New Mike Hammer Novel Giveaway

April 15th, 2014 by Max Allan Collins
King of the Weeds

Last week, my offer of a dozen ARC’s (advance reading copies) of ANTIQUES CON to readers willing to do an Amazon review found all twelve spoken for within 24 hours.

This week I have a similar offer, and it just might go quicker (we will post here and on Facebook when the offered books are gone). [Note from Nate: We’re all out again. Thanks for the terrific response!] I have a dozen copies (not advance reading copies, but the real deal, and I’ll sign them) of KING OF THE WEEDS, the Mike Hammer novel going on sale May 6. Again, this is predicated on your willingness to write an Amazon review (also encouraged are Barnes & Noble reviews and blog reviews in general). Do not try to post your review before May 6 – Amazon does not allow advance reviews except from their own selected cadre.

This week our son Nathan visited Barb and me for several days, and during that time our author copies came of not only ANTIQUES CON and KING OF THE WEEDS, but Nathan’s BATTLE ROYALE (the cult classic Japanese novel of which he did a new, superior translation). Kind of amazing: every time the doorbell rang, there were more boxes of our books! (And an angel got its wings, of course.)

Battle Royale Remastered

Nathan’s presence was fortuitous in another way – he was here to participate for Barb and me (and Mrs. Nathan Collins, Abby) in the frantic on-line event known as the San Diego Con making hotel rooms available. The rooms go in under twenty minutes, and the good ones (downtown) are gone in under two minutes. Nathan took under 90 seconds to enter the required info, including a list of six hotels in order of preference, and – thanks to computer dexterity on Nate’s part that both his mother and I lack – we were rewarded with rooms at the Marriot Marina next door to the convention center. This is winning the nerd lottery. We have been attending San Diego Comic Con for many, many years…and this is the first time we’re staying at everybody’s first choice for lodgings.

Right now I am working on ANTIQUES SWAP – really dug in on it. Another week and a half, I would estimate, and my draft will be complete. Barb did such a great first draft that my work has been easy – or as easy as writing ever gets, which isn’t very.

Allow me to quickly comment on a few recent TV series and movies.

First, TV. JUSTIFIED is a great show and had a terrific season finale, setting up one last great big season with Raylon Givens and Boyd Crowder facing off one last time. ARCHER – renamed ARCHER VICE – is winding up its latest season, and it remains my favorite series on TV, just a truly demented guilty pleasure, should any of you be able to experience guilt. On Blu-ray, we watched three JACK IRISH movies, a very good hardboiled private eye show from Australia based on a novel series – beautifully shot, well-written, well-acted, with Guy Pierce excellent as the somewhat forlorn (but not despairing) lead. At least as good is the new season, the sixth, of GEORGE GENTLY with British TV superstar, Martin Shaw. These four movie-length episodes are superior to most of what you might see at the movies themselves. Set in the changing times of the late ‘60s, with a father-and-son relationship between an older and younger cop, GENTLY is as good as anything in the UK crime department with the possible exception of SHERLOCK.

Onto film. I didn’t hate CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. [Note from Nate: mild spoiler alert] In fact, there is much to like, in particular Chris Evans’ portrayal of Cap, and Scarlett Johansson in a skin-tight cat suit. Audiences are reacting very well to this one and I feel like a bit of a spoilsport not to be caught up in its spell. But every surprise is predictable, and it suffers from the oh-so-serious rendering of childish concepts Stan Lee threw off in his sleep decades ago. Guys, SHIELD is not the CIA – it’s an imitation of UNCLE, as in MAN FROM. The Winter Soldier is Bucky, and Bucky is Captain America’s Robin, fer chrissakes. You would think I would relish these movies, having grown up on Marvel (and Atlas before it). But the fun has been drained out, largely. By the way, almost all of the endless fight scenes are incoherent. When a CAPTAIN AMERICA movie’s biggest surprise is that Robert Redford is not the Red Skull, we have a problem here at the Merry Marvel Marching Society (yes, I was a charter member).

For wild action that is not incoherent, although it’s gory as hell (in a good way), catch THE RAID 2. Though it lacks the purity of the single-setting first film, RAID 2 has more fantastic action set pieces than you can shake a baseball bat at (and there will a baseball shaken). This is the rare Asian crime film that actually beats John Woo at his own game.

But the best movie I’ve seen this year – though it’s admittedly not to every taste – is THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL. I run hot and cold on Wes Anderson. Hated MR. FOX, loved MOONRISE KINGDOM. Was annoyed by DARJEELING EXPRESS, was crazy about RUSHMORE. This new film is his best, combining all of his obsessions and quirks into one very funny, very moving film, with a mindboggling cast that is unlikely to be repeated, even in another Wes Anderson film. Anderson is a novelist on screen, but one who shares the vision inside his skull with the viewer.

* * *

Here’s a blast from the past: a review of THE HISTORY OF MYSTERY.

And here’s a fun review of THE WRONG QUARRY, specifically of the audio version read by the great Dan John Miller.


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11 Responses to “New Mike Hammer Novel Giveaway”

  1. Joe Menta says:

    Darn, on the one day I couldn’t read your update the same morning it went up, I lost a chance at a new Hammer book! I didn’t put in a request for last week’s “Antiques” book because I’m only just now finishing up “Antiques Bizarre” and I want to read them all in order. Oh, well– I DID get one of your “The Wrong Quarry” giveaways, so I shouldn’t be greedy. Looking forward to seeing “The Raid 2”; I discovered the first one on DVD and really liked it. Lots of ads and promotion for this new one– It’s nice the distributors are making a real effort to get Americans to see these original Asian versions, and not just assume we’re only willing to see the upcoming Americanized remakes.

