Posts Tagged ‘Jack and Maggie Starr’

Carry On Spying

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

This week my update will be primarily links to the three articles and the several interviews I’ve done to promote COMPLEX 90, plus an encouraging round of reviews for the novel…as well as reviews for other books. With the links to the articles and interviews, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to hear me pontificate.

All I’ll say, by way of anything personal, is that Barb and I loved the new STAR TREK movie (STAR TREK INTO THE DARKNESS) and I may discuss it next week. The reviews and audience response has been great, but a small vocal minority hates the film, and somehow it’s being labeled a box-office disappointment despite being the top movie of the weekend, pulling in over $70 million. Longtime readers of this blog/update may remember that Barb and I have been fans so long that we go back to when “Trekkie” wasn’t an insult. How much did we like the new film? We went on Thursday, and we went back on Sunday. We haven’t seen a movie twice in a theater in ages. It’s a great movie, if you have any real liking for STAR TREK at all, and I would put it slightly above the first (also wonderful) film with this cast and director.

This week, I am working on the galleys of WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER and will be continuing preliminary work on KING OF THE WEEDS. I will also be doing my draft of the first chapter of ANTIQUES SWAP – we have to turn in the first chapter of each of the antiques novels early, so it can be previewed in the new book.

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There are a few days left to enter the giveaway for a free copy of COMPLEX 90 at My Bookish Ways.

Here is my Huff Post piece on memorable spy films from novels. There’s accompanying video.

And here are ten memorable Cold War-era spy novels that I write briefly about.

At I wrote about “The Friends of James Bond” – really, the imitators of James Bond.

Here’s a well-conducted interview at the Geek Girl Project.

And another well-done interview (by the interviewer, anyway) at Fanboy Comics.

The reviews for COMPLEX 90 keep rolling in. Here’s a nice one at Celebrity Cafe.

Here’s another good one at City of Films.

This is a very interesting if patronizing review from a writer who gets that Mike Hammer is a characterization and not a blueprint for behavior. It’s a fun read from someone who clearly dug the book but is a little ashamed about it.

This write-up at Unreality Mag is more an article than a review, but certainly worth a look.

I particularly liked this review from a young woman who doesn’t allow her dislike of the ‘60s era male hubba-hubba view of women get in the way of having a good time.

This is from Ed’s Blog – not Ed Gorman, another smart guy named Ed. (Ed Gorman, by the way, was kind of enough to link to the Huff Post piece at his blog. Thanks, Ed!)

Here’s another smart, fun review of COMPLEX 90. Something about the book seems to inspire entertaining reviews.

This is a disappointing though not entirely negative review from, surprisingly, Bookgasm, where my stuff is generally well received. Are some reviewers getting jaded, as I deliver a new Hammer every year? Well, that’s not gonna go on forever….

Here’s a swell review of ANTIQUES CHOP from Jerry’s House of Everything.

And yes, SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT is still generating some nice reviews.

The reprints of the early Quarry novels are starting to get some attention from reviewers, as in this write-up from Just a Guy That Likes to Read.

This review links the recent Lawrence Block “Keller” novel with QUARRY. Nice company, but, uh…I was first. Ungracious of me? Don’t care.

A West Virginia newspaper has a review of the Frank Nitti Trilogy from a high school junior who does a bang-up job. You don’t know how much it pleases me to see a new generation picking up on Nate Heller.

David Williams has been reviewing the Hellers in smart, succinct fashion for a while now. Here’s a link to some of his Heller reviews, starting with the most recent of his write-ups, on ANGEL IN BLACK. He doesn’t care much for two of my favorite entries in the series, FLYING BLIND and MAJIC MAN, but nobody’s perfect.


Lady, Go Die! Nominated

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

LADY, GO DIE!, last year’s Mike Hammer, has been nominated for the Scribe Award presented by the International Association of Media and Tie-in Writers. As you may recall, KISS HER GOODBYE won this award last year.

It’s a tough category this year, with science-fiction/fantasy and mystery bundled together, and more submissions in a single category than ever before in the organization’s history. Mystery and other “general” fiction will be broken back out into their own category next year. It may be a cliche to say it’s an honor just to be nominated, but with competition like this, it’s the truth.

Here is the organization’s press release, which anyone out there is welcome to cut and paste into their own blog or web site.


The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers is pleased to announce the Scribe Award nominees for 2013.

Acknowledging excellence in this very specific skill, IAMTW’s Scribe Awards deal exclusively with licensed works that tie in with other media such as television, movies, gaming, or comic books. They include original works set in established universes, and adaptations of stories
that have appeared in other formats and cross all genres. Tie-in works run the gamut from westerns to mysteries to procedurals, from science fiction to fantasy to horror, from action and adventure to superheroes. Gunsmoke, Murder She Wrote, CSI, Star Trek, Star Wars, Shadowrun, Resident Evil, James Bond, Iron Man – these represent just a few.

