Cover Boy

November 1st, 2011 by Max Allan Collins
Deadly Pleasures

Seeing my face on the cover of the current DEADLY PLEASURES (Summer 2001, issue 66), is gratifying if frustrating – I’d have looked better twenty or even ten years ago. But it’s nice to see Nate Heller get this kind of attention – editor George Easter told me I’d get the DP cover when I wrote another Heller (this was during the drought between CHICAGO CONFIDENTIAL and the current BYE BYE, BABY). And he kept his word.

The issue is an embarrassment of riches, because editor Easter reviews/discusses seven of the books I have out this year (he skips ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF, either not knowing about “Barbara Allan” or just not liking the cozy stuff). Ted Fitzgerald in the same issue provides a rave review of BYE BYE, BABY as well, and Roger M. Sobin does retro coverage of FLYING BLIND, comparing it to the 2009 film “Amelia” (which I thought was dreadful…the film, not Sobin’s solid discussion).

When Jon Breen retired from regularly writing the review column in ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE, “The Jury Box,” I thought I was cooked. Jon was a big booster of my stuff and reviewed me regularly. I figured the new guy, Steve Steinbock, would have more sense. Fortunately, he doesn’t, as the new EQMM (December 2001) gives generous “Jury Box” attention to a slew of my novels, leading off with a four-star BYE BYE, BABY review.

This kind of coverage is so important. For those of you who think my ego is out of control, when I mention such things, well, you’re probably right…but the real appeal of it to me is that the books get attention and gain more readers. That’s not really an ego-driven desire. It’s on the most basic level a desire to keep the lights on in this joint. I can’t stay in business if the books don’t sell, and I have never been a success on the level of a Harlan Coben or Lee Child. I remain a freelance writer desperately avoiding getting a real job.

Here’s a great write-up on the Nate Heller series worth checking out.

And here’s one specifically about the new Heller collection, CHICAGO LIGHTNING.

Oddly, this is a nice review of DEAD STREET, reacting as if the book just came out. The comments below the smart review reveal the level of idiocy that Spillane can elicit in apparently intelligent readers.

This week the new Titan collection of Simon and Kirby crime comics comes out, with my introduction. USA TODAY interviewed me about the book and about S & K.

Work continues apace on SPILLANE ON SCREEN as Jim Traylor and I keep the words flying between Iowa and Georgia. It’s a McFarland book and will be horrendously expensive, no doubt, but it’s gonna be worth it.


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3 Responses to “Cover Boy”

  1. Jim Traylor says:

    The DEADLY PLEASURES issue is a great honor for a distinguished writer. I well remember my first taste of Collins: Nolan and Quarry. What a “deadly pleasure” indeed to read those compact, fast moving stories. And the latest Nate Heller–BYE BYE BABY only makes me anticipate the Heller-JFK story all the more. It’s a great honor to be doing another book about our favorite writer Mickey Spillane. Yes,the words have been flying from Iowa to Georgia and back again. We both know you’ll enjoy reading about SPILLANE ON SCREEN. We’ve certainly enjoyed putting it on paper.

  2. Edmond D. Smith says:

    To Hell with the Coben’s of the world. There is no author whose work I enjoy as much as yours, Max. Keep up the pr: spread the word. Your future readers can only thank you.

  3. Thanks for the kind words, Jim. Jim and I are working hard on the massive volume, SPILLANE ON SCREEN, right now.

    Edmond, I have nothing against the writers who are finanically more successful. Harlan Coben is a good pal of mine and a terrific writer, for example. On the other hand, I wouldn’t trade my books for his, to have his success…no insult intended. I guess I resent James Ellroy’s success, since we sort of work the same side of the street and I don’t care for his work at all…but again, if I’m not willing to exchange my novels for his, what’s to bitch?

    I have goals that have almost nothing to do with financial success or even critical success — books I want to get written while I’m here, and some films, too. The financial side comes in as the practicality of being able to market my stuff…I need Heller to be successful enough for a publisher to give me a contract…that’s the bottom line.