  2. Andrew Reiss says:

    I did see the update the morning it went up and I think I made the cut since I put in my reguest only an hour or so after. Since I have been a regular web site reader for only the past couple of months, this was my first chance to request an advance copy to read for a review. I have been a MAC fan for nearly 30 years but have not read any of his Mike Hammer novels (yet).I also enjoyed The Grand Budapest Hotel but I have to say that the Fantastic Mr. Fox is my favorite non-Japanese animated movie.

  3. Joe Menta says:

    Hi, Andrew– I’ve been a MAC fan for about that long, too, starting with his comic book work way back when (specifically, “Ms. Tree”). My favorites are his “quickie” series thrillers (those 200-some page adventures that get you in and out fast) featuring his hardboiled/semi-hardboiled lone creations, especially Quarry and Mallory. I like the Hammer’s a lot, too, the Heller’s when I’m in the mood for something longer and more deliberately paced, and the “Antiques” mysteries are good for an occasional change of pace (though OCD me wishes that MAC would introduce a device to make it more believable that the Borne women constantly stumble onto murders– maybe make them official police consultants or something, based on their track record for crime solving?). Anyway, enjoy your book; my signed copy of “The Wrong Quarry” holds a place of honor in the weekend cabin. :)

  4. Andrew Reiss says:

    It’s funny that you mentioned it because I to was also introduced to MAC through Ms. Tree! There are probably quite a number of his fans who discovered him this way! I remember being a big fan of the independent comics in the 80’s that besides Ms. Tree included Nexus, Badger,Scout, Grimjack, American Flagg,Elementals, Dalgoda, Concrete, Zot, Mage, the Tick and Flaming Carrot to name a few. I have read most of Quarry (have not gotten around to Wrong Quarry yet) ,but have read alot of the Heller, Nolan and Mallory books.I am curious about the Antiques books and will eventually catch up to them; maybe a good way to introduce MAC to my wife? I am a teacher which means I usually devour books in the summer besides my back yard pool and I usually start with MAC. Thank you for your comments and perhaps I’ll run into you again on this website in the future.

  5. Joe Menta says:

    I was a big reader of most of those comics, Andrew– “First Comics” was a great little line for a while there. And my wife (a teacher like you) read a couple of the “Antiques” books at my suggestion and enjoyed them, though she also liked Max’s “Hammer” book, “Lady, Go Die!” a lot, too. Check out some of Max’s “Disaster” mysteries, too– “The Titantic Murders” (both premise and story) is especially satisfying. It was one of the few Titanic-themed projects (there were MANY) that came out in the wake of the ’97 movie that was as good (arguably better) than the Cameron film. Anyway, yeah, hope to see you around. (And I hope Max doesn’t mind we’re having this extended fan conversation on his website!)

  6. Gerard says:

    The new Hammer cover looks very nice.

    JACK IRISH? Heck, I read a couple Temple books and liked’em. I also like Guy Pearce’s work. I’ll have to check those movies out.

  7. Mike Doran says:

    How To Be “Retired”:

    Yesterday, I got to re-experience the decadent joys of going to a movie on a weekday afternoon.
    (I apparently still retain enough of a “work ethic” to feel this way.)
    )Anyway, I saw CAPTAIN AMERICA 2 in 3D.
    This proved to be a learning experience for me, in several ways:

    1) From here on out, I shall avoid comic-book movies of the Neo-Gloomy school.

    2) I must also avoid movies that exceed two and a half hours in length ( a pair of kidney near-crises contributed to this ).

    3) I also have to steer clear of Spoiled Movies.
    I came in already knowing that Robert Redford was a Bad Guy; this served to underline what a lousy performance he gave (I’m not a fan of phone-ins).
    Also, while I can see the reasoning behind it, I was taken aback by how badly Redford is aging. If they ever decide to do a new DICK TRACY movie, Redford could play Putty Puss without make-up.

    I might take in GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL in a day or so, but this looks like the kind of cutesy-pie “private party” movie that I almost never enjoy (willing to make an exception here).

    Still trying to figure out what exactly to do with all this free time I’ve got now.
    You’re probably going to be on the receiving end of quite a bit of it – so consider yourself warned.

  8. Welcome back, Mike!

    Thanks to all of you for this fun, lively conversation.

    Mike, I think you will like GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL. Wes Anderson is often rightly faulted for being “twee” — and some of his movies rub me the wrong way. But it all comes together here.

  9. Andrew Lind says:

    Max, this is awesome news. I finished reading all of The Nathan Heller novels and now I am working on The Mike Hammer stuff. I’d love an autograph copy of King of the Weeds. Will you be doing a signing at Mystery Cat Books in Cedar Rapids anytime soon?

  10. Andrew Reiss says:


    I just received King of Weeds in the mail. Thank you for this autographed copy. I will start reading it and have a review on Amazon shortly after or on May 6th.I recently recommended to my Father to see The Grand Budapest Hotel and he enjoyed it (most impressed with the cast and the acting).

  11. Paul.Griffith says:

    Received the wonderful copy of KING OF THE WEEDS! Super excited to begin reading it. I have a copy coming from Amazon but, this copy will be a cherished addition to my collection since it is signed. Thank you, Thank You, Thank You! you’ve made my day!