Posts Tagged ‘Eliot Ness’

The Big Year

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this will be a big year for me, and for my collaborators Barb, Matt and Mickey.

Some of this has to do with publishers holding onto books a while before publishing; some of what is seemingly a big output has to do with my working with those gifted collaborators I just mentioned. My big fear is that some of this work – all of which, I think, finds us at the top of our collective game – may slip through the cracks. Those of you who follow these updates are encouraged (well, actually I’m begging) to support this stuff, and tell your friends, write about the stuff on blogs, and post Amazon and Barnes & Noble reviews.

Encore for Murder

Writers who are at all prolific suffer – we “grind” out and “crank” out books. People who use that kind of phrase really don’t know much at all about writing. But expect to hear that sort of thing said about me this year. Now, the Hardest Working Man in Show Business is okay. That’s fine. I am still rock ‘n’ rolling, after all.

This week we are sharing with you the first look at the terrific cover of THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER VOL. 3: ENCORE FOR MURDER. This was about as fun and rewarding a project as you could imagine. Working with actors like Stacy Keach, Tim Kazurinsky, David Pasquale, and Mike Cornelison is a dream come true. As I’ve mentioned before, Tim is one of my favorite Second City/SNL talents, and Pasquesi is a great stand-up who shared the stage with Jeff Garlin and Fred Willard at the Second City Reunion last year. And Mike Cornelison is probably the best Pat Chambers ever. The previous Hammer audio, THE LITTLE DEATH, was adapted from a screenplay; but ENCORE FOR MURDER was written specifically for the audio novel format, and I’m really proud of it. Like Sinatra said after listening to a playback, “If you don’t like that, you don’t like ice cream.”

Also coming up in the Big Year are:

ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF, Kensington hardcover, March. Both Barb and I think this is the best of the Antiques novels, both in terms of mystery and funny, and it presents a conclusion to the story arc of the first five books. Best cover we’ve snagged.

NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU, also Kensington but a paperback, and also March. This is the second J.C. Harrow novel by Matt Clemens and me, and we both think it’s superior to the first one (which was well-received, and which we like, but there was room to improve…and we did). It’s a satire on reality TV and features two really scary serial killers. We went for broke on this one. Frankly, if this doesn’t do well, there won’t be another. Please support this one. Here’s an idea: buy thousands, go up in a plane, and dump them over your town. Just a thought.

KISS HER GOODBYE, Harcourt “Otto Penzler” hardcover, May. This was a particularly strong unfinished manuscript from Mickey, circa 1975, and I am hugely happy with the results. I think it’s at least as good as THE BIG BANG. I had great material to work with. Thanks, Mick!

BYE BYE, BABY, Forge, hardcover, August. The first Nate Heller novel in ten years. This was delivered in 2009, and faces the clutter of the other M.A.C. novels out there this year. Marilyn’s murder, solved. Find out what really happened, and see if Heller at age 58 is any less violent or randy than he was back in the ‘30s and ‘40s. (Hint: he hasn’t mellowed.)

QUARRY’S EX, Hard Case Crime, trade paperback, August. Postponed from last year. Made some “best book of the year” lists in 2010 without being published. Good trick, even for Quarry.

THE CONSUMMATA, Hard Case Crime, trade paperback, October. The long-awaited sequel to THE DELTA FACTOR by Mickey with me batting clean up. Cubans, bondage, and Robert McGinnis!

RETURN TO PERDITION, DC Vertigo hardcover, October. Graphic novel. The final chapter in the PERDITION saga, with MS. TREE artist Terry Beatty coming on board. This may not be the final PERDITION novel or even graphic novel, but it is guaranteed the last chronologically. Terry is doing his best work.

In addition, I am close to signing an agreement that will bring all of the Nate Heller books back out in trade paperback and e-book, including two new collections of short stories and novellas. The Ness novels are already out, as are the early Quarrys (though not yet on e-book), and likely Nolan will be next. Also, trade paperbacks of the Barbara/Max Collins collaborations REGENERATION and BOMBSHELL are on the horizon (with e-books), as well as short story collections of both authors. Look for Barb/Max titles to appear as “Barbara Allan” works.

After our exchange of views on his review of an early Quarry novel, David Rachels asked me to contribute to his regular feature “Five Quick Questions” at his always interesting Noirboiled site. Despite the brevity of the format, some new things came up. And David, who teaches Japanese lit, e-mailed to say he had ordered Nate’s book, SUMMER, FIREWORKS & MY CORPSE!

