to remain in Iowa at the bat cave (it’s not Batman’s cave, it’s just a cave full of bats).

Some very nice web attention has come up for various of the new MAC books. KISS HER GOODBYE got a strong write-up from the L.A. Review of Books, for example.

Sons of Spade gave BYE BYE, BABY a short but very enthusiastic and insightful review here.

A very flattering review calling me the James Brown of the mystery writing game (my apologies to Gary Phillips, but after all I am the hardest working man in show business now that James is gone) appeared at Bookgeeks.

And I got a nice recommendation from Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego for BYE BYE, BABY.

Finally, the Library Journal had wonderful things to say about THE CONSUMMATA.

My apologies to anyone at the con I didn’t mention. There were so many friends and friendly faces that it was a very pleasant blur. Also great for Barb and me was spending time with son Nate and his girl Abby, who came to the Crusin’ dance. I am in fact still in St. Louis as I write this on the Monday after the great Bouchercon weekend, spending more time with my fantastic son (he’s fantastic even if it was his idea to go to the horrible psuedo-noir “Drive” yesterday).

Finally, a big shout-out to Jon and Ruth Jordan, the brawn and the beauty.


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4 Responses to “St. Looie Postscript”

  1. Graham says:

    As a fan of the Nate Heller series, I knew you could write, but DAMN you guys rocked out. (That’s me in the picture, the big goofy guy right in front of the keyboards.)

  2. Gerald So says:

    Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed Ali Karim’s Saturday morning P.I. panel with you, Barbara Fister, Bob Randisi, and Rick Helms. I’m a Robert Parker fan, but I agree with your comments on Hawk and other sidekicks in your recent Sons of Spade interview. Spenser wasn’t the first hero to have an amoral sidekick, but I think Parker popularized the P.I. sidekick, just as his popularity helped renew interest in the P.I. genre in the 70s. I’d say the avenging sidekick is part of his legacy in the negative sense.

  3. And I’m the big goofy guy with his hand up behind the keyboards!

  4. Gerald, thanks for these comments. I know some Parker fans don’t like what I’ve said about Hawk being a racist character in conception, but I stand behind that…just as I stand behind the notion that my protagonists do their own psychotic dirty work.

    I do value Parker for what he did for the genre. I wish those who don’t care for Mickey would do him the same courtesy.