Posts Tagged ‘Interviews’

M.A.C.: Most Wanted

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Quarry & Mike Hammer News

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

The New Orleans Times-Picayune interviewed me recently and if you will follow this link, you’ll find pictures from the set of the Cinemax QUARRY TV series as well as a three-part interview with me that is the most in-depth look at Quarry and his creation that I’ve ever provided.

I admit I was shocked that they used my entire interview – I had thought I was being interviewed for background on a broader piece, and expected a handful of things I said to be used as “pull” quotes. But they ran the whole thing, which is great, although occasionally I seem to be speaking English as a second (or perhaps third) language.

I THE JURY 82

For Mike Hammer fans, there’s good news – the under-rated Armand Assante I, THE JURY has received its first (albeit no frills) DVD release in America. I would have much preferred a Blu-ray with special features (like a commentary from yours truly), but we take what we can get.

For years what I had was a Japanese laser-disc that blurred all the sexy bits, and there’s a lot of ‘em. This is a made-on-demand DVD from Fox Cinema Archives and can be found at Amazon and elsewhere for around twenty bucks. Some people are gun-shy about MOD DVD’s, but I have tons of ‘em and have never had a problem. One proviso: While the DVD is in my house as I type this, I have yet to break the shrink wrap and screen it. If I’m disappointed in the transfer, I’ll let you know next week. [Note from Nate: Amazon instant video also has it in HD.]

Mickey did not like this version of I, THE JURY, but I am a fan. I would put it in the upper tier of Spillane films, probably in this order: KISS ME DEADLY; I, THE JURY (‘53) and THE GIRL HUNTERS (a tie for second place); and the I, THE JURY remake with Assante. The latter was a hard movie to see back in ‘82. Terry Beatty and I drove to a Chicago suburb to see it (returning the same night).

Here’s a brief excerpt on the I, THE JURY remake from MICKEY SPILLANE ON SCREEN by Jim Traylor and myself:

Assante’s performance has a psychotic edge that makes his Hammer, updated or not, the definitive screen portrayal to date of the young Mike Hammer. Somewhere in there with the Brando and Stallone bits is a sense of the Mick himself: Assante has watched Spillane, obviously, and has the bantam walk down pat – as with Biff Elliot and Spillane, Assante confirms that a small, broad-chested Hammer has a bulldog rather than bully quality needed for character empathy in the page-to-screen transfer of the brawling hero.

The Assante Hammer is outraged; he’s prepared to risk anything for his goal, because his Hammer simply does not give a damn; if he dies in the course of his quest, so be it – “You take life too serious,” he advises several terrified unwilling participants in his various war games. Another time he tells Charlotte that he “may take a few suspects out along the way – I’m not perfect.” Dat’s Mike Hammer, ‘80s style.

Predictably, Spillane despised the film; most of his objections stemmed from (Larry) Cohen’s script, understandably displeased that his straightforward detective plot had been abandoned. He reserved his most dismissive comment for Assante: “He wore Italian heels,” as if this were enough to invalidate the film.

Even the update’s most obviously strong point did not impress Spillane – he dismissed the portrayal of Velda as “a preppie.” If so, this is a pistol-packing preppie, who likely shot the alligator on her shirt.

Very proud of that book, by the way. I believe it’s sold under 100 copies, and I wish I were kidding. If you like Hammer/Spillane, don’t be put off by the high price.

Elsewhere on the Hammer front, KILL ME, DARLING seems to be very well-received, but we could really use some more Amazon reviews. Last time I looked we only have five. I realize this is a very old song I’m singing, but if you like a book, if you like an author, take time to post at least a brief one or two sentence review and a nice high-star rating, to boost them. I speak mostly of myself here, obviously, but you really should be doing this for any author whose work you like.

Today (Monday as I write this), Barb and I will dig in on the first of two-days work on prepping ANTIQUES FATE for Kensington. I finished my draft on Friday, and we took Saturday off, meeting my research associate George Hagenauer for lunch at a great Italian restaurant in Dubuque called Vinnie Venucchi’s. Among other things, George and I (with Barb kibitzing) discussed the next Heller. The rest of the day Barb and I spent in that cool tourist trap Galena, where I was able to pick up the last two Richard Bissell books I needed at a used bookstore (Bissell wrote 7 ½ Cents, the basis for the musical Pajama Game, and is my favorite Iowa author other than Barb and me) (and Ed Gorman).