Both QUARRY’S EX and THE CONSUMMATA are nicely showcased in the latest news release from Charles Ardai about the return of Hard Case Crime. It appeared lots of places, but this link takes you (appropriately enough) to the Violent World of Parker site.

Similarly, the news release about the e-book-oriented Top Suspense Group (of which I’m a member) got wide cyber attention, but here it is at my pal (and fellow TSG member) Lee Goldberg’s great website.

Jeff Pierce of Rap Sheet fame has a wonderful site about sexy covers of tough mysteries, and he went nicely nuts over the McGinnis cover of THE CONSUMMATA.

Did I mention that 2011 is my 40th anniversary in the writing game? BAIT MONEY sold in December 1971.

M.A.C.

Eliot Ness Back In Print

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Speaking Volumes, the audio company that has brought out several of my novels on CD, is branching out into e-books and print editions. I’m pleased to announce that all four “Eliot Ness in Cleveland” novels are now available in what look to be handsome editions (my author’s copies have not arrived yet). This is the first new printing of MURDER BY THE NUMBERS since its original publication in 1993, so that title in particular may be of interest.

Dark CityThe Dark City: Print | E-Book
Butcher's Dozen
Butcher’s Dozen: Print | E-Book

Each Ness novel is based on a real investigation by the famous Untouchable during his very exciting tenure as the Public Safety Director of Cleveland – less written about than his Chicago days, the Cleveland years mark Ness’s major contributions to crimebusting. THE DARK CITY has him cleaning up a notoriously corrupt police department (with a guest apperance by Nathan Heller), BUTCHER’S DOZEN (the best known of the novels) is the first book-length look at the famous Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run, BULLET PROOF has Ness taking on corrupt unions, and MURDER BY THE NUMBERS finds Ness making an unlikely alliance with black numbers gangsters to defeat the famous Mayfield Road Mob’s takeover of a “colored” racket. The latter book explores Cleveland as the source of Chester Himes’ imaginary Harlem in his Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones crime novels, featuring the real-life black cop who provided the basis for those famous characters.

Bullet ProofBullet Proof: Print | E-Book
Murder By The Numbers
Murder by the Numbers: Print | E-Book

These novels formed the basis for the second act of my play (and film) ELIOT NESS: AN UNTOUCHABLE LIFE.

A very smart review of Mickey Spillane’s classic MY GUN IS QUICK favorably mentions my introduction to that Penguin collection of the first three Mike Hammer novels. Nice to see somebody “getting” Mickey Spillane.

David Rachels’ web site, NOIRBOILED, often has interesting stuff on display, including mini-interviews with authors and “poems” culled from crime novels. He has panned several of my novels and he gives a patronizing, half-heartedly positive review to the current reprint of QUARRY. He’s a smart guy, so it’s worth a look, but I don’t agree at all with his labeling of the Quarry series as chiefly a Richard Stark imitation. His description of QUARRY as a novel built on the Stark approach/structure doesn’t show much insight to either approach or structure – a good deal of the magic of the Parker novels is the section midway that either devotes a chunk to a single point of view other than Parker’s or gives single point-of-view chapters to various characters, enabling Stark to play games with time (a trick Don Westlake admitted to me having learned from Kubrick’s THE KILLING). QUARRY, a first-person novel built much more on the traditional private eye paradigm than that of Stark’s quirky crook books, is far, far less indebted to Richard Stark than the Nolans, which began as outright Stark pastiche (though I believe they grew into something of their own). To really understand what I am doing in the Quarry novels – or for that matter what Stark is doing in the Parker novels – a reviewer would need a better grasp of W.R. Burnett, Horace McCoy, Dan Marlowe and Jim Thompson than Rachels reveals. Rachels also does not appear aware that – after the first book, anyway – Parker never kills a civilian, and he skips entirely any consideration of the key role Vietnam plays in both Quarry the killer and Collins the novelist.

My friend Ed Gorman – one of the best living crime writers – has always been generous to me in his reviews. He continues that tradition in a wonderful review of SPREE, the final (to date, anyway) Nolan and Jon novel. He talks a lot about the Comfort family, and I happen to agree with him that that criminal hillbilly clan is among my proudest achievements. By the way, the Comforts were named as an overt reference to one of my favorite novels, Stella Gibbons’ classic COLD COMFORT FARM. One of the books begins with a sentence that includes the phrase “Cole Comfort’s farm.”

Next week I will talk about the avalanche of Collins material that 2011 will bring. Golden Age or Apocalypse…your call.