The Scribe Awards are presented at ComicCon San Diego.

IAMTW congratulates the following nominees:

Darksiders: The Abomination Vault Ari Marmell
Pathfinder: City of the Fallen Sky Tim Pratt
Mike Hammer: Lady, Go Die! Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins

Star Trek: The Persistence of Memory David Mack
Star Trek: Rings of Time Greg Cox
Tannhäuser: Rising Sun, Falling Shadows Robert Jeschonek
Dungeons and Dragons Online: Skein of Shadows Marsheila Rockwell

Poptropica Astroknights Island Tracey West
Clockwork Angels Kevin Anderson

Batman: The Dark Knight Legend Stacia Deutsch

Batman: The Dark Knight Rises Greg Cox
Dark Shadows: Dress Me in Dark Dreams Marty Ross
Dark Shadows: The Eternal Actress Nev Fountain
Doctor Who Companion Chronicles: Project Nirvana Cavan Scott/Mark Wright

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My draft of ANTIQUES A GO GO will be completed this week. I have been “in the bunker” (as we say around here), working for two weeks with only one day off. I had intended to take a day off this weekend, but we ran into a plot hole that needed patching, which had a domino effect that Barb and I had to chase through the entire manuscript. The good news is that it improved the book, specifically its mystery aspect.

Barb’s work on the novel has been stellar, from providing a very good 200-page-plus rough draft to packets of information on every New York/New Jersey aspect of the story (it takes place at a comic con in Manhattan with a detour to New Jersey and a strangely familiar strip joint called the Badda-Boom). Taking Brandy and Mother out of Serenity has been tricky and frankly hard, but I think it’s going to be rewarding.

With any luck, the book will go go to our editor in New York around Thursday – assuming our final read-through doesn’t reveal another nasty plot hole that will send the Barbara Allan road crew out with shovels and hot asphalt.

Barb and I did take time off to see 42, the Jackie Robinson bio-pic (we can’t stay away from our new local theater). We almost didn’t go because the previews made us feel like we already knew the story, and that every beat of it was going to be predictable. Well, the latter was sort of true, but the execution of the film, the sharp dialogue, the strong characterization, and the effective acting (Harrison Ford does well in his first character role as pioneering baseball owner Branch Rickey) make this one you should see. There is a majestic score that works too hard at telling us what to feel, but that may be designed to take the edge of the harshness of what Robinson and his wife were put through. The period detail is excellent (although there is the occasional dialogue slip – “We’re on the same page” is not a late ‘40s expression). Small carps. Big rewards. Don’t skip this one.

The Quarry Cinemax pilot continues to get widespread Net coverage, but I won’t bother you with links to any of it, because it’s all been covered before.

But here’s a really nice, actually wonderful review of SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT.

And a cool SEDUCTION review at the wonderfully named Trash Mutant.

Yet another SEDUCTION review here.

Here’s a belated A KILLING IN COMICS review, a tad on the patronizing side but okay.

And here’s a brief but very nice tribute to Mickey Spillane.


“Veronica Mars” and Kickstarter

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

It’s been all over the place – not just the Net – that the “Veronica Mars” movie has been funded via Kickstarter. The two-million dollar goal was reached in ten hours (and I contributed, thanks to Nate giving me a heads up). Last time I looked they were at $3.5 mil. “Veronica Mars” is a huge favorite among the Collins clan, and I rate it as probably the best private eye show of all time (make it a tie with “City of Angels”). So this is very good news. No, I did not contribute enough to get a speaking part….

Just as this is happening, serious discussions are under way to do an M.A.C. Kickstarter project. We are looking at doing a “Fangoria/Dreadtime Stories” film here in the Midwest, and the goal will be considerably less than $2 mil. Carl Amari, Phil Dingeldein, Nate Collins and I will be meeting very soon to put together our plan of attack. A draft of the script is written – “House of Blood” – and you can access the radio show version, free right here.

Stay tuned for developments.

