Posts Tagged ‘Ask Not’

Titanic Update

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

This week’s update will largely be devoted to another round of Bouchercon photos (courtesy of our Kensington editor Michaela Hamilton’s friend Eugene George) and some very nice links to reviews and articles.

Cinematic Titanic Farewell Tour

I’ll just briefly say that Barb and I spent a great weekend in St. Louis with Nate and Abby, taking in Cinematic Titanic whose live show was part of its “Bon Voyage” tour. The cast “riffed” a wonderfully terrible ‘70s movie called INVISIBLE STRANGLER in which such pros as Stephanie Powers and Elke Sommer are crushed by terrible direction and miserable dialogue, blissfully unaware of the outlandishly bad special effects with which they would share the screen. We are all huge fans of the two spin-off groups from MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 (the other being, of course, Riff Trax). Titanic, after half a dozen years, numerous live shows and a dozen DVD releases, is going on “indefinite hiatus.” There was a definite valedictory feel to the evening, with Joel Hodgson sharing a slide show that revealed new information about the influences and beginnings of MST3000 (3000 is not a year, for example, but a model number). We briefly met Joel, Frank Conniff, Mary Jo Pehl, Trace Beaulieu and Dave “Gruber” Allen, who was filling in for an ailing J. Elvis Weinstein. (Gruber played Counselor Rosso on FREAKS & GEEKS! Trace and Joel appeared on the show, and the absent Weinstein was a writer/producer on that great series.) Like the Riff Trax boys, the Cinematic Titanic cast is gracious, warm and witty when dealing with their many fans.

Bouchercon 2013
Max Allan Collins on panel

Bouchercon 2013
Matthew Clemens and Barbara Collins signing

Bouchercon 2013
Barbara and Max signing

Bouchercon 2013
Barbara on panel

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I’m thrilled to share with you this stunning rave review from Bookgasm of ASK NOT.

Here’s an article on crime comics that gives MS. TREE her due.

And this ranking of Tom Hanks’ best six movies includes a familiar title.

Here’s a nice if brief review of the TRUE DETECTIVE audio.

I was gratified by this terrific look at ONE LONELY NIGHT from a reviewer who initially disliked Spillane and Mike Hammer (based on upon reading I, THE JURY) but tried LADY, GO DIE! at my urging and got turned around. Then ONE LONELY NIGHT sealed the deal. Read the comments below, too.

Finally, the DARK ANGEL trilogy, written by Matt Clemens and me, gets a very nice appraisal here (scroll down till you see Jessica Alba).


New Books and Bouchercon

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
What Doesn't Kill Her
Lady, Go Die! Paperback

My Thomas & Mercer thriller, WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER, written with the assistance of longtime collaborator Matthew Clemens, goes on sale today. That means those of you who asked for review copies will now be available to post your reviews at Amazon.

The Top Suspense Group, of which I am a part, has an excellent WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER write-up courtesy of that excellent writer Libby Hellmann on the TSG blog today. Read it right here.

Barb and I are listening to Dan John Miller’s audio of WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER, and he really brings the book to life. Dan is heading into the studio to read ASK NOT this week – I am thrilled that the definitive audio voice of Nate Heller is back for this one.

Also available, for those you who have been waiting for a mass market paperback, is Titan’s new edition of LADY, GO DIE! This establishes a pattern for Titan reprints to come, utilizing images culled from old paperback covers (as opposed to the Hard Case approach of doing new retro covers). What do you think?

Speaking of Mike Hammer, here is a nifty review from Sons of Spade of COMPLEX 90.

Well, Barb and I did not win the Nero for ANTIQUES DISPOSAL, but we remain very pleased that we were noticed. That’s a very tough place to get nominated. Read about who won and who else was nominated at the Rap Sheet.

My thanks to readers who requested review copies of EARLY CRIMES. Some of those reviews are up at Amazon now.

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For those of you going to Bouchercon in Albany next weekend, here are the event times for Barb and me:

Friday, Sept. 20:

9:45 am signing – not sure where this will be held; probably the book room. It’s a Thomas & Mercer signing.

1:50-2:45 pm Barb/MAC panel, “I Don’t Want to Be Alone” RM 1

2:45-3:15 pm signing, “Barbara Allan” (Barb and MAX), book room

Saturday, Sept. 21:

10:20-11:15 am Barb panel, “Money or Love” RM 3

11:15-11:45 am signing, “Barbara Allan” (Barb and MAC), book room

12:30-1:25 pm MAC panel, “Famous Last Words” RM 6

1:25-1:45 pm signing, MAC, book room

Movie Immortality And More

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

What have I been up to? Besides the occasional band job and one trip after another, you mean? Well, I spent most of last month writing a spec TV pilot – I can’t say more than that, but I can say I am pleased with how it came out. I then dug into the political thriller SUPREME JUSTICE, Matt Clemens having delivered most of his story treatment (he’s still working on the third act, after some brainstorming with me when he dropped off the first two-thirds of the treatment).