M.A.C.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Happened

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

This coming weekend – Dec. 3 and 4 – Crusin’ will be at Jumer’s casino from 8 to midnight off I-280 near Rock Island. Getting to play casinos is a big deal for us, because it’s “real” show biz. We have an excellent version of our long-running band right now, so we hope those of you in this part of the world will stop by for some genuine garage-band rock.

Rock 'N' Roll Happened

Speaking of which, our new live CD, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Happened,” is now available. It feature half a dozen originals (including “Psychedelic Siren,” two Bruce Peters originals and one by Rob Gal, as well as our signature arrangement of “Summertime” and a rousing “Pussy Whipped”) plus classic covers, all recorded live at two outdoor festivals in August. The liner notes include a detailed history of the band and rare vintage photos. If you’ve ever heard (and enjoyed) us or the years, or just have a lingering morbid curiosity about the rock ‘n’ roll side of my creative life, you will not want to miss this.

Since “Rock ‘n’ Roll Happened” is a promo item, designed for bookers at venues who might consider hiring us, we can’t sell it…but I am setting aside thirty copies for this website. To get a CD, you order one of the following M.A.C. rarities and get a free copy. Here are your options:

Edit: All options sold out! We’re going to recheck stock and post again with what’s left!

Kisses of Death

A., “Kisses of Death,” a 90-minute cassette of me reading a Nate Heller novella with Barbara Collins as Marilyn Monroe. These rare cassettes were distributed as a promo item at the ABA in 1996. Includes FREE Crusin’ “Rock ‘n’ Roll Happened” CD, $15 postpaid USA/Canada ($20 foreign).

Mike Myst

B. “Mike Mist Minute Mist-eries,” 1981 Eclipse black-and-white comic book collecting “Mist” strips from the Collins/Beatty self-syndicated “Comics Page.” Includes FREE Crusin’ “Rock ‘n’ Roll Happened” CD, $15 postpaid USA/Canada ($20 foreign).

Ms. Tree Summer Music Special

C. “Ms. Tree Rock ‘n’ Roll Summer Special,” 1986, includes “Music to Murder By” Ms. Tree/Mike Mist crossover, plus my “Bobby Darin” comic bio/memoir, and in-depth article “The Daybreakers” with many rare photos. Includes FREE Crusin’ “Rock ‘n’ Roll Happened” CD, $15 postpaid USA/Canada ($20 foreign).

Golden Age

D. Rare “The Golden Age” by Seduction of the Innocent (cassette); rare 1990 album featuring “The Truth Hurts.” Includes FREE Crusin’ “Rock ‘n’ Roll Happened” CD, $15 postpaid USA/Canada ($20 foreign).

Crusin'

E. “Bullets” by Crusin’ (cassette); rare 1991 album featuring “Theme from Ms. Tree.” Includes FREE Crusin’ “Rock ‘n’ Roll Happened” CD, $15 postpaid USA/Canada ($20 foreign).

SOTI Live'

F. “Seduction of the Innocent” Live CD signed by Collins, Christensen, Mumy and Leialoha. Includes FREE Crusin’ “Rock ‘n’ Roll Happened” CD, $20 postpaid USA/Canada ($25 foreign).

G. The Complete Collection (THREE SETS AVAILABLE): “The Golden Age” by Seduction of the Innocent, CD; “Bullets” by Crusin’, CD; “Daybreakers aka Crusin’,” including “Psychedelic Siren,” rare demos and songs from Mommy and Mommy’s Day, signed by original Daybreakers, CD; signed “Seduction of the Innocent” Live CD. Includes FREE Crusin’ “Rock ‘n’ Roll Happened” CD, $60 postpaid USA/Canada ($75 foreign).

As indicated, these are available in very limited quantities. An unsigned copy of the Seduction of the Innocent CD may be substituted for the free “Rock ‘n’ Roll Happened” CD, if you buy a second of the above options.

Edit: All options sold out! We’re going to recheck stock and post again with what’s left!

* * *

Here’s an interesting write-up from the University of Chicago Magazine website about my Batman/Eliot Ness graphic novel, SCAR OF THE BAT. Always fun when something from past years pops up for some praise.

This is a nice write-up about BLACK HATS. The posting has been edited after I commented about the original version, which off-handedly said I had a “boatload” of pennames. Which of course I don’t.

The terrific crime writer Tom Piccirilli is kind enough to mention the new Quarry reprints on his blog.

There’s an interview with me at the website of the Top Suspense Group. Lee Goldberg has joined our merry little band of e-book writers, which is very good news. Lee is co-founder (with me) of the International Association of Tie-in Writers. Interviews with him and Ed Gorman and our other talented members can be found at the same site.

