Posts Tagged ‘Crusin’’

Hi, Hi Baby

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011
Bye Bye Baby

Today (Aug. 16) is the publication date of the first Heller in almost a decade (but you knew that): BYE BYE, BABY. All I ask is that everybody reading this buy 25 copies and ship them to friends (or strangers if necessary).

The audio book is also available, and is the first of a new series from Brilliance that will present every single Nate Heller novel – and the two short story collections – in new audio presentations. This is exciting news, at least for me, and these audio presentations will tie in with the new trade-paperback/e-book reprint series of the complete Nathan Heller Memoirs from Amazon/Encore.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: I will be doing daily updates while Barb and I are on the road the next week’s whirlwind West Coast Tour for our bouncing BABY (see tour schedule above).

This will be a busy week around the Collins household. Barb and I are preparing for the tour, which also will be promoting “Barbara Allan” and other projects, like Hard Case Crime titles and ongoing Mike Hammer projects. And (speaking of Hammer) I will be continuing a crazy work schedule to complete LADY, GO DIE! before we leave next Monday.

Also this week, Barb and I have our 45th high school reunion and of course Crusin’ is playing for that, this coming Saturday night. The band will have a monster rehearsal this week picking up even more ‘60s material for that very special gig.

There are a few nice MAC mentions that have popped up in the last week or so on the Net. Here, for instance, is a cool discussion of Chicago crime that talks about the movie and book, ROAD TO PERDITION, liking both but liking the latter more.

The New York Post has included BYE BYE, BABY on a “required reading” list.

This blog entry – again from the Ed who isn’t Gorman – has smart things to say about Mickey Spillane and Mike Hammer, and a particularly insightful look at the film KISS ME DEADLY. Ed Who Is Not Gorman also highly recommends my documentary on the Criterion release.

There’s a very nice overview of the hardboiled/noir genre in multi-parts that includes Nate Heller and me. But the whole series is good, with insightful comments about Mickey and Hammer.

You’ll have to scroll down to find it (or just read your way down, because it’s a good blog), but here’s a nice review of the upcoming QUARRY’S EX.


Thrilled to be Nominated

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

A very pleasant surprise last week (actually, two of them): the International Thriller Writers have nominated YOU CAN’T STOP ME for Best Paperback and the Mike Hammer “Long Time Dead” for Best Short Story.

Matt Clemens and I had been told that YOU CAN’T STOP ME had made the short list of ten for the ITW honor, but we were nonetheless blown away by the actual nomination. This comes at a very good time for us because, frankly, the current Harrow book isn’t burning up the bookstands, and we are (in TV terms) “on the bubble” with the fledgling series.

If you have not read either Harrow – YOU CAN’T STOP ME and the current NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU – maybe this news will be enough to get ya off the dime. I believe the Kindle prices on both books are very low – under five bucks each last time I checked.

And of course it’s very, very rewarding to have a Spillane/Collins collaboration singled out. Some people dismiss the posthumous Spillane material, without even a read, citing “purist” notions about not wanting to subject themselves to a work started by one writer and completed by another. Apparently they never read Ellery Queen.

Anyway, here is the full list of the nominees:

As I’ve said before, one of the cool surprises the net can serve up is a new review for an old book. Here’s a nice one about the Mallory novel, NICE WEEKEND FOR A MURDER. Mallory has been getting a little love lately, out in cyberspace, so maybe one of these days we’ll get him back into print.

OurTop Suspense Group anthology keeps getting great reviews, like this one. There are occasional complaints about typos and inconsistencies story-to-story, and we’re cleaning those up as we can – it’s a home-made effort by pros, understand. You can get it in actual book form now, and it’s really a beautiful-looking book. Reads good, too.

KISS HER GOODBYE keeps racking up nice reviews – this one is from somebody who I frankly think is getting jaded (he likes GOLIATH BONE and BIG BANG better – most reviewers and readers…including Jane Spillane…think KISS HER is the best of the trio), but overall it’s another good one.

Last week Barb and I wrapped up ANTIQUES DISPOSAL and got it shipped (well, e-mailed) to Kensington. We took two days off for a getaway (to Des Moines – yes, our life is a glittering, glorious, glamorous Jet Set fantasy) and came back for a nice weekend (not for murder) with son Nate, his girl Abby and our granddog, the supremely insane Australian Blue Heeler, Toaster. Also got in a really good Crusin’ gig at the local Eagles Lodge Hall, for Eagles pooh-bahs from all over the grand state of Iowa.

It is true, by the way, that Crusin’ will be playing at Bouchercon in St. Louis this fall. We will be having a handful of mystery-writer guests who will join us on a few songs. No instrumental sit-ins (that way lies madness), but we will have some guest vocalists. The first we’ve invited: Bob Randisi. Are you out there, Parnell Hall?


Even More Free Books!

