Posts Tagged ‘Crusin’’

Better Late Than…

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

A terrific QUARRY’S EX review came in from Daniel Luft – very insightful and a real pleasure to read. Too bad the book didn’t come out last month as promised. On the other hand, and I can say no more, it looks like EX really will be out some time next year…possibly a year late, but…

Mystery File shared two Top 100 Lists by top-notch fan/critics, dating to 1993. I don’t remember this – maybe never saw it – but both lists have Nate Heller novels on ‘em. As you know, I despise such lists…unless I am included. In which case their validity is unquestionable.

I do wonder, when I see such lists, just how much tastes-of-the-moment are in play. In 1993, STOLEN AWAY was getting a lot of attention, rave reviews, a Shamus nod, etc. There hasn’t been a Heller since 2001, so I wonder how many lists today would fail to include one of those novels. We’ll see if BYE BYE, BABY gets Heller back on the radar.

Blood Money NEL EditionThere’s a very interesting look from a UK site about the first two Nolan novels and how they were published with very cool Dali-esque covers over there. If you’ve never seen these covers, it’s worth a trip (to the site, not the UK) (but I’m always up for a UK trip). I left a couple of comments that you may find of interest.

Barb and I listened to a rough cut of the new Mike Hammer audio novel (THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER VOL. 3: ENCORE FOR MURDER) in the car on a Chicago getaway this weekend. Producer/director Carl Amari did a great job, with Stacy Keach just batting that ball out of the park as his signature character. But the rest of the cast is terrific, too – with Mike Cornelison as Pat Chambers (in my opinion, the best Chambers ever), Tim Kazurinsky as a Broadway producer, and all kinds of Chicago talent. This will be out next March. By the way, I play a role in ENCORE FOR MURDER – a small but significant one – and I got the best review possible from Barb: she didn’t realize it was me! This either shows that I did an incredible acting job, or that I don’t make much of an impression, even when you live with me for 40 years.

Also on the trip, we listened to the second pass on the new Crusin CD – CRUSIN’ LIVE – ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HAPPENED – and after just one tiny tweak, we’ll be ready to press the suckers. I’m doing about 100 copies for promo purposes, and a limited edition available here at the site – these will probably be given away “free” when you purchase another item (TBD). This is not a national release because it’s designed to show potential clients what the band sounds like, and includes covers of material that we can’t afford to license. We may be able to offer downloads of the original songs from the album (there are seven, including a blistering “Psychedelic Siren,” first live recording of that we’ve ever issued).

While in the Chicago area, I saw Nate’s book SUMMER, FIREWORKS & MY CORPSE in the science-fiction/fantasy section of Borders! He has arrived!

I would like to mention two of my favorite writers, briefly. First, Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay for the Facebook film THE SOCIAL NETWORK is a stunner – beautifully constructed and the dialogue crackles. Don’t miss this film.

Second, we lost Stephen Cannell last week. He did a lot of TV in recent years that I didn’t care about (starting around A-TEAM time), and I have never been able to get into his novels. But he remains one of my handful of favorite TV writers (Sorkin being another). He gave us ROCKFORD FILES, TENSPEED AND BROWNSHOE, THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO (Mike Cornelison had a recurring role!), and RICHIE BROCKELMAN, PRIVATE EYE. Most important to me, he and Roy Huggins (my other favorite TV writer) came up with CITY OF ANGELS. That’s my favorite private eye show of all time, and I owe Cannell, Huggins and actor Wayne Rogers a huge debt – Nate Heller is their bastard offspring. I never met Cannell, but not long ago I sent him a foreign movie poster of a film version of the three-part ANGELS pilot, “The November Plan,” asking that he signed it. He did, and I will treasure it.


Summer’s End

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

A word from my son, Nate —

As some of you may already know, in addition to administrating this website, I work as a freelance Japanese to English translator. In the spirit of crass nepotism, I’d like to hijack this week’s post to announce the release of my first book-length translation, SUMMER, FIREWORKS, AND MY CORPSE: a collected novel, novella, and short story by suspense/horror writer Otsuichi.

The titular SUMMER, FIREWORKS, AND MY CORPSE, Otsuichi’s breakout suspense novella (written when he was only sixteen), follows a nine-year-old girl who dies during summer vacation. While her two friends-turned-killers attempt to hide her body from their families and the police, we watch from the point of view of the girl’s dead body. It’s a simple story with an interesting narrative twist.

The collection follows with “Yuko,” a short story set in post-war Japan. A young woman is starting her first job as the lone servant in a mansion home to a reclusive author and his wife. But as weeks pass with no actual sign of the wife’s existence, the servant begins to fear for her master’s sanity.

The third and final selection, BLACK FAIRY TALE, is a novel of classic Japanese horror. In it, a girl loses her eye in an accident and receives a transplant. Her new eye contains visions of the experiences and memories of its previous — deceased — owner. The girl, her own memories gone, finds herself estranged from her old family and friends and becomes drawn to the past life of her eye’s donor. But as she seeks to discover the donor’s fate, she soon finds herself in mortal danger.

