Posts Tagged ‘Appearances’

Mystery Convention Foto-Fest

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

This is almost an all-photo update.

Barb and I arrived back home late afternoon from the Dallas Bouchercon. We were there only for Friday (including travel) and Saturday, leaving Sunday (today) early. We had not attended the last two because of the New Orleans medical emergency at home that sent me back as soon as I arrived, and last year’s Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame honor at Arnold’s Park, which had us cancelling our planned attendance to the Alaska B’Con.


M.A.C. presenting the Best Novel “Shamus” at the Private Eye Writers of America awards banquet.

Many people, aware of my health issues of a few years ago, assumed I didn’t attend for several years because of that; and I received many nice but kind of amusing compliments about how good I looked (code for: gee, you’re not dead!).

Because of the briefness of our visit, we both had jam-packed schedules. Barb and I did a Kensington signing and I did a Tor/Forge signing – where advance reading copies of Do No Harm were given out! I hadn’t even been able to confirm that there would even be ARC’s of Do No Harm, so I was amazed and pleased to see them. Barb and I did a signing after her panel, and I did one after mine, with Matt Clemens also there to sign our collaborative works.


M.A.C. signing at Bouchercon. Matt Clemens standing.

Barb did a great all-female panel (except for moderator William Kent Krueger), equally divided between cozy writers and thriller/standalone writers. Barb, who was battling a bad cough (doing better now), didn’t show it and put in what I thought was her strongest panel appearance ever – articulate and funny. She was in rough enough shape (though not to the naked eye) that I was prepared to come up and take her place if she had to flee. But somehow she pulled it off.


Kate Moretti, Cathi Stoler, Barbara Ross, Vanessa Lillie, Barbara Collins, Sherry Harris, William Kent Krueger.

Immediately after Barb’s panel (both were Saturday afternoon), I was on a panel about the history of the Private Eye Writers of America and also the first time each panelist came to a Bouchercon. I shared the stage with some great writers who are also pals of mine, including moderator Bob Randisi, my longest friendship in the writing game, going back to 1973 when he was the first person I ever met who had read my books but wasn’t a relative.


Bob Randisi, M.A.C., S.J. Rozan on the Private Eye Writers of America panel.

Robert Randisi. Max Allan Collins Jr. SJ Rozan Reed Farrel Coleman Michael Sears. A legendary group of P.I. writers, discussing the PWA and Bouchercon (according to the Facebook caption!). Credit Chad Williamson.

I am embarrassed and a bit unhappy that I was only able to say quick hellos or exchange a few brief words with my many friends at Bouchercon, but my limited stay at the event and my impossible schedule made that inevitable. I did manage to spend some quality time with Lee Goldberg of Brash Books; Grace Doyle, Liz Pearsons and Sarah Shaw of Thomas & Mercer; and Micheala Hamilton of Kensington. Among other things, I conned meals out of all of them, who happen to be fun people to be around, as well as colleagues in the writing game who help keep me in business.


Bob Randisi (founder of the Private Eye Writers of America) and M.A.C. at the Shamus awards.

M.A.C.

Our Bouchercon Schedule

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

Here’s a photo of yrs truly at San Diego Con in 1982 chatting with the great Hank Ketcham, creator of Dennis the Menace, at the Inkpot Awards (I won one and so did he). It was taken by my old pal Alan Light, and has absolutely nothing to do with Bouchercon, other than I will no doubt again be mixing with my betters.

Barb and I haven’t attended a Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, in four years. Health issues were a part of it, and previous commitments kept us away in some instances.

Most frustratingly, in 2016, when I’d recovered well from my heart surgery, including a stroke on the operating table, I managed to get pertussis (whooping cough) and so did Barb. She had a worse case of it and, with me out of the woods, she sent me off to New Orleans alone for Bouchercon XLVII.

When I got in at the airport in that city, I almost immediately got a call from a neighbor saying Barb had been rushed to the Emergency Room, fighting for breath. I immediately booked a flight home – meaning I spent almost all of that day either going to the airport, in the air, in layovers, and going back home again (picked up by those kind neighbors). So I was in New Orleans for about an hour and fifteen minutes. I was glad I returned, because Barb had a rough weekend and she needed me. She recovered well, but it was a nasty one.

Prior to that, Barb and I went almost every year to Bouchercon. We made both Long Beach and Raleigh. Those were the last times I saw my pal Bill Crider, who this year’s con is rightfully honoring. He is sorely missed.

Now, with luck, both halves of Barbara Allan will be in Dallas next weekend. The con starts on Thursday, October 31. But that’s Halloween and we take that seriously in this suspenseful household, so we won’t be arriving till Friday morning.

Here is our schedule:

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 1

Kensington Books signing (Barbara Allan), 2 – 3 PM

Forge Books signing (Max Allan Collins) 3:00 – 3:30

NOTE: Both are, I believe, in the book room.

Shamus Awards Dinner, 6:30 PM at Hattie’s, 418 N. Bishop Avenue. I am not nominated (boo!) but I will be presenting the Best Novel Award (yay!).

