Posts Tagged ‘Encore for Murder’

Spillane/Collins Nominated

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

The Mike Hammer short story “A Long Time Dead” (published in the Strand) has been nominated for a Private Eye Writers of America “Shamus” award. This is me working from a Hammer fragment by Mickey and developing it into a short story. Beyond the half dozen substantial manuscripts in the Spillane files, another ten or so shorter fragments provide the makings of short stories or even novels. The current Hammer radio novel, ENCORE FOR MURDER, was developed form a one-page novel outline in the files.

BYE BYE, BABY has received a lot of attention on the web over the last week or so, but nowhere more generously that in the cyber pages of January Magazine, and it’s all due to J. Kingston Pierce, who is rapidly becoming a major figure in mystery/crime criticism.

First, the book was the Pierce pick of the week, plus the “front page” of the magazine highlighted that pick with a mini-article, then Pierce used extra material from his Kirkus blog to do a BYE BYE, BABY interview.

The interview the latter was culled from came from a Kirkus blog interview about BYE BYE, BABY and Heller that also went up last week.

I also did a BYE BYE, BABY piece for the Romantic Times blog.

And the ubiquitous (and controversial) Helen Klausner has given BYE BYE, BABY a favorable review.

Our one-week West Coast tour is now under way (check above for cities and bookstores and other pertinent info) and I will be doing brief daily updates.

By the way, LADY, GO DIE! – the first of the Titan “Mike Hammer” novels – has been completed and submitted.

M.A.C.

Heller of a Week

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

I’ve made passing references to the Nate Heller backlist coming back into print, but now it’s official. AmazonEncore has put out a press release on upcoming titles, and this paragraph should be of interest:

“Award-winning author Max Allan Collins’ Chicago Lightning: The Collected Nathan Heller Short Stories, to be published by Thomas & Mercer on October 4, features Chicago PI Nathan Heller as the narrator of thirteen crime stories based on real cases from the 1930s and 1940s. Known for his graphic novel, Road to Perdition, the basis of the Academy Award-winning film starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, Max Allan Collins is a recipient of the Private Eye Writers of America lifetime achievement award, the Eye, and is the writer and director of five feature films and two documentaries. Leading up to the publication of Chicago Lightning, AmazonEncore will re-release twelve other Nathan Heller books in August.”

Every one of the previous Heller novels (from TRUE DETECTIVE through CHICAGO CONFIDENTIAL) will be reprinted in handsome, uniform trade paperback editions as well as e-books. CHICAGO LIGHTNING and the forthcoming TRIPLE PLAY are two new collections that take the place of (and expand upon) the previous Heller collections, DYING IN THE POSTWAR WORLD and KISSES OF DEATH. CHICAGO LIGHTNING is all the short stories thus far (including several never before collected) and TRIPLE PLAY will include the three Heller novellas-to-date (“Dying in the Postwar World,” “Kisses of Death,” and “Strike Zone”).

Obviously I am thrilled to have Heller climb back into print, timed to support and cross-promote the new Heller novels from Forge.

Speaking of which – and is very big news indeed – BYE BYE, BABY has received a starred PW review. Here it is:

“Set in 1962, Collins’s excellent 13th novel featuring Chicago PI Nate Heller (last seen in 2002’s Chicago Confidential) finds Heller–who’s investigated such high-profile crimes as the Lindbergh kidnapping and Huey Long’s assassination–looking into the death of Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe. The book’s first half covers the movie star’s last two months, as she tries to deal with attacks on many fronts–by the movie studio that fired her; by her abusive ex-husband, Joe DiMaggio; and by the Kennedys. By the time a drug overdose claims her, there’s no shortage of people who wanted her dead. Heller, Monroe’s sometime lover, who refuses to buy the official line that she committed suicide, steps on powerful toes with his usual tenacity and stubbornness to reach the truth. Collins convincingly portrays the real-life players in the drama, who include Jimmy Hoffa and Frank Sinatra. Readers with a taste for hard-boiled roman à clef will hope that more Heller is in the offing. (Aug.)”

Chicago Lightning

Mike Hammer remains very much in the public eye. An amusing review of KISS HER GOODBYE from AV Club is getting a lot of web distribution. Once again, the reviewer spends most of his time apologizing for liking the novel. But by the end he grudgingly, embarrassedly admits he did enjoy it (and bestows a B grade, not at all bad for the snarky AV Club). You may wish to read some of the comments, which are often hilarious in their idiocy (one guy doesn’t read my stuff because I look like a “nerd” in my author photos) and the knee-jerk political correctness rants that Spillane, even deceased, even in the 21st Century, can still inspire. Also, mention Spillane and “experts” will announce a predictable list of other hardboiled writers you should be reading instead.

