Posts Tagged ‘Crusin’’

Navigating the Weeds

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Let me wish everyone a safe and fun Fourth of July. I will be playing an outdoor gig with Crusin’ in Muscatine (the Brew, five p.m. till 9 p.m.) and I am hopeful the current decent weather will hold up. Last year, playing a similar gig on the Fourth in a heat wave damn near killed me.

This will be a short update, because I am very deep in the writing of KING OF THE WEEDS, which is a difficult but rewarding project. I hope to finish the novel before San Diego Comic Con, which comes up soon (July 17 – 21), where I’ll be meeting with the Titan folks to discuss the possibility of three more Hammer novels from shorter Spillane fragments.

What makes this one especially tricky is that Mickey started the book twice, with one version containing only one of the two major plot strands. Then he combined the manuscripts, but when he set the book aside to do THE GOLIATH BONE instead, he had not yet done the carpentry to merge the two versions. This makes for a dizzying task as in most cases even the names of characters are different between versions, and some scenes appear twice, accomplished in two different ways. This means I have to make choices as well as weave and blend material together, in addition to adding my own connective tissue and input.

But it’s a most interesting book, conceived by Mickey as the final Mike Hammer novel (much more overtly than he did in his GOLIATH BONE manuscript). It’s not as rip-roaring as LADY, GO DIE! or COMPLEX 90, but it should be very strong.

More on it later.

Quick movie recommendation: THE HEAT is a very funny buddy cop movie with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, populated by any number of funny people in character parts.

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Here’s our first WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER review. Just a reminder that this thriller, which Matt Clemens worked on with me, comes out in September.

Here is a lovely valentine to Mickey Spillane with some nice nods to my work on the unfinished novels.

And this terrific COMPLEX 90 review is well worth a look.

M.A.C.

Coming Down The Pike

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

This will be another fairly short update, because I am coming down the pike on the new Jack and Maggie Starr mystery, SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT. I have about a week and maybe a day or two left, assuming all goes well.

I admit to it being a strange experience, because at Berkley Prime Crime, I had to keep myself somewhat in check where the ol’ sex and violence is concerned – the series was conceived to be my Rex Stout tribute, so that seemed in keeping, though Rex did more in the sex and violence department than many seem to notice or recall (or I should say Archie Goodwin did). But writing this for Hard Case, my concern is the opposite. Is it tough and sexy enough? Can I push the envelope a little, and do things Prime Crime would have bridled at, without violating the integrity of the series? We’ll see.

One fun thing: the Des Moines Register called me (well, a reporter did – the paper itself just never calls) and asked me to weigh in on a real-life Iowa mystery. Check it out.

Here’s a nice review of STOLEN AWAY. I love that Amazon making these books available again is stirring new interest in Nate Heller.

Here’s a rare negative review of THE CONSUMMATA. It’s from the very good site, The Violent World of Parker, and you may want to have a look. I responded to the review, and this began an exchange that you may find entertaining. I only respond to negative reviews when I think there’s something unfair or inaccurate in a review. I might note that I may be a rare example of somebody who adores both Richard Stark’s understated style and Mickey Spillane’s over-the-top one. I know I’m the only writer who had those two men as mentors. But I am never surprised when a Stark/Westlake fan does not care for Mickey. (In this case, to be fair, the reviewer liked THE DELTA FACTOR but not the sequel.)

Lynn Myers and I (mostly Lynn) have put together a new Paul Cain collection with a biographical sketch about this mysterious BLACK MASK writer. I haven’t seen the book yet (it’s a limited edition expensive number) but it’s starting to be reviewed, for example here.

And here are some nice comments (if you scroll down the list) on my CRIMINAL MINDS novel KILLER PROFILE. Matt Clemens co-wrote that one.

We had our first public Crusin’ performance with new bass player, Brian Van Winkle, at a fun club called Ducky’s Lagoon ourside Andalusia, Illinois. How well did we do? Immediately got two book-backs for March and May.