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 2

Barbara Collins, Such a Good Family, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, Reunion F

Max Allan Collins, Private Eye Writers of America, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM, Landmark C

I have had no official notification yet, but the usual order of business is a signing following each panel. Assuming that to be the case, I will be with Barb at the Barbara Allan signing, and she will be with me at the M.A.C. signing. If I can corral Matthew Clemens to join us at the latter signing, I will; in any event, Matt will be there, so bring you Collins/Clemens books for signing.

M.A.C.

Dispatch From the Bunker

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

The audio book of Scarface and the Untouchable, I am pleased to report, is up for a Voice Arts Award, thanks in no small part to narrator Stefan Rudnicki…assisted by two other narrators, A. Brad Schwartz and Max Allan Collins, under Stefan’s direction.

For those of you attending Bouchercon, look to see Barb and me there, Friday through Sunday. The con begins on Thursday, but that’s Halloween, and my four year-old grandson will be in costume, seeking candy, which I do not intend to miss.

Next week I’ll give you the breakdown on our panels and signings (Barb and I each have a panel appearance).

I have been very much burrowed in on the next Mike Hammer novel, Masquerade for Murder. It will be out next March. This is the second Hammer I’ve written from a Spillane synopsis, with only two scraps of Mickey’s prose to work into the book (including the opening, however). That’s an intimidating prospect, but I think it came out well.

The novel takes place in the late ‘80s and is a follow-up (not a sequel) to Mickey’s The Killing Man. Like the preceding Spillane/Collins Hammer novel, Murder, My Love, the synopsis may have been written by Mickey as a proposed TV episode for the Stacy Keach series. This means I had fleshing out to do, and I hope I’ve done Mike and the Mick justice.

I am working with a new editor at Titan, Andrew Sumner, who knows Hammer well – he was the skilled interviewer for one-on-one interviews with me at the last two San Diego Comic Cons. Andrew knows American pop culture inside out, and this is good news for me and the series. I will, very soon, be preparing a proposal for three more Hammer novels – two of which have considerably more Spillane material to work from.

The 75th anniversary of Mike Hammer looms in 2022, and we are already planning for it. With luck, the long-promised Collins/James Traylor biography of Spillane will be part of that. There will be a role for Hard Case Crime in the mix, too, and possibly even another graphic novel, this one based on a classic Spillane yarn.

For Masquerade for Murder, I spent a lot of time with The Killing Man, assembling typical Spillane phrases, settings and passages for reference and inspiration. I try to incorporate a Spillane feel, particularly in descriptions of weather and NYC locations; but I stop short of writing pastiche – I am less concerned with imitating Mickey’s style and more concerned with getting Hammer’s character down.

It’s somewhat challenging positioning each novel in the canon in proper context. Hammer was a shifting character – shifting with Mickey’s own age and attitudes – and I want each book to reflect where the writer and his character were when Mickey wrote the material I am working from. The last two have been later Hammer – specifically, late 1980s. Next time, assuming I land another three-book contract, I will be writing a story set around 1954. I look forward to that, because it’s the younger, rougher and tougher and more psychotic Hammer that many of us know and love.

I also have gone over the galley proofs of the new Heller, Do No Harm, also out in March (as is Girl Can’t Help It!) (yikes)! It was written a while ago and I was pleased to view it from a distance – and pleased to find I liked it very much.

I hope you’ll agree.

You didn’t have anything else to do next March but read three books by me, did you? You can take April off and dive back in, in May for Antiques Fire Sale.

* * *

Here’s a nice, extensive look at Ms. Tree.

Wild Dog has his own Wikipedia entry now – a good one.

One of our best contemporary crime fiction critics and historians, J. Kingston Pierce, has included The Titanic Murders in a fun look at disaster mysteries.

The late, great Paul Newman is lauded in this write-up about the film of Road to Perdition.

And finally, that man Jeff Pierce is back with a fine piece about the subject of last week’s update, actor Robert Forster.

M.A.C.

A Heller of a Timeline

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Okay, so the new Nate Heller novel isn’t out till next March. What’s taking you so long to order your copy? Here’s a peek at the cover, which I like quite a bit.


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

My old pal Tony Isabella, the gifted comics writer who created Black Lightning, wondered a week or so ago if I had ever put together a time line, so that the Nate Heller stories could be read in chronological order. A fan did something along those lines, still posted here, but not updated (and unfortunately that loyal fan has passed away). So I have made an attempt at answering Tony’s request.

Keep in mind that math is somewhat involved here, and I am only famous where math is concerned for being pitifully simple-minded in its regard. Over the years it’s been a real effort not have Nate Heller in two places at the same time. I present this list more as a deterrent than a suggestion, because it demonstrates what a difficult and perhaps not useful process reading the Heller memoirs in order would be.

The major problem is that a number of the novels often begin in one year and jump to another in a second, and even another in a third section. The novels also often have flashback chapters, and I have only scratched the surface where the latterday things Heller does have been made part of this.

Do No Harm – did I mention it comes out in March of next year, and that you can order it now? – has two sections, one taking place in 1957, another in 1966. That’s why to read the Heller memoirs in chronological order, you have to shuffle the deck just so. To make the job possible, and yet harder, for you, I have included the novellas and short stories.

