Scarface and the Mickey Centenary

August 21st, 2018 by Max Allan Collins

By the time you read this, Brad Schwartz and I will have wrapped up our mini-tour of the Chicago area for Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago. (“Barbara Allan” was along, too, by the way of Barb and myself.)

The reviews for Scarface continue to be strong, and several excerpts and other things Brad and I prepared to promote the non-fiction work are out there as well. J. Kingston Pierce provides links to some at his great site, the Rap Sheet, right here (scroll down for it).

The Rick Kogan Chicago Tribune review – which likes the book but hates my “unseemly” introduction – is getting wide play. That Mr. Kogan dislikes Brad and me criticizing the works that distorted both Ness and Capone – and we are specific about why – is irritating, but probably not a bad thing. Controversy, particularly generated by an otherwise favorable review, can fuel sales.

And we like that.

The Spillane centenary celebration rolls on with two previously unpublished short story publications. The Mystery Tribune, available in both print and e-book, is a high-end, beautifully produced digest-style magazine that showcases the Spillane/Collins story, “The Punk,” with lead position and an evocative cover. Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine has the Spillane/Collins story, “The Big Run,” with a mention on its cover – always a thrill to be in EQMM.

The stories could not be more different. “The Punk” is a rare crime story for Mickey as it does not feature a protagonist in the Hammer mode; instead, it’s a gritty tale of the last night in the life of a heroin addict. “The Big Run,” however, is a adventurous yarn steeped in the heroics of Spillane’s world with a larger-than-life protagonist and a similarly larger-than-life love interest.

Both of these stories were originally written as TV shows. “The Big Run” was supposed to air on the classic series Suspense, as a live production, but for some reason never saw the light of day – despite a scheduled airing date and time, and storyboards by Spillane crony, George Wilson (he did the cover of the famous Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer Story record album). “The Punk,” a longer script, appears to have been prepared for the aborted Mickey Spillane Presents series that Mickey and Gene Roddenberry were planning, with Mickey hosting, a la Hitchcock. The Hammer TV producers (of the McGavin series) blocked that anthology series.

As you may recall, I have completed eight Mike Hammer stories from Spillane fragments, which spawned the collection A Long Time Dead. I now have three non-Hammer stories written and published, and am on my way to a second Spillane short story collection. It’s possible several “new” Hammer yarns will be included, working from the last few Spillane fragments about his signature detective.

Meanwhile, the comic book mini-series, serializing the Mike Hammer graphic novel The Night I Died rolls along. I just proofed the collected version, too. And an expanded version of Primal Spillane, collecting Mick’s comic book filler stories (edited by Lynn Myers and me), is due to come out soon.

As for “The Punk,” you can order the Mystery Tribune issue as an e-book from the usual suspects (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.). While I have a contributor’s copy of the physical book, proving it exists, the magazine itself is out of stock at the Mystery Tribune site (and is rather hard to find there, inexplicably).

“The Big Run” is in the September/October 2018 issue, either on the stands now or soon to be.

* * *

Here is the transcript of the Reddit session that Brad and I engaged in recently. Some fun questions, and worth a look.

Finally, here’s a Scarface and the Untouchable interview with me by a knowledgeable interviewer.

As for the Chicago trip, it was great seeing all of you! Or I mean, it will be great seeing all of you…or something….

M.A.C.

Scarface and the Untouchable AMA

August 16th, 2018 by Max Allan Collins

My Reddit Q&A (AMA) with A. Brad Schwartz is now live!

Scarface and the Untouchable – At Large! Chicago Signings

August 14th, 2018 by Max Allan Collins

Yes, at long last Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago by A. Brad Schwartz and myself is hitting the bookstores the very day this update first appears.

Brad and I (and Barb) will be appearing at two major Chicago bookstores and another at the bookstore in Dick Tracy’s hometown – Woodstock, Illinois, starting with the latter.

Saturday August 18:
Read Between the Lynes (Website)
From 4PM till…?
111 E. Van Buren St
Woodstock, IL 60098 (Map)

Sunday August 19:
Centuries & Sleuths (Website)
2:00PM till…?
19 Madison St
Forest Park, IL 60130 (Map)

Monday August 20:
Anderson’s Bookshop (Website)
7 PM till…?
123 W Jefferson Ave
Naperville, IL 60540 (Map)

This mini-tour will be the only joint event by Brad and me in support of the book during its opening weeks. Brad heads back to Princeton in his unending crusade to diminish me by making me call him “Dr. Schwartz” (who, let’s face it, sounds like a dermatologist). We’ll be doing some solo events thereafter, and if the media wises up and books us on a national TV show, we’ll likely do that together.

We are also set to appear on the WGN Morning News on Monday morning, but exactly when I can’t say (we arrive at 8:30 AM).

We’ll also be doing a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) on r/books this Thursday at 1PM EST. Keep an eye on my facebook page for a link.

The Centuries and Sleuths signing will include Barb, as “Barbara Allan”-bylined novels (Antiques Wanted in particular) will be available. This is the first joint signing Barb and I have done in some time.

Centuries and Sleuths is where Brad and I first met, when he came to a signing after seeing “Untouchable Life” live in Des Moines. By the way, work progresses on the Blu-ray of the film version. You can order it here.

In the meantime, come and see us (Mike Doran – I’m talking to you) (but no questions requiring a photographic memory of the entire run of TV Guide to answer).


