Posts Tagged ‘JC Harrow’

Jon Breen And J. Kingston Pierce

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Two of my favorite reviewers had major news this week.

First, Jon Breen – who has been one of my biggest boosters for thirty years – is stepping down from his post at EQMM – The Jury Box. For my money, Breen is the best reviewer/critic of his generation. It’s a sad day for me to see Jon leave reviewing behind – from a selfish standpoint, since he’s a reviewer who usually likes my stuff – but I congratulate him on an incredible run. Further congrats are in order, because Jon is a fine mystery writer himself, one of the best traditionalists around, and this will give him time to get back to tending his own literary garden. He promises two columns per year at EQMM, discussing short stories and classic reprints.

Jon’s last regular column graciously singles out a dozen of his favorite writers including yrs trly, by way of a nice mention of the QUARRY reprint series from Perfect Crime. He even calls the first novel, QUARRY (aka THE BROKER) a “landmark” work. Yup, he showed excellent taste to the very last….

Second, J. Kingston Pierce (that’s Jeff to me) is the auteur behind the great crime-fiction blog the Rap Sheet (part of January Magazine). He is, thank God, not stepping down; in fact, he’s stepping it up, taking over the Kirkus crime-fiction blog, too. This may take some getting used to for me, since Kirkus has generally lambasted my work during the same thirty years that Jon Breen praised me. In fairness, Kirkus liked one of the dozen Hellers (NEON MIRAGE) and have been keen on the Spillane/Collins Mike Hammers, so far.

Anyway, Jeff has posted his first blog and he too has graciously included me as he discussed his favorite “comfort food” authors. This does not mean that my work resembles meatloaf with gravy and mashed potatoes and corn (well, some corn), rather that I am a dependable entertainer. Read about it yourself.

The first dual review of the two J.C. Harrow “Killer TV” novels has appeared, and it’s a doozy. Gotta check this out.

David Burke did nice little write-up at Matt Clemens’ hometown paper, the Quad City Times. A fun read. You’ll note that the headline refers to Matt as my “friend,” a downgrade from the Yahoo piece that credited him as the sole author of the CSI novels. (Matt – I told you there would be a reckoning!)

I can’t explain it, but according to this website, YOU CAN’T STOP ME is one of the ten bestselling novels of 2011 so far. I’ve heard we’re high on the Amazon UK lists, too. Back those trucks of money up to the house any time, guys!

We had some nice coverage, including a You Tube review, of THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER VOL. 2: THE LITTLE DEATH. The reason last year’s release is getting precedence over the current one is LITTLE DEATH’s Audie nomination.

We also received an outstanding review from Dick Lochte on ENCORE FOR MURDER in the new Mystery Scene. No link available, but it says in part: “Expect a lot of action, snappy patter, much of it gleefully non-PC, and several nice plot touches, including a clever method of cleaning dirty money, all smoothly presented by a full cast.” He also says the CD presentation resembles “a particularly well-written three-part episode” from the Stacy Keach TV version of Hammer. I will note, however, that the only time Stacy has appeared as Hammer in presentations actually derived directly from Spillane material is on THE LITTLE DEATH and ENCORE FOR MURDER.

Finally, I’m pleased to report that ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF made the top 50 hardcover mysteries list at Barnes and Noble (#40).


Even More Free Books!

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
Antiques Bizarre

We were able to lay hands on a few more copies – ten each – of ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF by Barbara Allan and NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU by M.A.C. and Matthew Clemens. We also have ten copies of the just published paperback of ANTIQUES BIZARRE by Barbara Allan.

First come, first serve, to anyone pledging to review the book on a blog and/or on Amazon (and/or Barnes & Noble). Ask for one or both or even all three, depending on your interest and taste.

When these ten (of each) are gone, the days of a free lunch – or anyway, a book to read while you’re eating the lunch you paid for – are over.

E-mail me at and include your snail mail address. We can’t honor requests from overseas. We only do business with good law-biding Americans! Or maybe it’s because it’s so damn expensive mailing books internationally….