This web review of KISS HER GOODBYE is fun and right on the money. Worth checking out.

So is this brief but lovely review of the audio, THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER: ENCORE FOR MURDER.

Here’s a nice review of the new Criterion Blu-ray of KISS ME DEADLY. I have an advance copy and it’s a lovely package, and the film looks great. So, I say unblushingly, does my new updated cut of the documentary, MIKE HAMMER’S MICKEY SPILLANE, there as a bonus feature. I am grateful to Criterion for including it, because the sharp-looking booklet and some of the other features (notably the disappointing commentary) make the usual uniformed, sloppy, prejudiced comments about the original material. Constantly we’re told director Aldrich and screenwriter Bezzerides just “threw the novel away.” In fact, Bezzerides used Mickey’s basic plot, most of the characters (including their names), many memorable sequences (the opening of the film, for example, and the death of mobster Carl Evello) and even the fiery ending is a variation on Mickey’s. For Hollywood of the period, it’s quite faithful to its source, and evokes the surrealistic, fever-dream feel of early Hammer uncannily. Commentators continually talk about Hammer as if the books are predominantly about the P.I. taking on “Commies” (the only book of the first impactful six that does so is ONE LONELY NIGHT – a book in which SPOILER ALERT the bad guy turns out to be a thinly disguised Joe McCarthy). END SPOILER ALERT. Director Alex Cox has a piece where he’s enthusiastic about the film, but makes many dubious observations, including that Hammer is stupid in the novel and even more stupid in the film. At least Cox seems to have skimmed the book, which is more than most of the commentators have.

Finally, I recently did a little project with my frequent collaborator, actor Mike Cornelison (Pat Chambers on THE LITTLE DEATH and ENCORE FOR MURDER, and narrator of my Spillane documentary). It was a competition to write and produce a short play in just under a week. I hope to have a You Tube link to the production, called “Alley Cats,” soon.

In the meantime, here’s how we did:

The Judge’s Choice Award for night of competition, Friday, June 10, 2011.

This award signifies that the three-judge panel found “Alley Cats” the best theatrical presentation among the nine shows presented that night. That which most represented the spirit of the 711 competition, created the most engaging theatrical experience and adhered most closely to the rules of the game.

In addition, “Alley Cats” received the “Technical Excellence” award, which is voted by the technical staff of the 711 Project, and given to that production that shows the clearest vision, best use of lighting, sound and design and most concise and effective communication of their needs to the technical staff.

“Team Caligula,” which presented “Alley Cats,” is made up of Max Allan Collins (playwright), Michael Cornelison (director/actor), Nick Cornelison (producer/actor) and Jared Hammer (actor).

M.A.C.

Hammer Grand Slammer

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

This news came in shortly after the last update was posted, so you may be aware of this – it got lots of play on the net – but my radio-style audio novel, THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER: THE LITTLE DEATH (starring Stacy Keach), won the Audie for Best Original Work. The Audies are the Academy Awards of the audiobook world, so this is a big deal. Blackstone Audio posted their congratulations here.

And if you haven’t listened to THE LITTLE DEATH – or its (I feel) even better follow-up, ENCORE FOR MURDER – you are missing out. Whether a Spillane buff or M.A.C. fan (or both), you will have a great time.

Kiss Her Goodbye

Also, Stacy Keach’s reading of KISS HER GOODBYE has just been released, with a different cover than the hardcover novel. We are listening to it now, and Stacy is just great. Any writer benefits when Mr. Keach is making them look good.

Another great piece of news comes with a rave review from Dick Lochte for KISS HER GOODBYE on the front page of the LA Times Calendar section. This stunning review has been picked up all over the net, and should give the book a very nice boost.

Also exciting is having January magazine single out KISS HER GOODBYE as one of Pierce’s picks of the week. But especially cool is the cyber zine singling out Pierce’s choice and the book for a front-page rave. Check it out.

J. Kingston Pierce’s new weekly pick has already been posted, but here is last week’s pick (KISS HER GOODBYE) for your reading pleasure.

The KISS HER GOODBYE raves just keep coming. Here the terrific site Singular Points makes some singular points about the book.

The same site has a very nice write-up about meeting Mickey Spillane some years ago.

Yet another great KISS HER GOODBYE review.

