Posts Tagged ‘Black Hats’

Gearing Up

Monday, August 17th, 2009

No major news to report — I am immersed in Nathan Heller research and will be writing in a few weeks. I also plan to start RETURN TO PERDITION (graphic novel for DC/Vertigo) this coming week.

I will be reverting to the pattern I kept to for many, many years of my career when I was writing comics more regularly and often working on a Heller novel — giving one day a week to comics (usually Wednesday) and spending the rest on the novel. I’m older, of course, and may need to make some adjustments; but I relish returning to the routine of those halcyon days, and can’t wait to get going on Heller. My research associate George Hagenauer will soon be coming to Muscatine for a two or three day session to pull all the research together, and refine the plot.

Terry Beatty came through town this week and we talked about RETURN TO PERDITION, and had our first (brief) story conference on what the MS. TREE graphic novel will be. No, we haven’t signed contracts yet, and the flurry of interest on the web (however gratifying) is probably premature.

Matthew Clemens and I got together and plotted the follow-up to next year’s Kensington serial killer thriller, YOU CAN’T STOP ME.

G.I. JOE killed at the box office on its first weekend; as I write this, I don’t know how it fared second week out. A couple of nice reviews for the books appeared on the net:

Bookgasm: G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA

Luke Reviews: G.I. JOE: ABOVE AND BEYOND

And a belated but welcome BLACK HATS review came from UK crime fiction expert Michael Carlson:

Irresistible Targets: BLACK HATS

Two movies I would heartily recommend: DISTRICT 9, a little exposition-heavy in its opening docu reels, but overall one of the best films for many months and an incredible ride with a great heart despite Peter Jackson-approved splatter; and a DVD release (BLU-RAY, too) THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD, with Colin Hanks wonderful in a show biz-tinged coming of age tale…this disappeared at the box office, so catch up with it now — John Malkovich essentially plays the Amazing Kreskin, and it’s funny and way too true. Somebody called Tom Hanks does well in a small role — he shows promise.

See you next week.

M.A.C.

Message from M.A.C. – September 19, 2008

Friday, September 19th, 2008

This is probably my record year for number of books published (and for me that’s saying something, I know). But I’m really proud of what Barb and I have accomplished of late, and want to make sure you’re aware of what’s out there already, and what’s coming.

Antiques Flee Market

In September from Kensington, “Barbara Allan” (Barb and me) will have the reprint of ANTIQUES MAUL (ISBN 978-0-7582-1194-1) out and the new “Trash ‘n’ Treasures” mystery, too: ANTIQUES FLEE MARKET (ISBN 978-0-7582-1195-8), with a Christmas theme. It’s been getting the best reviews of the series yet. These are funny cozies with an edge, and fans of my tougher stuff may be surprised by how much they’ll enjoy these…and we’ve just signed to do two more!

The Goliath Bone

Very soon Harcourt will publish the first new Mike Hammer novel in over a decade — THE GOLIATH BONE (ISBN 978-0-15-101454-5), which I completed from Mickey Spillane’s nearly finished manuscript. This is the first of at least three Hammers I will complete from manuscripts Mickey entrusted to me. To say this is an honor and a thrill is an extreme understatement. It’s also getting great advance notices. Do not miss this one!

The success of THE LAST QUARRY (which has been made into the film THE LAST LULLABY, on the festival circuit now) has led to the new prequel, THE FIRST QUARRY (ISBN 0-8439-5965-7), which Hard Case will publish in paperback in the fall. This is also getting wonderful advance reviews. This one is definitely not cozy, and could be the nastiest noir novel I’ve ever written….

I’m pleased to report that in December VCI Home Entertainment is bringing out my documentary, CAVEMAN: V.T. HAMLIN & ALLEY OOP on DVD! It’s a great package, with an extended Will Eisner interview and a panel discussion at a Des Moines Historical Museum screen of the film that features me, producer Mark Lambert and the current OOP writer and artist team, Jack and Carole Bender. CAVEMAN has been seen several times on Iowa PBS as part of the celebration of the OOP strip’s 75th Anniversary. (This means all of my indie films will now be available on DVD.)

For the past several months, Barb and I have been out in the midwest, appearing at bookstores and libraries and other events, talking about various books (including those just mentioned) and other projects. Here’s what we’ve been talking about:

Red Sky in Morning

STRIP FOR MURDER from Berkley Prime Crime — a snazzy trade paperback, a Rex Stout-style mystery that combines graphic novel elements (my longtime MS. TREE cohort Terry Beatty did the comic art), and is a lot of fun. The story is loosely based on the notorious Al Capp (Li’l Abner)/Ham Fisher (Joe Palooka) feud.