Bill Crider, that terrific writer and the host of my favorite mystery website, has written a wonderful review of NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.

Matt Clemens and I did a joint interview you may find of interest at

And Matt was interviewed by Sean Leary a while back, but it’s only turning up now on the net. Check it out.

Our local paper, the Muscatine Journal, gave Barb and me a nice write-up about the Trash ‘n’ Treasures ANTIQUES series, among other things, including info about a book signing coming up on Saturday, March 19, at the Davenport Barnes & Noble. This is the first signing in support of ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF and NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.

I hear from fans all the time, bemoaning the fact that we don’t do as many signings as we used to, but signings just aren’t what they used to be. We are limiting ourselves to our home area, and a few places we get to now and then, anyway – like Chicago and St. Louis. But we are attending the St. Louis Bouchercon, and it’s looking likely that Crusin’ will be playing, probably with some guest stars from the mystery community.

Speaking of Crusin’, we appeared Saturday night (March 5) at the Thirsty Camel, a bar/restaurant outside tiny Conesville, Iowa. The Camel is a big tin building, beautifully appointed in rustic style, that you approach by driving down a dirt road with cornfield on either side. It’s way back from the road – though a very modern lektrical sign points the way – by a rodeo set-up. This is as down-home as I get, by the way.

The Camel has burned down twice, and this new version is sparkling new. The original Camel was one of the Crusin’ regular stops of our golden era – 1975–1980. For about two years of that period, I was a professional musician – the band very successful, and showcasing Bruce Peters (the greatest guitarist and showman ever to come out of Iowa), and my buddy Paul Thomas on bass – both gone, now. Powerhouse Ric Steed drummed. Everybody sang, but Bruce was the best singer the band ever had.

The current version of Crusin’ features a guitar player who challenges Bruce’s mastery of the instrument – Jim Van Winkle – and also has original Daybreakers member Chuck Bunn as part of the line-up, with rock-steady drummer Steve Kundel a longtime veteran of the group (first coming in around 1989). Even with this strong a line-up, going in to play in a part of the world where our most popular line-up is frankly legendary was slightly intimidating…but I am pleased to report that we had a large, enthusiastic crowd, and quite a few people stopped me to say that we sounded just as good as we had “back in the day.” And it looks to be a once-a-month venue for us again.


Hey Kids – Free E-Books!

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

The offer to send out advance copies of ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF, NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU, and KISS HER GOODBYE got plenty of responses. Books have been shipped. We ran through the Spillane title very quickly, though, and we were not able to fill requests outside the USA.

If you still would like review copies, and have a review blog or write reviews for a newspaper or magazine, you can write me at, and I’ll pass the requests along to the publishers. Be specific about which book (or books) you’re interested in.

BUT we have a brand new offer for free e-books…

…starting March 1 and going through March 3rd (my birthday), you can get a free download of the first Trash ‘n’ Treasures mystery, ANTIQUES ROADKILL at all e-book retailers. Those of you who have ignored these books because they are not hardboiled now have an opportunity to see what you’ve been missing, and for free.

AND…you can get a free download of the first J.C. Harrow “Killer TV” novel, YOU CAN’T STOP ME, also from March 1 through March 3rd (did I mention that was my birthday?). Again, those of you who ignored this novel when it was published, because it was a CSI-type book and not a Quarry or Heller, can get a free look. We had a great response on YOU CAN’T STOP ME, and the early reaction to the sequel, NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU, is even stronger.

Antiques Roadkill
You Can't Stop Me
Please take advantage of this generous offer from Kensington, and spread the word to any of your friends who read e-books. It helps spread the word about both series, and the last time a promotion of this kind was tried for us, it made a top five bestseller out of the first Harrow.

How can we do this, you ask? Volume, volume, volume!

Really, it’s the dope dealer ploy – first one’s free.

Last week there was a lot of Collins coverage on the net. Not so much in the last seven days, though a very fun write-up of my second, long-out-of-print MIKE HAMMER comic strip collection turned up at the fun blog, Davy Crockett’s Almanack. You can find this book and the first volume as well on e-bay without much difficulty.