Hardcover:
E-Book: Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes
Digital Audiobook: Amazon Google Play Kobo

The reviews thus far have been stellar, including the Chicago Tribune, where Rick Koganwhere Rick Kogan – a well-known writer and TV personality in Chicago – loved the book but hated my introduction. Why? Because I (with Brad’s help) singled out the authors (and one screenwriter) whose offenses had much to do with us feeling another book about Capone and Ness needed writing. We were very specific about what we were correcting, but Mr. Kogan found my intro “unseemly.”

Here’s what he wrote, along with links to other favorable reviews (the Kogan link is mid-page).

Now, just for fun, read what I wrote that offended Mr. Kogan, available thanks to the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine blog.

Others reviewing the book in the days just ahead of publication include USA Today, which makes us one of the top books of the week that they recommend. (Omarosa’s Trump memoir gets the top spot, though.)

Here’s a really nice review courtesy of Mystery People.

This one isn’t a review, but uses our book as a sort of tour guide to track Capone’s real-life hangouts.

* * *

Now in non-Scarface and the Untouchable news, here’s another San Diego Comic Con interview with me, on the new Mike Hammer serialized graphic novel from Hard Case Crime. It’s one of the better interviews, I think.

Finally, Gaping Blackbird continues to review the early Quarry novels, and very intelligently.

M.A.C.

Black Hats & A Book Giveaway!

August 7th, 2018 by Max Allan Collins

[Note from Nate: The giveaway is over! Thank you for participating!] The book giveaway this week is for the upcoming Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago, which will be published August 14. I have five finished copies and five bound galley proofs (ARC’s). The first five to respond get the finished book, the next five the bound galley. Winners are requested to post a review at Amazon, a blog, Barnes & Noble or any combination thereof.

This week’s update, however, is mostly about Black Hats, a new edition of which has just been published by Brash Books. For the first time, the book has my real byline, and not “Patrick Culhane.”

Brash has done a spiffy job on it, and I hope to get some copies from them for another book giveaway like the one above. Brash is also going to be bringing out Red Sky in Morning under my preferred title, and that will have the Max Allan Collins byline for the first time, too.

Black Hats is a good companion piece to Scarface and the Untouchable, because it’s about young Al Capone encountering old Wyatt Earp. Though their meeting is fanciful, the research for the book was on the order of the Heller saga and it is one of my favorite novels, and one that continues to attract very serious Hollywood attention.

Harrison Ford has been interested in playing Earp pretty much ever since the novel first came out, and he is still part of the mix – nothing signed-sealed-delivered, mind you. But that he has maintained this continued interest in the novel is exciting.

That’s all I can say at the moment, but if you’ve never read this one, send for the Brash Books edition, please. You will not find it in many book stores – the e-book will drive this one, though the “real” book that Brash has produced is handsome indeed.


Paperback:
E-Book: Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

How did the byline “Patrick Culhane” come to appear on both Black Hats and Red Sky? Forgive me if you’ve heard this one, but I believe it’s one of the truly remarkable fuck-ups of my career, and one of the rare ones that I didn’t cause myself.

Shortly after Road to Perdition was a huge movie and the novelization made the USA Today bestseller list and the graphic novel made the New York Times bestseller list, some guy at Border’s (remember them?) told my then-publisher that he was a huge M.A.C. fan, but could sell more M.A.C. books if only the name M.A.C. wasn’t on the cover. I was too well-known, it seems, as a guy who wrote series novels. He promised huge sales if we did some standalone thrillers under a new byline.

Oddly, my real identity was never hidden. It’s prominently revealed on the jackets of both books.

I did not want to do this. My editor stopped short of insisting that I go along with it, and my agent suggested alienating my editor was a really bad idea. And Border’s was really, really powerful, right? So I came up with “Patrick Culhane,” the “Patrick” after my mother Patricia and “Culhane” as a Collins variant.

Understand that I hate pseudonyms. I fought to have my name go on my movie and TV tie-ins, figuring (correctly) that having my byline on things like Saving Private Ryan, Air Force One, American Gangster, CSI and so on would only building my audience. All of those titles either made the New York Times list or USA Today’s or both.

The only time I used a pseudonym was on the novelization I Love Trouble, because it was going to be out at the same time as another novelization, plus the movie stunk. I used Patrick again, but also my mother’s maiden name, Rushing, which seemed apt for a book written on a crazy deadline.

I use my name on all but the above exceptions because I am proud of my work, and I want to keep myself honest. I don’t want to hide. I want to acquire readers, not run away from them.

Anyway, I am very pleased that Brash Books – the people who brought you the complete Road to Perdition prose novel, something I thought I would never see – are restoring my name to two of my favorite books. They will also soon be publishing Red Sky under my preferred title, USS Powderkeg.

Now the only thing still unpublished is my original, very loose adaptation of the Dick Tracy movie, in which I fixed all its problems and sins. Getting that in print, however, is a real long shot….

* * *

The advance buzz on Scarface and the Untouchable keeps building.

The Strand’s blog has published a list by my co-author and me looking at ten surprising facts about Al Capone and Eliot Ness.

We are one of the Saturday Evening Post’s top ten late summer reads, for example.

And the History News Network has published an article that Brad and I wrote about the Trump/Manafort/Mueller parallels.

Mystery People showcases us, too.

Out of the blue, here’s an interesting look at Quarry’s List, the second Quarry novel, with lots of comments from readers.

The graphic novel, Quarry’s War, gets a boost here, in a somewhat surprising context. [Note from Nate: This is so bizarre.]

On the Mike Hammer/Spillane front, here’s an interview I did at San Diego Comic Con a few weeks ago.

And another.

Finally, here is a terrific, smart review from the smart, terrific J. Kingston Pierce about Killing Town.

M.A.C.

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