Sunday I did a draft of the pilot outline for the TV project that I can’t talk about yet.

So, anyway, today I will be reading the ANTIQUES FATE manuscript and making corrections and revisions in red pen, and Barb will be entering those and tweaking as she goes. For those keeping count, this is the third novel I’ve finished this year (two of them collaborative, of course). Actually, I finished four novels this year, but the Heller novel, BETTER DEAD, was completed early in January on the heels of several months of writing last year.

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Here’s a very nice review of KILL ME, DARLING.

And finally here’s a graphic novels to film piece that highlights ROAD TO PERDITION.

M.A.C.

When the Rain Comes

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

My band Crusin’ appeared Sunday evening at the Pearl City Plaza here in Muscatine, Iowa. We are on an occasionally interrupted hiatus that has shifted our twenty-four or so bookings a year to a mere four or five. This gig was a concert, an hour-and-a-half of ‘60s (and some later) rock plus a few originals, scheduled to be performed outside on a large patio overlooking the Mississippi River. The concert was to begin at six p.m., and we started setting up around four on one of the most beautiful afternoons this stingy summer has offered up. The nation has been suffering extreme weather, but Iowa is an old hand at that – this summer so far, with hell-and-hailstone thunderstorms and more or less constant tornado warnings, has tested our mettle, though.

Fifteen minutes before start time on this lovely day, dark clouds began rolling in. So did our audience, nearly two-hundred hearty souls lugging their own lawn chairs and such. The sky spattered and spit some, but we decided to go on with the show anyway. Come rain or come shine, as the great Johnny Mercer said.

During the third number, the sky exploded and we frantically began tearing down equipment, while trying not to get electrocuted, and moved inside the building, which was essentially a narrow atrium not designed for a concert. The audience thinned by half but was still considerable, and seated themselves on a stairway or on the chairs they’d brought, while many helped us with our equipment. Everyone was fairly soaked.

We dried things off with paper towels, set up only half of the P.A. and did a few other things to accommodate the smallish space. The result was an intimate, almost cabaret-like feel, and we completed the concert to a warm, ever-ready to applaud audience. It was one of those funny situations, a disaster that turned into something special and memorable. We performed very well, particularly considering we hadn’t played for several months (but for a brush-up rehearsal a few days before). Just the kind of gig I long for, the opposite of the occasionally dreary barroom appearances we’d drifted into the last year or so.

Crusin 2014
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So what I am up to, where writing is concerned? If you follow these updates, you’ll know I wrote one novel after another from January through June. I’m due a breather.

Here’s the kind of breather you get around the Collins domicile: I’ve written an introduction for a volume of the CRIME DOES NOT PAY comics collections for Dark Horse; co-wrote a sample chapter of the next ANTIQUES novel (ANTIQUES FATE) with Barb; plotted and then wrote a synopsis with Barb of the next ANTIQUES novella (ANTIQUES ST. NICKED); wrote an essay on vengeance as a theme in thrillers for an upcoming Amazon mystery/crime site (shockingly, Mickey Spillane comes up); and am preparing to write an intro for a new publication of the three Jack Carter novels by the late great UK writer, Ted Lewis – I’m doing JACK CARTER’S LAW, the prequel to GET CARTER (aka JACK’S RETURN HOME).

I’m pleased and at least mildly astonished to report that SUPREME JUSTICE continues to ride high on the Kindle bestseller list. We have racked up a dizzying 1315 reviews and a four-star average. The sniping from some far right readers continues and maybe helps fuel interest. We are two weeks past the Amazon promo event that propelled us, and are still #1 in Legal thrillers and #2 in Political thrillers. We’re at #37 in Kindle books overall, #14 in Mystery and #10 in Thrillers.

I am in discussions with Amazon to do two more Joe Reeder/Patti Rogers thrillers. Matt Clemens and I want to do a trilogy with one book per each branch of government.

