True Detective Hits #1

September 27th, 2011 by Max Allan Collins
True Detective

Last week, Amazon released the trade paperback (and e-book) edition of TRUE DETECTIVE. At the same time, they chose the book as the Kindle Pick of the Day, priced it at 99-cents for 24 hours, and it was at #1 – out of 900,000-some books – by mid-afternoon. The next day the price was back up to around eight bucks, and still it stayed high on the charts. To take advantage of this new Nate Heller interest, Amazon dropped it to $1.99, where it’s still priced as I write this, and the book remains after five days in the upper reaches of the Kindle charts.

Cross your fingers that this is a new start for Nate Heller. The sale day TRUE DETECTIVE sold 13,000 e-book copies. Keep in mind that the first printing of the book back in 1983 was only 12,000. (The original edition went into a second printing, but we probably sold almost as many e-books in one day as the initial publication did in its two printings.)

If you invested in one, thanks. If you haven’t, what’s stopping you? A big week for Nate Heller and I’m very pleased.

Also a big week for Hard Case Crime. THE CONSUMMATA has received some terrific advance reviews, like this one.

And QUARRY’S EX, which is in bookstores now (I saw it myself in a Barnes & Noble) has been racking up sweet notices, like this one from Craig Clarke.

And here’s more love for QUARRY’S EX from a military web site, getting off on the hitman’s Marine Corps ties.

Here’s one more great QUARRY’S EX notice.

In addition, Charles Ardai has announced Hard Case’s acquisition of the final unpublished James M. Cain novel, THE COCKTAIL WAITRESS. A long while back, I convinced Otto Penzler to publish two of the three unpublished James M. Cain novels remaining in the great author’s files, and he did (CLOUD 9 and THE ENCHANTED ISLAND, at Mysterious Press). Then when Charles looked me up (to reprint the first two Nolan books) in the earliest stages of trying to get Hard Case launched, I told him about the THE COCKTAIL WAITRESS. He tracked it down, but couldn’t convince the Cain estate to let him publish it. I kept after him, cheerleading for one of my favorite authors, and Charles kept in the game, stayed doggedly after the prize. Finally he has pulled it off, and last week the news was all over the internet and elsewhere, too many places for me to provide here. But check out a couple of important ones, like this one at the Huffington Post.

And this one at the New York Times (Charles always gives me credit – thanks, Charles!)

And Ed Gorman was nice enough to write about my upcoming Heller collection, CHICAGO LIGHTNING, commenting on the success of TRUE DETECTIVE on Kindle.

A few days later, Ed reported on a meeting we had in the parking lot at Half-Price Books in Cedar Rapids, where I told him how much I hated the movie DRIVE. He discusses this, then in the comments section I provide an acid little review…read all the way down, though, to get a correction I made.

Finally, here’s a really cool theater-centric review of Barbara Allan’s ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF from a guy. I wrote him with my thanks and it turns out he’s a big M.A.C. fan from way back. I knew you guys are out there – I can hear you breathing!


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3 Responses to “True Detective Hits #1”

  1. mike doran says:

    So I was in the Books-A-Million store in the Loop, and I see the new editions of some of the Hellers on the shelf.
    Since I already have the originals, I don’t buy them, but later, at home, An idea comes to me:
    Looking at the old hardbacks from the ’80s, I saw the photo illustrations of the real people that Nate Heller encountered.
    That was one aspect of the books that grabbed me from the start. So much so that when you stopped doing it, after NEON MIRAGE, I really missed the pix. And in the next book, STOLEN AWAY, I could have used some pictures to help me keep all the characters straight.
    So anyway, here’s the idea:
    Illuminated editions.
    Just like Dan Brown did with THE DAVINCI CODE.
    Pictures of the historical people like before, only more of them.
    Plus pictures of old Chicago, or old Las Vegas, or old Wherever the book is taking place.
    Plus maps, timelines, and anything else to make the novel seem like nonfiction.
    Titan Books does the slick stuff really well. No doubt they could do you and George Hagenauer proud.
    Besides, wouldn’t you love to get people to pay $40-$50 bucks a pop for books they already have? (the author’s dream, so I’ve heard.)
    And the main difference is – YOU DESERVE IT.

    Okay, it’s a silly idea … smacks of bald greed, presumes on the good will of your existing fan base, could concievably backfire …
    But still … an Illuminated Edition of TRUE DETECTIVE, or STOLEN AWAY, or BLOOD AND THUNDER, or any and all of the Hellers – that might just be something to behold.
    Anyway, maybe I made you smile with the thought.

    (You don’t suppose Bob Goldsborough might be interested in doing the Malek books this way?)

  2. Brad Schwartz says:

    I agree with everything Ed Gorman said about Heller. Those books probably have the best re-readability of any mysteries out there, precisely because of the level of historical detail (just about the next best thing to time travel) and the privilege of spending time with Heller. But nothing beats having new adventures to pore over, either.

  3. Thanks, Brad. I am revisiting the Hellers myself via the audio books. Pretty pleased so far.

    Mike, this is an idea George H. and I have kicked around for decades. I also mentioned the notion of adding pics to the reprints to Amazon. Problem is this: I have to pay for them. Back at St. Martin’s, it came out of my pocket, too. I frankly got tired of reviewers raving about the photos and kind of ignoring the actual books. Still, the format you suggest would be great. But Heller and I are just not famous enough to warrant it. Maybe if things build over the next few years, it will become feasible.