Barb and I are also preparing for Bouchercon in Albany – we each are on two panels, details of which (including times) will be posted next week. (Matt’s on a panel, too.) I have a busy schedule at the con, in part because WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER debuts there. Official pub date is September 17, which means a week from when this is posted, those of you who requested review copies can finally post at Amazon.

Some nice EARLY CRIMES reviews have appeared at Amazon, some of which flow from the review copies I sent out to nine readers (yes, one copy remains to be claimed). I have had to turn down several foreign requests because of prohibitive postage.

Saw two movies this weekend and liked them both – WE’RE THE MILLERS was a very funny crime comedy (I was surprised by how much I liked it – I basically only went, by myself, because Barb kicked me out of the house while she watched tennis). Both of us loved the over-the-top and very clever RIDDICK – writers will be keenly interested in the film’s audacious structure, which shifts the point of view from anti-hero Riddick to his adversaries for the entire second act. I think Vin Diesel would make a good Hammer (he even does noir-ish voiceovers in RIDDICK).

Barb and I also watched the Criterion Blu-ray of Lubitsch’s TO BE OR NOT TO BE as well as the new Blu-ray of SHANE. I had forgotten how great both of those were. It struck me that one-time household words like Jack Benny (star of the former) and Alan Ladd (star of the latter) now each have their immortality tied up in a single film. But immortal they are.

Arguably the same can be said for Gary Cooper in HIGH NOON, and possibly Cary Grant in NORTH BY NORTHWEST. Kim Novak, recently interviewed fascinatingly on TCM by Robert Osborne, is strictly VERTIGO now, but that’s plenty. Jimmy Stewart, on the other hand, is a star who has many classic films on his list – VERTIGO, REAR WINDOW, HARVEY, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, ANATOMY OF A MURDER – and that puts him in a rarefied class. I would argue the same for John Wayne – STAGECOACH, THE QUIET MAN, THE SEARCHERS, THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (Stewart again!), RED RIVER, RIO BRAVO. There’s a pretty good list for Bogart, too, though oddly Marilyn Monroe, the movie star of stars, has arguably only one great film on her credit list (SOME LIKE IT HOT), though cases can be made for several others.

These are the kinds of thoughts that keeps an aging Baby Boomer up at night.

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Nothing feels better to a writer than having a writer you admire give you a good review. Here Ed Gorman weighs in on WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER.

And here’s another very strong WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER review.

Speaking of writers I admire, here is Bill Crider with the first review of ASK NOT.

ASK NOT gets a nice mention by Jeff Pierce in his Kirkus blog.

And Brian Drake compares me favorably to Mickey Spillane in (of all things) a discussion of John Buchan’s 39 STEPS. Be sure to scroll down for my comment.

Finally, here is ROAD TO PERDITION getting classified yet again as one of the great comics-to-movies films. It does not mention Richard Piers Rayner, however, and that’s shameful.


I’m From Hollywood

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Remember when Andy Kaufman did his wrestling schtick, and said, “I’m from Hollywood – not Mem-fis Tenn-a-see!”

Well, Barb and I and Nate are in Memphis, and so is Hollywood. The QUARRY production is starting its second of two weeks, with its stellar cast and director, and we are here to visit. It’s a split day/night shoot, so we haven’t been to set yet. We leave for Mississippi in about an hour. Don’t know what if any pics we can get, but maybe Nate will be able to attach something to this very update. [Nate here: Yep! And there’ll be more next week.]

M.A.C. with Logan Marshall-Green (Quarry)

M.A.C. with Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Joni)

M.A.C. with Stellan Skarsgård (The Broker)

Of course, I hope (who am I kidding? I’m praying) this pilot goes to series. But even if this is it, it’s a wonderful surreal event. Think about it. Quarry was created around 1971 when I was in college. And tonight I will be seeing Quarry and his wife Joni, and Broker and Quarry meeting at a working stone quarry.

As for Memphis, we have already walked Beale Street where we ate barbecue and picked up two t-shirts for me to wear in the band. Nate got a very cool pair of SUN and STAX records pins. As tourist traps go, Beale Street is likely the coolest. In one nostalgia shop they had autographed photos.

One was of Andy Kaufman.

I will report back next week.

In the meantime, great news – Recorded Books, at my prompting/cajoling/begging, has hired Dan John Miller to continue on as the reader of the Nate Heller series. Yes, very soon Dan will go in to read ASK NOT.

If you’re a Heller fan – maybe one who read the books as they came out, starting in 1983 – you really need to experience them through the artistry of Dan John Miller. He is Nate Heller the way Sean Connery is James Bond. Trust me on this one.