As you can see, there’s a lot packed into this book, and there’s a lot to like. Otsuichi deftly mixes the creepy and the supernatural with a grounding in slice-of-life Japan, and the twists and turns are surprising, but never cheap or dishonest. I am very lucky to have worked with such captivating and well-written source material, making my first book-length published translation something I can be proud of. I hope you’ll check it out!

We’ll now return to your regularly scheduled update:

Very proud of Nate – I read this book in galley proofs, and it’s excellent. Can’t wait to lay hands on an actual copy.
Here’s a small but nice BIG BANG review (those seem to finally be winding down).

And here’s a link to an appearance I made last May at the legendary Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City. (And here’s a link of the same with audio only.) It’s about an hour – I discuss THE BIG BANG and read a brief selection, then answer a few questions. They have signed copies and you can write them here for info about mail-ordering one:

For those of you in the eastern Iowa area, Crusin’ will play at the Elms Restaurant, 2108 Grandview Avenue, from 8 to 11 on Friday, Oct. 1. Muscatine’s River Drive is blocked by road construction and you should use the bypass.

Work continues on the live Crusin’ CD culled from soundboard recordings last August. Twenty songs including around seven originals. It’s designed for promo purposes but I’ll sell a limited number here.

Here are some things Barb and I enjoyed over the weekend: the solid crime film THE TOWN; the new Weezer CD, “Hurley”; and the eighth season of the electrifying British show Spooks (aka MI-5), thanks to our all-regions DVD player (and Amazon UK).


Got Live…Do You Want It?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

The Crusin’ gig at Wilton Founder’s Day (Friday night Aug. 27) went well – we had a nice big Friday night crowd (though not rivaling the Saturday night mob hometown boys the XL’S drew). The night was cool and pleasant, but humid, with lyric sheets and guitar/keyboard cases getting soaked; and playing on a long/narrow flatbed truck was daunting – we were lined up like the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and I couldn’t even see guitarist Jim Van Winkle down there somewhere past bassist Chuck Bunn and drummer Steve Kundel.

We needed a professional sound company for the gig, which the fee didn’t really cover, but my pal Mark Johnson of Rock Island’s Brass Sail Recording (he did the sound and co-wrote the music for Eliot Ness: An Untouchable Life) cut us an amazing deal. In addition, Mark made a sound-board recording, and the result was positive enough that I’m thinking about putting together a live CD. This would primarily be a promotional tool for getting Midwest bookings, but I may offer it here on the site, as well.

I am in frequent touch with Charles Ardai, who is being courted by a number of publishers in the search for a new home for Hard Case Crime (and QUARRY’S EX). I can’t be specific, but I will say I’m optimistic. And one of my first projects for a new Hard Case may be finishing THE CONSUMMATA, Mickey Spillane’s sequel to THE DELTA FACTOR with modernday pirate, Morgan the Raider. Speaking of Hard Case, here’s a fun write-up on Hard Case Crime.

And check out this a nice little review of ROAD TO PERDITION (the graphic novel).

BombshellNate and I are discussing starting up an e-book company to get my backlist back in print. We may do Heller, although I probably will make at least some effort to get the series back into traditional print first. I fear e-book publishing may doom titles to never seeing “real” book format again.

With BYE BYE, BABY coming out next July – Nate Heller solving Marilyn’s murder – I am considering putting out an e-book of BOMBSHELL, the Marilyn book Barb and I wrote (we may use the popular “Barbara Allan” byline). I’ll probably include some bonus features – possibly the original short story that the novel was expanded from and a Marilyn “vampire” story, both written solo by Barb. Maybe I’ll include the Heller novella, KISSES OF DEATH. We’ll see.

Opinions welcome….


Road To Wilton

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Of the great reviews and interviews that have been generated by the release of ROAD TO PERDITION on Blu-ray, this one from the L.A. Times (calling me “the great pulp-spirited author”), is one of the best. It includes a visit with my pal Daniel Craig. Yeah, I know James Bond. Deal with it.

The rest of this update will be a little special. I’m asking my son Nate to share some of the great photos he took of my band Crusin’ and our pals the XL’S (yeah, I know the XL’s – deal with it) at the recent, very well-received Great River Days concert in Muscatine.

The two bands are sharing the stage (albeit on separate nights) at the big Wilton Founder’s Day Event this coming weekend. Crusin’ plays Friday night (August 27) from 9 pm to 1 a.m., and the XL’s do the same the next night.

Wilton is close to Muscatine, but I’m bad at directions, so just google Wilton, Iowa – it’s a street event, so we won’t be hard to find. Come early and enjoy the carnival type doings, and stop by the Wilton Candy Kitchen, a legendary (and wonderful) oldtime soda shop.


Great River Days

Great River Days

Great River Days

Great River Days

Great River Days