And there’s a nice write-up about collaborations at Book Notes, which includes Barbara Allan.

Nate is back from Japan, and I have welcomed him home with this long and complicated update!

M.A.C.

Net Not A Drag

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

You will note above that a Crusin’ live show is in Muscatine is coming up on St. Patrick’s Day. If you are in Eastern Iowa, check it out. We have a Riverside Casino gig coming up in April – stay tuned.

More nice stuff turning up on the net about M.A.C. projects new and old….

Janet Rudolph of Mystery Readers International kindly asked me to do a guest blog last week about the collaborative process (now all three of us have written such pieces – Barb, Matt and me). In case you missed it, now’s your chance.

Mel Odom, a gifted scribe his own self, has posted a nice YOU CAN’T STOP ME review. This appeared lots of places, but we’re linking you to Mel’s entertaining Bookhound site.

Out of the blue, a really nice review of my DVD, ELIOT NESS: AN UNTOUCHABLE LIFE (), has turned up form Cold Fusion Video Reviews. Lots of pics and apt praise for the great Michael Cornelison.

There is a Ten Classic Private Eyes thread at Tony Isabella’s message board. Tony, by the way, is another great guy. Nate Heller and Ms. Tree come up several times, and I even responded a couple of times. Worth looking at.

My pal Chris Mills has posted a lovely tribute to Mickey Spillane.

One of the pleasures of being a writer in the internet age is receiving e-mails from (as Mickey would put it) “satisfied customers.” Here’s a recent one:

Hi Max:

Just a few moments ago I finished THE WAR OF THE WORLDS MURDER and, smile still on my face, I thought I’d drop you a note of appreciation. As with everything of yours that I’ve read I enjoyed it tremendously. The craftsmanship required to produce such little gems as your “disaster” novels shows through on every page. I also must say that as much as I enjoy the novels themselves I find your Acknowledgements a special added pleasure. You write so vividly and set the literary stage so lavishly that I invariably find myself hunting up further information on the times and characters about which you write and I often find myself checking out your source material.

I, like you am a bit of a history and media buff and have been an admirer of both Welles and Gibson for some time. So during my reading of War of the World Murder my interest in them was reawakened and I poked around some of my books and some internet sites about them and was again impressed with the depth of your research. In so doing I found a (very tenuous) connection between myself and Gibson. I read that he spent the last years of his life in a very small upstate NY community of Eddyville. When I was a child I spent every summer in Rosendale, NY, the town right next door to Eddyville. My parents live there today. From the descriptions that I read it sounds like Gibson’s house was a bit like Forry Akerman’s Akermansion, only writ small. I was unable to find any pics of the house on the internet but last week I went to see my parents and made sure to travel Creek Locks Road in Eddyville looking for a house that matched the description I’d read. Eddyville is quite small and I was able to narrow it down to only two possibilities. Even here in my fully adult years I was able to get a bit of a thrill knowing that the man who created (for all intents and purposes) The Shadow lived in one of those two houses, so close to where I’d spent so much of my childhood. It isn’t a big thing, but it is a nice thing and I owe that small satisfaction to you for having made Gibson and his his fictionalized involvement with the War of The Worlds broadcast so real for me.

Please keep doing what you do.

Thanks.

Yours,

Ed Smith

Here’s my response:

Hi Ed —

thanks for your lovely e-mail.

I’m very proud of my historical stuff, and it pleases me that readers are seeking the books out years later. A book you may not know about that is in a way the capstone to the disaster series is RED SKY IN MORNING by Patrick Culhane. That’s actually me. It’s based on my father’s very interesting experiences in the Navy during WW 2.

You should probably seek out, if you haven’t already, the two books I did recently about the history of comics: A KILLING IN COMICS and STRIP FOR MURDER. They did not do well, so there probably won’t be any more of ’em, but you will like them, I think.

I have gone on many adventures like the one you describe. There’s something about connecting to childhood enthusiasms as an adult that’s very special. These are the things that resonated through our lives and, for better or worse, made us who we are.

Best,

Max

I have essentially shut down my Facebook “Friends” page, which I was completely incompetent in handling, and – at Nate’s insistence and with his help – have set up a Fan page. If you are reading this, and are on Facebook, please sign up. I comment on many of the posts and post there fairly frequently. I just (with bandmate Chuck Bunn’s help) put up a whole series of pics about the history of the Daybreakers and Crusin’ – even if you’ve never heard my band, you may get a kick out of these.

Crusin'

Now I am headed back to work on my draft of ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF by Barbara Allan.

M.A.C.