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
Antiques Bizarre

We were able to lay hands on a few more copies – ten each – of ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF by Barbara Allan and NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU by M.A.C. and Matthew Clemens. We also have ten copies of the just published paperback of ANTIQUES BIZARRE by Barbara Allan.

First come, first serve, to anyone pledging to review the book on a blog and/or on Amazon (and/or Barnes & Noble). Ask for one or both or even all three, depending on your interest and taste.

When these ten (of each) are gone, the days of a free lunch – or anyway, a book to read while you’re eating the lunch you paid for – are over.

E-mail me at and include your snail mail address. We can’t honor requests from overseas. We only do business with good law-biding Americans! Or maybe it’s because it’s so damn expensive mailing books internationally….

Bill Crider, that terrific writer and the host of my favorite mystery website, has written a wonderful review of NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.

Matt Clemens and I did a joint interview you may find of interest at

And Matt was interviewed by Sean Leary a while back, but it’s only turning up now on the net. Check it out.

Our local paper, the Muscatine Journal, gave Barb and me a nice write-up about the Trash ‘n’ Treasures ANTIQUES series, among other things, including info about a book signing coming up on Saturday, March 19, at the Davenport Barnes & Noble. This is the first signing in support of ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF and NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.

I hear from fans all the time, bemoaning the fact that we don’t do as many signings as we used to, but signings just aren’t what they used to be. We are limiting ourselves to our home area, and a few places we get to now and then, anyway – like Chicago and St. Louis. But we are attending the St. Louis Bouchercon, and it’s looking likely that Crusin’ will be playing, probably with some guest stars from the mystery community.

Speaking of Crusin’, we appeared Saturday night (March 5) at the Thirsty Camel, a bar/restaurant outside tiny Conesville, Iowa. The Camel is a big tin building, beautifully appointed in rustic style, that you approach by driving down a dirt road with cornfield on either side. It’s way back from the road – though a very modern lektrical sign points the way – by a rodeo set-up. This is as down-home as I get, by the way.

The Camel has burned down twice, and this new version is sparkling new. The original Camel was one of the Crusin’ regular stops of our golden era – 1975–1980. For about two years of that period, I was a professional musician – the band very successful, and showcasing Bruce Peters (the greatest guitarist and showman ever to come out of Iowa), and my buddy Paul Thomas on bass – both gone, now. Powerhouse Ric Steed drummed. Everybody sang, but Bruce was the best singer the band ever had.

The current version of Crusin’ features a guitar player who challenges Bruce’s mastery of the instrument – Jim Van Winkle – and also has original Daybreakers member Chuck Bunn as part of the line-up, with rock-steady drummer Steve Kundel a longtime veteran of the group (first coming in around 1989). Even with this strong a line-up, going in to play in a part of the world where our most popular line-up is frankly legendary was slightly intimidating…but I am pleased to report that we had a large, enthusiastic crowd, and quite a few people stopped me to say that we sounded just as good as we had “back in the day.” And it looks to be a once-a-month venue for us again.


New Antiques

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Antiques Knock-Off

ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF is supposed to be coming out March 1st, but I am getting reports that it’s already out. I am pleased to report that Barb and I have had rave reviews from both Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly for this entry in the “Trash ‘n’ Treasures” series. I’m getting increasing positive feedback from readers of my usual hardboiled fare that they are digging this cozy series, which Jon Breen aptly describes as “subversive.” If you don’t laugh at these, check your pulse – you may have passed away.

One of the interesting things about the net is that reviews of older books show up. This week some really perceptive reviews popped up of various not-current works.

With ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF just hitting the shelves (our best “Barbara Allan” yet in my opinion), it’s fun to see ANTIQUES MAUL, the second book in the series, turn up on a Kindle review site. I love it when a reader “gets it” – particularly a reader who blogs. Reviewer Joe M. points out that ANTIQUES MAUL is on sale for Kindle at under five bucks!

Indian Book Reviews has a very nice review of MORTAL WOUNDS, the collection of my first three CSI novels. I’m very proud of those novels, written in collaboration with my NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU co-author Matt Clemens. We did eight CSI novels and two CSI: MIAMI, all of which are among the most successful non-science-fiction TV tie-ins of all time. Matt and I are waiting to hear if the Harrow series will continue at Kensington – if you buy copies (real books or Kindle) you will help the cause!

The fun blog Not The Baseball Pitcher has a review of my 1981 Nolan novel – FLY PAPER! Pretty decent review, too. Speaking of Nolan, I am working on a deal to bring Nolan and Jon back into print (books #3 through #8 – the first two are still available as TWO FOR THE MONEY). They will be trade paperbacks, not initially available on e-book.

Finally, I’ll mention we had a very successful two-night stand at the Riverside Casino here in Iowa. We appeared with Denny Diamond, an excellent Neil Diamond tribute act, and had great response. We are in talks right now possibly to appear at the St. Louis Bouchercon. That would be our third Bouchercon appearance, and we hope it happens, because the other two were a blast!