What this chronology mostly demonstrates is that Heller has been a busy boy, and so has his pappy.

The timeline of the Nathan Heller memoirs:

Stolen Away – March 4 – April 18 1932
Damned in Paradise – later April – May 1932
True Detective – December 19 – December 22 1932
“Kaddish for the Kid” (short story) – summer 1933
“The Blonde Tigress” (short story) – August 1933
“Private Consultation” (short story) – December 1933
True Crime – July 13 – September 1 1934
Flying Blind – March 11 – May 16, 1935
Blood and Thunder – August 30 – September 12, 1935
“The Perfect Crime” (short story) – December 1935
“House Call” (short story) – January 1936
Stolen Away – March 13 – April 4 1936
“Marble Mildred” (short story) – June 1936
Blood and Thunder – October 26 – November 10 1936
Flying Blind – March 17 – July 19, 1937
“The Strawberry Teardrop” (short story) – August 1938
The Million-Dollar Wound – November 6 – 12 1939
“Scrap” (short story) – December 1939
“Natural Death, Inc.” (short story) – March 1940
Flying Blind – May 6 – June 4 1940
Majic Man – September 1940
“Screwball” (short story) – May 1941
The Million-Dollar Wound – November 1942
The Million-Dollar Wound – February 2 – March 20 1943
Carnal Hours – July 1943 – approximately September 1943
“That Kind of Nag” (short story) – May 1945
Neon Mirage – June 24 – August 21 1946
Neon Mirage – December 15 – June 20 1947
Angel in Black – January 1947
“Unreasonable Doubt” (short story) – March 1947
Dying in the Post-war World (novella) – July 1947
Majic Man – March – May 1949
“Shoot-Out On Sunset” (short story) – late summer 1949
Better Dead – May 1, 1950
Chicago Confidential – September – November 1950
Strike Zone (novella) – August 1951
Better Dead – March 26 – June 1953
Kisses of Death (novella) – June 1953
Better Dead – November 1953
Kisses of Death (novella) – February 1954
Do No Harm – 1957
Target Lancer – Fall 1960
Strike Zone (novella) – June 1961
Bye Bye, Baby – May 23 – August 1962
Ask Not – Late summer 1962
Target Lancer – October 25 – November 29 1963
Ask Not – September 1964
Do No Harm – 1966
Flying Blind – February 1970
Target Lancer – a few days before Christmas, 1973

My recommended reading order to give you a roughly chronological read, without whiplash, while letting each case finish itself:

True Detective
Stolen Away
Damned in Paradise
True Crime
Blood and Thunder
Flying Blind
The Million-Dollar Wound
Carnal Hours
Neon Mirage
Angel in Black
Majic Man
Chicago Confidential
Better Dead
Bye Bye, Baby
Target Lancer
Ask Not
Do No Harm

But my preference? I think my development as a writer (and perhaps my inevitable decline) will be better observed by reading the novels in the order I wrote them:

True Detective
True Crime
The Million-Dollar Wound
Neon Mirage
Stolen Away
Carnal Hours
Blood and Thunder
Damned in Paradise
Flying Blind
Majic Man
Angel in Black
Chicago Confidential
Bye Bye, Baby
Target Lancer
Ask Not
Better Dead
Do No Harm

The two collections – novellas in Triple Play and the short stories in Chicago Lightning – can be read any time, and in any order, you choose. You’re welcome!

Gathering this material reminds me how much I like these books. This is not to say I love every turn of phrase or twist of plot. But I am proud of what they accomplish – specifically looking at these famous crimes and mysteries in a fresh, in-depth manner while creating a private detective who I think can stand shoulder to shoulder with Marlowe and Hammer. That’s obviously immodest, but I often think of what my late friend, Stu Kaminsky, said about his Hollywood private eye, Toby Peters: “I really like those books,” he told me. “I have fun doing them.”

I have fun writing Heller, too, although the research has been brutally hard. Writing Do No Harm, I could only think back to the pre-Google days of many trips to libraries to look at microfiche and bound copies of old magazines, the countless trips to used bookstores to search out ancient magazines and forgotten volumes. On second thought, I kind of miss that….

Not really.

* * *

Here is a terrific review of Girl Most Likely in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine:

**** Max Allan Collins, Girl Most Likely, Thomas & Mercer, $15.95. Chief Krista Larson of Galena, Illinois is the youngest female police chief in the country. The night of her ten-year high-school reunion, a beautiful former classmate is stabbed to death. Krista’s father, a retired Iowa detective, makes a connection between this murder and the stabbing of another classmate in Florida several months earlier. Father and daughter and the small Galena police force interview suspects and follow clues to catch the killer. Girl Most Likely reminded me of Longmire crossed with Grosse Point Blank fitted into a closed-circle plot worthy of Agatha Christie.

My co-author, A. Brad Schwartz, appeared at the Mississippi Book Festival in support of our Scarface and the Untouchable. Here’s the true crime panel, on which he did a terrific job.

M.A.C.