Warm Bodies / Oz the Great and Powerful

Barb and I saw two very good movies this weekend – the zombie romance “Warm Bodies” and “Oz the Great and Powerful.” The former initially didn’t grab me, as I think I’m zombied out; but it quickly showed itself to be very much its own quirky animal, clever and funny with a surprisingly good heart. The latter we saw at the new 10-screen cineplex in Muscatine, a lavish movie palace that I can’t believe is in our little home town – we’ve had four shabby screens for so long, I feel like I’m hallucinating. “Oz” is something of a return to “Evil Dead” form for director Sam Raimi, and James Franco is charming and funny as the charlatan at its center. We saw this in an IMAX-style theater in 3-D – excellent, eye-popping 3-D, Raimi really taking advantage of the medium – and it was enormous fun, a valentine to L. Frank Baum and the original MGM musical. It’s not perfect – the pacing can be sluggish and ten or fifteen minutes of trims would have made this a near masterpiece. On the other hand, we walked out of JACK THE GIANT SLAYER a few weeks ago (starring Nicolas Hoult, who has the odd honor of having the lead in both the excellent WARM BODIES and the dreadful JACK at the same time).

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SEDUCTION reviews continue to pop up, like this great one at that stellar book-review site, Bookgasm.

Here, at Books and Writers is a brief interview that covers some new ground.

My old pal Mike Gold – whom with George Hagenauer of course, was instrumental in the research of the first five Nate Heller novels – weighs in with a clever review at Comic Mix. Lovely words, although I do think he sells the band Seduction of the Innocent rather short.

We interrupt these SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT reviews to bring you a swell LADY, GO DIE! one from Popcults.

Meanwhile, back at SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT, Spinetingler has a review that couldn’t have been much better if I wrote it myself.

Finally, here’s another excellent review, this time from the American Culture.


A Buck-Twenty-Five A Movie

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

If any of you are interested, THE BLACK BOX, the boxed set DVD collection of my indie movies – MOMMY, MOMMY’S DAY, REAL TIME: SIEGE AT LUCAS STREET MARKET and SHADES OF NOIR (which includes the original, longer cut of MIKE HAMMER’S MICKEY SPILLANE as well as the Brian Keith “Mike Hammer” pilot from 1954) – is on sale at for $4.98. That’s a savings of $30.

I want to thank all of you who sent supportive comments (sometimes as private e-mails) after my post last week, complaining about various aspects of the writer’s life, now that I am officially old enough to be a complaining coot. I am considering putting a rocking chair on the porch and writing further updates there on a laptop.

For the record, it took four work days to put ASK NOT back together (also for the record, my editor at Forge was completely on my side and reinstated everything I requested). To give you an idea of how extreme the ASK NOT copy edit was, I also dealt this week with the copy-edited manuscript of the upcoming thriller WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU from Thomas & Mercer. It took one work day.

Dead Man Down

We saw an interesting crime movie that I am going to recommend, though it is not perfect: DEAD MAN DOWN. It’s directed by Niels Arden Oplev, of the original GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, and stars the “girl” herself, the indelible Noomi Rapace, probably my favorite actress working today. I used to not care for Colin Ferrell, but as his star has faded somewhat, his acting has improved immeasurably – he’s terrific here in a subtle, understated performance as a guy who is anything but subtle and understated. It’s a revenge film, with a great premise, but I sometimes felt the foreign director didn’t entirely understand the English language script – it’s a little too long, and some things don’t quite track. But the central romance between two damaged souls and the outlandish shoot-‘em-up finale are well worth the time of anybody interested in crime movies. It has one of the great screen Mike Hammers, Armand Assante, in a small but pivotal role.


The reviews for SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT continue to roll in, in a very positive way. Let’s start with something I rarely do – customer reviews at Amazon, which includes one from Bookreporter. By the way, if you want to help out your favorite authors (including, I hope, me), a great, easy way is to post a brief four- or five-star review at Amazon, assuming you like what you’ve read. Those reviews really, really count.

Here’s a cool one from the International House of Geek (the fantastic blog names just keep coming).

And here’s a great one from Mystery People.

A somewhat horror-tinged positive review appears here, at The October Country (R.I.P., Ray Bradbury).

Here’s a patronizing but ultimately positive review from the UK’s Telegraph.

Here’s Comic Buzz on SEDUCTION. I’m very pleased that so many comics blogs have picked up on the book.

And what author doesn’t love getting an A+, as happens here at Fandom Post.

Publisher’s Weekly is getting cranky in its old age, but this review of the upcoming ANTIQUES CHOP is pretty good.

PW also isn’t much impressed with the upcoming Mike Hammer, COMPLEX 90, considering it more of the same. First of all, if somebody gives you a hot-fudge sundae when you order one, do you complain that it’s more of the same? Second of all, this is the book where Mike Hammer goes to Russia. Not more of the same – one of the most distinctive books in the series, in my opinion, one of Mickey’s most unusual, even unique plots.

Scroll down for a tardy but fantastic review of THE CONSUMMATA.

And finally Pop Cults weighs in with a late but lovely LADY, GO DIE! review.