RED SKY IN MORNING (ISBN 978-0-06-089255-5) is by “Patrick Culhane” — the byline I began with the Wyatt Earp/Al Capone novel, BLACK HATS (in mass-market paperback now, ISBN 978-0-06-089254-8). This one is special to me, a book I’ve planned for decades based on my father’s experiences in the Navy in WW 2 as a young officer in charge of black sailors handling explosives in the Pacific. It’s my CAINE MUTINY, hinging on the infamous Port Chicago disaster, but there is a mystery. You may have this on the way — please don’t miss RED SKY. EQMM’s Jon Breen says it’s one of my best.

In movie/TV world, my New York Times bestseller AMERICAN GANGSTER picked up the “Scribe” for Best Novel at San Diego Comic Con from the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers. Current tie-ins of mine included THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR (ISBN 978-0-425-22313-0) and X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE (ISBN 978-0-06-168771-6), and the second CRIMINAL MINDS novel, KILLER PROFILE (ISBN 978-0-451-22382-1). The third CRIMINAL MINDS, FINISHING SCHOOL (ISBN 978-0-451-22547-4), is out in November from NAL (my fave of the 3).

X Files: I Want to Believe
Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz at Forbidden Planet

In non-literary news, I’m thrilled to report that my ’60s garage band, the Daybreakers, has been inducted into the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Over the Labor Day weekend, we appeared with seven other inductee bands in concert at Arnold’s Park on Lake Okoboji, to a packed house of over 1000 rock fans. What made this truly special was that the original line-up of the band — guitarist Mike Bridges, bassist Chuck Bunn, guitarist Dennis Maxwell and drummer Buddy Busch (and me) — were able to assemble from around the country and reunite both to be honored and to perform for the first time together since 1968. We did half an hour and, frankly, we killed — a magical set in which we took a major risk, doing mostly original material at an oldies show!

Of course, our major claim to fame nationally (make that our only claim to fame nationally) was our infamous single “Psychedelic Siren”/”Afterthoughts.” “Siren” is one of the most anthologized garage-band songs of the ’60s, currently available on a Sundazed CD called GARAGE BAND ’66: Speak of the Devil. We managed to reproduce the siren sound on stage and the crowd went nuts. We also played live, for the first time, “I Need Somebody,” an original written by our late great bandmate, Bruce Peters.

Daybreakers Hall of Fame Collection

A limited edition of 100 CDs called “THE DAYBREAKERS aka Crusin’ — The Hall of Fame Collection” was pressed for the show. This is essentially the long-out-of-print “Thirty Year Plan,” and is filled with Daybreakers/Crusin’ recordings, studio, demo, live, from 1967’s “Psychedelic Siren” to the ’90s songs from the “Mommy” movies. We have about forty of these left.

For $15 postpaid (plus $7.50 for shipping outside the U.S.), you can get a copy of “The Hall of Fame Collection.” For $25 (plus $7.50 for shipping outside the U.S.), you can get a copy signed by the entire band (there are only 15 of these).

[2013 EDIT: All options temporarily sold out! We’ll recheck our remaining stock and make a new post soon!]

We have uploaded footage of “Psychedelic Siren” from our Hall of Fame performance. Check back soon for more clips!

And Crusin’ has added Daybreaker bassist Chuck Bunn to the mix, and will be performing more in the midwest than in recent years. Stay tuned!

M.A.C.

Message from M.A.C. – February 9, 2007

Friday, February 9th, 2007

My New Year’s Resolution is to provide updates on a more regular basis. With my son Nate back from Japan after a year of study there, I may get prodded enough by him to actually make it happen….

Two new novels are coming out soon.

Black Hats

BLACK HATS will be released in late March by William Morrow in hardcover. It’s the first novel under my “open secret” penname, Patrick Culhane. This byline will be used for standalone historicals, and the second Culhane standalone is in progress right now. BLACK HATS is my long-promised Wyatt Earp novel.