See you next week, and I hope to report that SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT has been completed.

M.A.C.

Raymond Burr Isn’t In It

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
MM9

Nathan has a new book that’s just out from Viz, MM9 – his translation of Hiroshi Yamamoto’s fun novel about Godzilla-style monsters, which I really enjoyed.

Here’s the official description:

“Japan is beset by natural disasters all the time: typhoons, earthquakes, and…giant monster attacks. A special anti-monster unit called the Meteorological Agency Monsterological Measures Department (MMD) has been formed to deal with natural disasters of high “monster magnitude.” The work is challenging, the public is hostile, and the monsters are hungry, but the MMD crew has science, teamwork…and a legendary secret weapon on their side. Together, they can save Japan, and the universe!”

If you like Japanese monster movies, you do not want to miss this.

Here’s a really nice QUARRY’S EX review from Bookhound.

And check out this short but sweet KISS HER GOODBYE review.

Jon L. Breen is a reviewer who has always been kind to me, but really doesn’t care for Mickey Spillane much. But he’s very good to KISS HER GOODBYE in this multiple review article (looking at continuations of famous series) in the Weekly Standard.

Another piece that compares the graphic novel and film versions of ROAD TO PERDITION has popped up, favoring the former. I like the movie myself, but this writer does sort out the relative strengths and weaknesses of both. Worth taking a look.

Vince Keenan has done a nice piece on the posthumously published Don Westlake novel, THE COMEDY IS FINISHED. It talks about my role in bringing this excellent lost book to print, finally.

I am at the half-way mark of SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT. For those wondering, I’m deep in the bunker and often blow off phone calls and e-mails – Barb does all the driving when I’m in this much of a daze, much more in the world of the novel than the (so-called) real one.

But I will be emerging like a ground hog seeking his shadow this coming Saturday night (January 28) at Ducky’s Lagoon in Andalusia, Illinois (near the Quad Cities). It will mark the first public appearance of the band with new bass player Brian Van Winkle, guitarist Jim’s brother (we have played one private party with Brian). The performance will be dedicated to the memory of founding member, bassist Chuck Bunn.

M.A.C.

Lightning Strikes

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
The Simon & Kirby Library: Crime

CHICAGO LIGHTNING did very well on its Kindle Deal of the Day 99-cent sale – something like 8000 copies. For a short story collection, that’s amazing, even at the discount. If you prefer a real, physical object (it’s called a book), you should pick this up. Also, the audio version read by Dan John Miller really is fun.

The Simon and Kirby CRIME comics collection from Titan hit the New York Times list, another amazing accomplishment, for which I can take zero credit, though my intro is getting some nice comments in reviews.

I am wrapping up SPILLANE ON SCREEN (I’ll ship it out this week) and starting serious work on SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT, the Jack and Maggie Starr novel for Hard Case Crime. I am delighted to be returning to this series. The cover is by Glenn Orbik (can’t share it yet, but it’s an eye-popper) and Terry Beatty will do interior chapter illos and a fake EC-style cover as a frontispiece.

Thanksgiving here was low-key and very enjoyable, with Nate and his girl friend Abby joining us (as well as our granddog, Toaster) and Barb cooked a fantastic traditional turkey dinner. We watched lots of movies, also episodes of AUCTION HUNTERS (a good rival to STORAGE WARS), saw the very good ARTHUR CHRISTMAS (after suffering through an abysmal Justin Bieber video that almost ruined a good movie), and did very minimal Black Friday shopping (picked up some cheap Blu-rays at Walmart, mostly for Riff Trax purposes).

On Saturday night, at the VFW Hall in Lone Tree, Iowa, for an anniversary party, Crusin’ had its first gig with new bass player, Brian Van Winkle, who did a fine job. It’s going to be a very good version of the band.

See you next week with less personal stuff, apologies for which are mitigated by the holiday season.

M.A.C.