A Real Bookstore

September 16th, 2014 by Max Allan Collins
Centuries and Sleuths Signing 2014
Barbara Collins and Max Allan Collins with fan Andy Lind

Barb and I did a signing at one of our favorite bookstores, Centuries and Sleuths in Forest Park, Illiniois, this Sunday past. The turnout was modest but included some of our most dedicated fans – one of whom brought two cartons of doughnuts! (Thanks, Rick!) The relatively small group meant that these hardcore fans could ask all kinds of knowledgeable questions, and that was a real pleasure. Among them were Andy Lind – Cedar Rapids fan relocated to Rockford who came all that way – and Mike Doran, old TV expert par excellence and frequent poster here.

Hosts Augie and Tracy Aleksy are ever gracious, good-humored and interested in what authors have to say. We signed some stock for Augie, and since we are doing no more signings this year (and probably few to none next), you may want to pick up signed copies from Centuries and Sleuths. You can call Augie at 708-771-7243, and the e-mail is csn7419@sbcglobal.net. He has signed copies of KING OF THE WEEDS, ANTIQUES CON, THE WRONG QUARRY, and – yes – SUPREME JUSTICE. He has a good quantity of signed ANTIQUES and Hard Case Crime QUARRY titles, too.

What makes Centuries and Sleuths unique is the combination of history and mystery – not just historical mysteries, but books on history. Right now Augie is concentrating on World War One (“celebrating” its 100th anniversary), and has all sorts of non-fiction titles available on the subject, but also fiction. He’s ordering in THE LUSITANIA MURDERS, for instance, in its Thomas & Mercer paperback edition.

Walking into a bookstore like Centuries and Sleuths is a reminder of what makes book buying such a pleasure in a real store with an expert hand-selling owner who really cares. If you are lucky enough to have a good indie bookstore, particularly a mystery bookstore, within your home area, please support them.

As a guy published by Amazon, I buy a good number of books there. But I have a simple rule that I try to follow. If I spot a book in an actual store – and it’s a book of which I was unaware – I buy it there. I don’t look it up on Amazon to get the cheaper price.

I have another rule that pertains to bookstores where I do a signing – I always buy a book there. It amazes me when authors do signings at bookstores and don’t repay the venue with a purchase. Maybe not all authors like books.

* * *

Here’s a nice little write-up about COMPLEX 90.

And out of nowhere comes this fun write-up on the film THE EXPERT for which I wrote the screenplay. The writer doesn’t know the extensive backstory – such as my working for many months on a DIRTY DOZEN version for older actors, then when Jeff Speakman was cast at the last minute had to throw together a very different version – but his views are smart and entertaining.

The Kindle Taproom has a swell write-up on my favorite of the Mallory novels, A SHROUD FOR AQUARIUS.

Finally, a writer picks his five favorite Mike Hammer novels, and there are some interesting surprises, including his favorite (the undervalued SURVIVAL…ZERO!) and THE BIG BANG.


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7 Responses to “A Real Bookstore”

  1. Max Allan Collins says:

    There have been a few inquiries about how Barb and I sign “Barbara Allan” books. Barb signs “Barbara” and I sign “Allan.”

  2. Jonathan Sweet says:

    Hands down my favorite bookstore – Augie does a great job and it’s one of the things I miss most about not being in Chicago anymore.

  3. Andrew Lind says:

    It’s always great to see you two. Thank you so much for coming all the way up here from Iowa. And thanks again for always being more than willing to sign the large pile of everything I always seem to bring with me.

  4. Matt Wedge says:

    Glad you enjoyed my review of “The Expert.” I actually did know about the script’s origins as a “Dirty Dozen” type action flick for actors like Robert Forster, Fred Williamson, Charles Napier, etc., but decided to leave that out of the review since you mentioned that aspect in the interview that I linked to. I’d still actually like to see that original idea on the screen. It could be fun.

  5. Sean Kelly says:

    Wish I could’ve been there for the signing, but Japan is very nice right now. I did tell my mom about the signing, so maybe there’ll be a present in my Christmas stocking.

  6. Andy says:

    Do people every think you’re Elton John?

  7. Max Allan Collins says:

    Thanks for all these comments. Andy, I have gotten the Elton John thing on an almost daily basis for decades. I don’t love it.