Here’s a brief rundown:

The Prohibition era has just begun, the Wild West a fading memory, when Wyatt Earp — spending his golden years as a detective in Los Angeles — goes east to help the son of his late friend, Doc Holliday. Wyatt’s onetime deputy, Bat Masterson — now a bigtime sports writer — joins the defense of young Holliday and his hot new nightspot against a new breed of badmen — mobsters led by Brooklyn’s brash, brutal young Alphonse Capone. As the ’20s (and machine guns) start to roar, the lawless lawman enter a glittering world of beautiful showgirls, ruthless gangsters and highrolling gamblers — in one last glorious stand signaling the end of their legend and the beginning of Scarface Al Capone’s.

BLACK HATS is an historical thriller in the Nate Heller/ROAD TO PERDITION mode, but it’s also a lot of outright fun, sort of THE GODFATHER MEETS THE STING. I may be doing a brief tour supporting the novel, if my writing schedule allows. Stay tuned.

A Killing in Comics

A KILLING IN COMICS will be out in May from Berkley Prime Crime. With the “disaster” series coming to a sort of logical end with WAR OF THE WORLDS MURDER, I was asked by my editor to replace it with “something to do with comics.” KILLING is a prose novel but has comic art integrated within, making it a kind of hybrid, thanks to wonderful retro comics illos by my longtime MS. TREE partner, Terry Beatty, who has also done a stunning cover.

The book’s hero, Jack Starr, is not unlike Nate Heller, but his adventures with his ex-stripper stepmother Maggie Starr (who runs the small newspaper syndicate that Jack is chief troubleshooter for) are slightly less hardboiled — more Archie Goodwin than Mike Hammer. A KILLING IN COMICS is a fictionalized take on the creators of a certain superhero who were screwed by a certain comic book company. This one’s a lot of fun, too — I haven’t a better time writing a novel since I was in college.

Antiques Roadkill

The second Trash ‘n’ Treasures mystery, ANTIQUES MAUL, by “Barbara Allan” will be out in September. If you haven’t read the first one, ANTIQUES ROADKILL, it’ll be out in paperback from Kensington in July. Barb and I have had wonderful positive reaction to Brandy Borne and her eccentric mother Vivian. And the novel has received some glowing reviews, a book club sale, large print and (early stages) television interest.

Matt Clemens and I have a short story collection out together from a small press in Chicago: MY LOLITA COMPLEX AND OTHER TALES OF SEX AND VIOLENCE. We’ve had some very nice reviews, and it’s nice to officially share byline with Matthew. Matt was my assistant on the CSI novels as well as DARK ANGEL and BONES. What looks to be our final CSI, SNAKE EYES, has been out for a few months; though we’re no longer writing novels for CSI, we’re involved with other licensing for them — we’re writing two jigsaw puzzles right now, and not long ago I finished the dialogue and co-script for another CSI video game. We’ve been approached to do another novel series for a major crime TV series…we’ll see….

As I write this, a Quarry movie is being filmed in Louisiana — although the character has been renamed Price. Why? Because this is a one-shot film — I didn’t want to license the series character, in case I want to make a Quarry movie myself, or license it to Hollywood. The multi-million-dollar indie film is directed by Jeffrey Goodman, who helmed the award-winning short film A MATTER OF PRINCIPAL (available as part of SHADES OF NOIR on my DVD boxed set, BLACK BOX) and the feature version’s script is by me, although another writer did a draft after my two drafts. I also did a last minute polish, and wish the filmmakers all the best. Tom Sizemore is playing “Price.” It’s called THE LAST LULLABY, and officially is based on the short story “A Matter of Principal,” although it contains many elements of my novel, THE LAST QUARRY (which is based on my original screenplay for the film, as opposed to the revised version being shot).

On the horizon are a number of Mickey Spillane projects. Mickey had a number of books in progress at the time of his death and he told his wife Jane to give them all to me — “Max will know what to do with them.” We have a major Mike Hammer deal — involving three new Mike Hammer novels! — that will be announced in detail soon. And I’ve finished up DEAD STREET, a non-Hammer novel Mickey was working on.

This is an unusual situation. Rarely has a major mystery writer left behind so much unpublished material. Although unfinished, all of these projects have substantial Spillane material — usually half or more of each novel was written (the last Mike Hammer Mickey was working on, THE GOLIATH BONE, was 2/3’s finished). In addition, notes and sometimes endings were among the manuscript pages. Also, Mickey spoke to me about most of the stories, talking about where he was heading with them, sharing endings with me, and getting my assurance that I’d “wrap up” anything he wasn’t able to. No greater honor has ever been paid me.

M.A.C.