I recently gave my first interview on SUPREME JUSTICE and the left/right controversy it’s spawned. Read it right here.

Also, Matt and I were asked to write a “Day in the Life of Joe Reeder” for Dru’s Booking Musing.

Another nice review can be seen here.

Here’s a mixed review but an opportunity to win a free copy of the book.

And here’s a short but sweet SJ review.

The film version of ROAD TO PERDITION continues to rank high on lists of comic-book movies – here we’re one of the best five.

And finally here’s a nice KING OF THE WEEDS review from the always interesting At the Scene of the Crime site.

M.A.C.

New Mike Hammer Novel Out Today

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014
King of the Weeds Hardcover
Hardcover:

E-book:

King of the Weeds Audio
Audio MP3 CD:

KING OF THE WEEDS, the sixth Spillane/Collins Mike Hammer novel, is available now. Those of you who received advance copies can post Amazon reviews now. (Thanks to those of you advance ANTIQUES CON readers who’ve gotten around to posting Amazon reviews.)

Also available will be Stacy Keach’s audio reading of the novel, pictured here. I haven’t heard this yet but will be listening to it very soon – hearing perhaps the most famous screen Mike Hammer read these new Mike Hammer books is a very special treat for me.

As you probably know, the Edgar-nominated Mike Hammer short story, “So Long Chief,” did not win. The MWA has always had a tough time with Mike Hammer and Mickey Spillane (don’t get me started), so I am not surprised. That’s why I didn’t attend the banquet.

Instead, I stayed home and finished another Hammer story for the same magazine (The Strand), “Fallout,” which deals with Mike Hammer and Pat Chamber getting rockily back on friendly footing after the events of THE GIRL HUNTERS. This the sixth Mike Hammer short story I have developed from shorter Hammer fragments in Mickey’s files. That leaves one left to do. These seven stories, plus “Grave Matters” (a Hammer story I originally wrote as a “Mike Danger” with Mickey’s input) would round out what I hope will be an eventual collection. What’s nice about the fragments is that they are the start of Spillane stories, and nobody every wrote better beginnings in fiction than Mickey.

J. Kingston Pierce of the essential blog The Rap Sheet several years ago did the definitive in-depth interview with me. He has returned with a similarly in-depth follow-up on the occasion of the publication of KING OF THE WEEDS. It’s in the two parts. The first part, which is entirely Hammer-centric, appears at the Kirkus web site.

Part two, which is much wider-ranging, appears at the Rap Sheet.

Here’s a brief but very nice KING OF THE WEEDS review at Singular Points.

The American Airlines in-flight magazine has done an overview of continuations of mystery and thriller characters, including Mike Hammer and a quote from me.

And here’s a better-late-than-never one of THE FIRST QUARRY.

* * *

I had my first band job of the year Saturday night. Crusin’ played for a plus-40 Singles Dance, a perfect crowd for us, and a nice crowd danced every song and applauded after every song, too.

This is part of a “hiatus” year for the band due to our drummer, Steve Kundel, having school age kids who generated lots of concerts, sports events and other literal fun and games that require something once known as “parenting.”

In addition, we were worn down by a fairly rigorous schedule for a bunch of guys with real jobs (if, in my case, writing can be called that). We played 24 times last year. This year I have scheduled five. And no bars.

It felt very good to be with the guys again and out there performing once more. I strongly considered hanging it up at the end of last year, but couldn’t face the thought of having live rock ‘n’ roll performing a thing of my past. All of us – with the exception of our young (44) drummer – are reeling in the years, and the rigor of the last five steady years of playing is best behind us. The playing itself is physically demanding – I refuse to sit down while playing keyboards – and the loading of the equipment remains a delight, if by “delight” you mean waking up the next morning in screaming lower-back pain.

I do think fulltime writers like me need to have some outside activity, and I don’t mean mall-walking. It’s nice to get out in the world and see what’s happening – even if it does include a geezer who comes up to the stage and wonders aloud, “Don’t you people do any waltzes?”

That’s right, girls, he’s single….

M.A.C.