Downton Abbey Bowl

February 5th, 2013 by Max Allan Collins

You want to know how secure in my masculinity I am? While other supposedly redblooded American males were watching the Super Bowl Sunday evening, I was watching the last two episodes of the third season of DOWNTON ABBEY on Blu-ray.

DOWNTON ABBEY is much better this year than last, but I am not here to praise that very popular series (actually, not near the top of my UK list but a fun show), but to brag about never having seen a Super Bowl game. I never have enjoyed watching sports, with the exception of boxing, and my interest in that has waned. I can abide basketball, particularly in person with good seats. Baseball to me is Chinese water torture with hot dogs.

I played football in high school. I viewed it as an opportunity for a bookworm with glasses to hide behind a protective helmet and dish out punishment on bigger, dumber kids. I was pretty good at it, and had scholarship offers. I was smart enough not to take them, because I would have been decimated by actual football players.

My point is, I don’t have to watch football. I played it. And I don’t find overblown half-time shows and commercials directed by modern day Caligulas any more entertaining than watching steroid-happy hired goons give each other brain damage. Nor do I relish the thought of guacamole-engorged cholesterol-ridden middle-aged men pursuing their homo-erotic fantasies by watching younger men collide at high speed.

But that’s just me.

I actually understand the bonding men and for that matter women (though most are pretending) share in their enthusiasm for college and professional sports. I have marginally more tolerance for college sports, though the fact that when I was at the University of Iowa there were maybe two guys actually from Iowa (way down on the bench) slightly undercuts whatever rooting interest I might have.

The best I’ve seen this bonding portrayed, in a funny, slightly dark but almost heart-warming manner, is the film SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. I almost envied the father/son bonding and the joy the friends with a similar enthusiasm shared. That’s a really good movie, by the way. I avoided it because I get enough mental illness at home, but it’s a unique and entertaining romantic comedy.

For my readers who are into sports, please know that the above rant was satire. I don’t really believe any of it. I think you guys are absolutely not out of your minds. Really. Honest. So forgive me, would you?

And pass the guacamole?


Those who haven’t bailed may be interested in a video interview (an audio version is available) posted here. It’s about SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT, among other things. Caveat: I couldn’t figure out how to play the video, though I did figure out the audio. Non-Luddites will do better.

Another interview appears here at Comic Book Resources. A decent one, I think.

Here’s a review of TWO FOR THE MONEY, the Hard Case Crime combo of BAIT MONEY and BLOOD MONEY. Insightful and, when critical, fair. I continue to find it weird seeing forty year-old stuff of mine reviewed currently.

Jeff Pierce at his cool Killer Covers site did a nice write-up on the excellent new Disaster Series covers from Thomas & Mercer.

You might enjoy this lively discussion of Bob Goldsborough’s Nero Wolfe novels – I pitch in, as a fan of Bob’s.

The second collection of DREADTIME STORIES on Audio is reviewed here. I only have one radio play, “Mercy,” but it’s my favorite of the series.

What I believe is the first COMPLEX 90 review appears here. Pretty good, but it mistakes Titan for Hard Case Crime.

Finally, I will confirm here that I am indeed writing a new Quarry novel, THE WRONG QUARRY. That should help to explain my anti-Super Bowl rant above, but understand I am currently in full Quarry mode. I hope to be able to report exciting news about a potential Quarry TV series for cable. Stay tuned. In the meantime, I have to take a call from Bill Maher, who says this week I have gone too far.


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7 Responses to “Downton Abbey Bowl”

  1. John Hocking says:

    Well thanks for all the bloviating on Downton Abbey and the Superbowl, but weren’t we supposed to get something on the new, in-the-works Quarry novel? I’m delighted just to know a new one is in the works, but a couple details would make me even happier.

  2. You sweet talker you.

    I actually wrote a final paragraph about that that somehow didn’t make it onto the update. I think I shipped Nate an earlier draft than I intended.

    But I will have more to say, since I may know more about the possible Quarry TV series, next week.

    THE WRONG QUARRY is well under way.

  3. Nathan Collins says:

    I fixed the post — at some point of me working the links, the last few paragraphs must have got clipped. Sorry about that, Chief!

  4. John Hocking says:

    A possible Quarry series for cable? Even if they only got it 70% right it would still be great stuff. I could see them adapting short stories…maybe use the first book as an overall story arc for the first season. Oh, the potential.

