When the Rain Comes

July 15th, 2014 by Max Allan Collins

My band Crusin’ appeared Sunday evening at the Pearl City Plaza here in Muscatine, Iowa. We are on an occasionally interrupted hiatus that has shifted our twenty-four or so bookings a year to a mere four or five. This gig was a concert, an hour-and-a-half of ‘60s (and some later) rock plus a few originals, scheduled to be performed outside on a large patio overlooking the Mississippi River. The concert was to begin at six p.m., and we started setting up around four on one of the most beautiful afternoons this stingy summer has offered up. The nation has been suffering extreme weather, but Iowa is an old hand at that – this summer so far, with hell-and-hailstone thunderstorms and more or less constant tornado warnings, has tested our mettle, though.

Fifteen minutes before start time on this lovely day, dark clouds began rolling in. So did our audience, nearly two-hundred hearty souls lugging their own lawn chairs and such. The sky spattered and spit some, but we decided to go on with the show anyway. Come rain or come shine, as the great Johnny Mercer said.

During the third number, the sky exploded and we frantically began tearing down equipment, while trying not to get electrocuted, and moved inside the building, which was essentially a narrow atrium not designed for a concert. The audience thinned by half but was still considerable, and seated themselves on a stairway or on the chairs they’d brought, while many helped us with our equipment. Everyone was fairly soaked.

We dried things off with paper towels, set up only half of the P.A. and did a few other things to accommodate the smallish space. The result was an intimate, almost cabaret-like feel, and we completed the concert to a warm, ever-ready to applaud audience. It was one of those funny situations, a disaster that turned into something special and memorable. We performed very well, particularly considering we hadn’t played for several months (but for a brush-up rehearsal a few days before). Just the kind of gig I long for, the opposite of the occasionally dreary barroom appearances we’d drifted into the last year or so.

Crusin 2014
* * *

So what I am up to, where writing is concerned? If you follow these updates, you’ll know I wrote one novel after another from January through June. I’m due a breather.

Here’s the kind of breather you get around the Collins domicile: I’ve written an introduction for a volume of the CRIME DOES NOT PAY comics collections for Dark Horse; co-wrote a sample chapter of the next ANTIQUES novel (ANTIQUES FATE) with Barb; plotted and then wrote a synopsis with Barb of the next ANTIQUES novella (ANTIQUES ST. NICKED); wrote an essay on vengeance as a theme in thrillers for an upcoming Amazon mystery/crime site (shockingly, Mickey Spillane comes up); and am preparing to write an intro for a new publication of the three Jack Carter novels by the late great UK writer, Ted Lewis – I’m doing JACK CARTER’S LAW, the prequel to GET CARTER (aka JACK’S RETURN HOME).

I’m pleased and at least mildly astonished to report that SUPREME JUSTICE continues to ride high on the Kindle bestseller list. We have racked up a dizzying 1315 reviews and a four-star average. The sniping from some far right readers continues and maybe helps fuel interest. We are two weeks past the Amazon promo event that propelled us, and are still #1 in Legal thrillers and #2 in Political thrillers. We’re at #37 in Kindle books overall, #14 in Mystery and #10 in Thrillers.

I am in discussions with Amazon to do two more Joe Reeder/Patti Rogers thrillers. Matt Clemens and I want to do a trilogy with one book per each branch of government.

I recently gave my first interview on SUPREME JUSTICE and the left/right controversy it’s spawned. Read it right here.

Also, Matt and I were asked to write a “Day in the Life of Joe Reeder” for Dru’s Booking Musing.

Another nice review can be seen here.

Here’s a mixed review but an opportunity to win a free copy of the book.

And here’s a short but sweet SJ review.

The film version of ROAD TO PERDITION continues to rank high on lists of comic-book movies – here we’re one of the best five.

And finally here’s a nice KING OF THE WEEDS review from the always interesting At the Scene of the Crime site.


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8 Responses to “When the Rain Comes”

  1. Mike Doran says:

    The Chicago Weather Prayer:
    God in Heaven … pick one season and stay with it a while, OK?

    Here in Chicagoland, we’ve been having a run of both kinds of tropical weather: hot and humid, followed by rainy and windy – often the same day – so I obviously sympathize, especially when you’re doing an outdoor job.

    Nothing much new at my end, beyond marking time toward your next visit to Centuries & Sleuths (it would be nice to know just how much time I’m marking … ) .

    Here’s hoping on the Joe Reeder 3-book deal – I guess that’s the publishing equivalent of “six seasons and a movie” these days.
    (Mind you, that wouldn’t be bad either – you wouldn’t happen to have a short list of white-haired actors on hand for the Reeder part, would you?)

    Anyway, best wishes as usual to you and yours – and always remember to take an umbrella, just in case …

  2. Thanks for this, Mike. Centuries and Sleuths will probably be a while, since no books are out till next year.

    The white hair was a kind of nod to Shell Scott, by the way….

  3. Mike Doran says:

    Ummm … not to be a nit-picker or anything like that …

    … see, there’s WRONG QUARRY and ANTIQUES CON and SUPREME JUSTICE, all of which came out after your last C&S visit, so I haven’t gotten them signed by you and Barb yet …

    Nertz and double nertz.

    Thing is I just miss seeing you guys in person.
    When you come to town, it’s the highlight of my year (and especially lately, I need all of those I can get … ).

    I’m whining, aren’t I?

    Enough already.
    Come when you can.

    (But if I strain something lifting all those unsigned books … )

  4. Joe Menta says:

    A trilogy, huh, with each one based on a branch of government? Okay, so we have “Supreme Justice”… does that mean we can look forward to “Executive Justice” and “Congressional Justice”? That last title sounds kind of dull, so I’ll keep my thinking cap on a while longer.

  5. Joe, the titles are STATE OF THE UNION and THE EIGHTH MAN (at least right now, anyway). No repetition of SUPREME, though it does sound like something I’d do….

  6. Joe Menta says:

    Ah, cool. I guess using either “Supreme” or “Justice” in the other titles wouldn’t have made much sense, as both are court-centric words.

  7. Jonathan Sweet says:

    Just finally got started with Supreme Justice over the weekend and blasted through about half of it. Very enjoyable and glad it’s getting you the attention you deserve. Still partial to Heller above everything else, but this a nice departure.

  8. Max Allan Collins says:

    There’s no question that SUPREME JUSTICE is more of a mainstream thriller than is the norm for me. It’s very much in the vein of what Matt Clemens and I did in the CSI, BONES and CRIMINAL MINDS novels, and our two Harrow novels for Kensington. I think it’s a solid performance but I think the series will improve and grow as it goes along.