And courtesy of Jeff Pierce, this time at his Kirkus mystery-reviewing blog, comes the very first advance review of BYE BYE, BABYand it’s glowing (something that hasn’t exactly always happened to me with Kirkus reviews).

Some advance love for BYE BYE, BABY is viewable at another site, as well.

And this unexpected valentine to my first series character – in fact, first novel – comes from Paul Bishop (cop, writer, TV personality, handsome devil, talented, too…why don’t I hate him?) who made BAIT MONEY his “Forgotten Book” of the week, which is a compliment…trust me.

Another first-rate writer, Mel Odom, read Paul’s write-up and waxed nostalgic about Nolan and Jon himself.

What was it John Huston said in CHINATOWN? Something about whores and ugly buildings, if they last long enough, finally gaining respect?

M.A.C.

Son Of A Pitch

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Not long ago, I was out in Hollywood for one of my rare “pitch” trips. One session was on the studio lot of a network with a very famous writer/producer, with a new Mike Hammer series the subject. Two sessions at two cable networks were for “Interstate 666″ (the hardy among you may remember my short story of that name in one of the HOT BLOOD paperbacks). The latter would be in partnership with producer Carl Amari (who did my two Mike Hammer “radio” novels, most recently THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER: ENCORE FOR MURDER). Carl has a deal with Fangoria magazine, who would “present” the film and subsequent series.

These are always long shots, but I have a lot of faith in Carl. The possible Hammer series – my involvement there would likely be limited to a script or two per season – is in the hands of my longtime friend, movie/TV agent and producing partner, Ken Levin.

ROAD TO PURGATORY remains in play, and is one of several projects I hope to do with my frequent collaborator, Phil Dingeldein, of dphilms in Rock Island.

I just heard the other day that “Interstate 666″ won Best Unproduced Screenplay at the Iowa Motion Picture Awards. I was for many years very active with the Iowa Motion Picture Association, but for the last several have stayed mostly on the sidelines. As such, I didn’t attend the awards presentation, but I’m obviously happy to win.

There was some fun coverage of various M.A.C. projects on the net this past week.

A big surprise was the attention my two Jack and Maggie Starr novels received at the Noir Journal. They don’t really consider the books “noir,” but like them anyway, and (like me) wish there were more. There’s a possibility I will be doing a third Jack and Maggie mystery, this time for Hard Case Crime – which means it will be sexier and more violent, and maybe even noir enough for the Journal to pronounce it such.

KISS HER GOODBYE is not on the bookstore shelves yet (you remember bookstores, right?) and is still a pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble; but it’ll be out in a couple of weeks, and continues to get nice coverage. A bookseller has very nice and I think smart things to say about the book here.

There are also some nice KISS HER Goodreads comments you might find worthwhile.

The director of THE LAST LULLABY, the Quarry movie, has a short but sweet interview on that subject here.

And the Collins/Beatty Wild Dog gets a brief, smart write-up at Scoop. Check it out.

Getting back to the Hollywood trip, it was a whirlwind two days, but I got to spend an evening with my pal Leonard Maltin and his wife Alice and daughter Jess, three of my favorite people. Leonard booked a booth at Musso & Frank’s, the famous old Hollywood Blvd restaurant, and the specific booth he booked (the “Chaplin” just inside the doors) was the one I used for Nate Heller and a Dorothy Kilgallen-type newspaper columnist in the forthcoming BYE BYE, BABY. A nice coincidence.

Nicer still was getting to accompany Leonard to the TCM Film Festival where I met Jane Powell and Robert Osborne (and saw Leonard interviewing Ms. Powell, followed by a big-screen screening of SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS). I kidded Mr. Osborne that I should have been an interview subject for TCM’s Mike Hammer evening (then upcoming, now past). Mr. Obsborne took my joshing seriously and started talking about budget constraints, etc. He warmed up after that, but I have to say – they should have had me on. Mr. Osborne made two errors in the introduction of THE GIRL HUNTERS, saying that most critics panned Mickey as Mike (not true – he got mostly raves) and that the film was Mickey’s debut as an actor (of course not – that was RING OF FEAR…which TCM has aired a number of times).

The three Hammer films TCM aired were KISS ME DEADLY, MY GUN IS QUICK and THE GIRL HUNTERS. Still MIA for TCM are the original I, THE JURY and THE LONG WAIT, both far better than MY GUN IS QUICK – although TCM aired a great print of that…and MGM is making the film available here.

M.A.C.