    Like I said, I read most all of your stuff, Mr. Collins, but the Quarry yarns deliver some of your best, most memorable hardboiled moments. Thanks.

  5. patrick_o says:

    Funny, I’ve never seen a Super Bowl game myself and I don’t particularly care to. I’ve nothing against the game but the sport I enjoy watching is hockey.

    I’m intrigued in this Quarry fellow… I’ve yet to read one of the Quarry books — I’m new to Max’s work in general — but all this Quarry talk flying around makes me want to start reading it… which unfortunately won’t be an option for another week at the very least.

  6. mike doran says:

    I wonder if your antipathy to spectator sports could be attributed to your not living in a “major-league market”?

    Baseball was the only sport I was ever a fan of, but there’s a qualifier: I was a Chicago White Sox Fan.
    The capitalization is deliberate.
    Here in Chicago, and specifically on the South Side, and more specifically among the South Side Irish, the Sox are wired into the local DNA.
    I had the further complication of being a Fifties Kid; during that time the Sox were always at least competitive with the Stengel Yankees, even actually beating them in ’59.
    The Cubs? They were the North Side, and during the ’50s that team was Ernie Banks and eight other guys who happened to show up.
    Actually, Jean Shepherd said it all in his classic monolog about the Sox, appropriately entitled “Balls”. I believe it’s available on CD.
    One other thing I remember was my uncle Lou Pavletic, who was a True Chicago Sports Fan:
    He’d have the Cubs on TV, the Sox on radio, and his bookie on the phone.
    So much for my idyllic youth.

    The Stupor Bowl? That’s football, and thus out of my ken.
    Same with most other sports.
    As the years have passed, I have noticed that the external spectacles have turned into a sorrt of dependency, for players, spectators, and media alike. It’s gotten to the point that the game itself is almost an anticlimax to the hoopla – makes no difference if its the NFL or the NBA or the NCAA or the MLB or (insert alphabetical sports monolith of your choice).
    For me, when I found that I couldn’t have cared less when the White Sox – MY White Sox, they’d been when I was a boy – won everything in 2005, I knew that I’d “lost my religion”. THAT was sad.
    The highlight of that year for me remains getting to shake hands with Ed Hoch at Bouchercon.

    I watched your video interview, and when you touched on your problems with holding on to publishers –

    – I mentioned a while back that I’d gone on a bit of a post-Christmas cybershopping binge, filling up holes in my library.
    Something I’ve noticed lately, when I’ve tried to find recent titles from my midlist favorites …
    … in looking some of them up, I found that the latest books by your friends Bob Randisi (the Rat Pack series) and Ed Gorman (the Dev Conrad books) are getting their first publication by a British publisher, Severn House.
    The copyright pages say that the books are being published in Great Britain and the United States, but they’re being printed in Britain, complete with British typography and punctuation. I haven’t had time to more than skim them, but I’ve heard that some British editions of American books use British spelling; I hope that’s not the case here. I’m not sure I can handle Sinatra trying to manoevre his motorcar to the kerb before visiting a mate in gaol.
    I do have to say that Severn House puts out an attractive product, and I’m glad to have Bob and Ed up to date on my shelves, but still …
    … is this what we’ve come to?
    American detective stories – OUTSOURCED?

    Oh, and maybe you can help me with this:
    Is Bill Maher the Brent Bozell of the Left?
    Or is Brent Bozell the Bill Maher of the Right?

    Best to you and Barb and Good Old Reliable Nathan.
    And may all your cable deals come up Emmys.

  7. Edmond D. Smith says:

    I got a kick out of your sport rant. No one can credibly knock my machismo bona fides but I have never given much of a damn for sports. Makes me snooze. Gives me hives. I once wrote a column for a local magazine about what it’s like being a guy who doesn’t like sports. Everyone expects that you do. It is supposed to be the lingua Franca of he-men everywhere. To be polite I sometimes fake interest but at this point in my life I usually just tell people I dont give a rat’s rump for football; home runs just don’t interest me. ;). I kind of like getting that confused dog head tilt that usually follows. I’m worse on the subject than you are but I was feeling you, dog. LOL

    Also, I’m with you on Silver Linings Playbook. I really enjoyed it. I’ve worked with mentally ill folks for twenty years now and it did a pretty realistic job of portraying certain kinds of mental illness. Much more accurate than the far flashier A Brilliant Mind. And Jennifer Lawrence is hot as a three alarm fire, which doesn’t hurt any, either.