The prolific reviewer Harriet Klausner has posted a very nice review of ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF. Some people criticize Klausner for reviewing too much, but her write-ups get carried all over the net, and we’re glad to have her support.

See you next week. On March 1st. Two days before my birthday (not yet a national holiday in all states).


Hey Kids, Free Books!

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Some really terrific reviews have come in, and some generally cool coverage of M.A.C. stuff past and present. I’ll share all that with you below, but first, I want to let the reviewers among you know that I have some copies available for you, if you want to review one of the new books on your blog or at Amazon and/or Barnes & Noble.

I have half a dozen advance reading copies of KISS HER GOODBYE, the new Mike Hammer novel. We have four hardcover copies of ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF available, and eight copies of NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.

Just e-mail me at, provide your snail mail address, and I’ll send these out till I run out.

Also, here’s a fun bonus for followers of this weekly blog – a site has posted my BATMAN comic strip story from 1989. I was hired to develop and write a BATMAN syndicated strip, teamed with the great Marshal Rogers, and then was forced by the Tribune Company Syndicate to quit or else be fired from DICK TRACY (which they soon did anyway) or be sued. The story appeared without my byline, but I wrote it, and here it is. It’s a Catwoman tale.

Okay, back to the reviews. Romantic Times has given ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF a flat-out rave. Their reviews include some plot summary, which I’ve omitted:

ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF ****1/2 (highest rating any mysteries get this month in RT)

If you like laugh-out-loud funny mysteries, this next Trash ‘n’ Treasures installment will make your day. Place your bets on this screwball comedy cozy where the clues are thick and the mother-daughter dynamics are off the charts.

The Kingdom Books site has a lovely review of KNOCK-OFF, too.

Craig Clarke, at his fine site Somebody Dies, has reviewed NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU. Craig is a big supporter of my work, but he did not like the first Collins/Clemens novel, YOU CAN’T STOP ME, and made no bones about it – he didn’t even bother finishing it. He made some apt criticisms of the first novel, and Matt and I took them to heart, so it’s gratifying indeed that the first major review of the novel comes from Craig…and it’s a rave.

The ubiquitous Harriet Klausner also likes NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU, and her reviews are carried all over the web. Some don’t like Harriet because she reviews so much, and often gives favorable reviews – neither of these seem like bad things to Matt and me! has a lengthy excerpt from NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU here, and their own offering of reading copies. also has posted an informational piece on NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.

Though it’s very early for a book not coming out till next May, rave reviews are already coming in for the Spillane/Collins KISS HER GOODBYE. Check out this incredible review from the talented comics writer Ron Fortier.

And I would rate Bill Crider’s review of KISS HER GOODBYE, at his incredible Pop Culture Magazine site, among the most gratifying I’ve ever received. Few know pulp mysteries better, and Bill is one of the most solid mystery writers of his generation. Unfortunately, he is also one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, so I find it impossible to resent him. Anyway, check this out!

Yet another article labels ROAD TO PERDITION one of the 10 Best Comic Book movies. A fun, smart list also worth checking out.

That terrific all-around-pro James Reasoner has said some very nice and (I think) smart things about the new Perfect Crime reprint of QUARRY (aka THE BROKER), the first Quarry novel. I have to admit it’s weird and even disconcerting to read a review of a novel you wrote going on 40 years ago, but a good review is a good review. And I’ll be damned if Reasoner doesn’t “get it,” which is important. His description of what I’m up to in QUARRY is exactly what I’m up to in the novels about the character written in the last few years. So either I’m consistent, or I haven’t grown a whit.

The always interesting site Noirboiled Notes has posted a second patch of Five Quick Questions with me, this time strictly about me and Mickey Spillane.

Paul Bishop is a real cop, great guy and first-rate writer, plus he has a terrific site called Bish’s Beat. He talks about both KISS HER GOODBYE and the QUARRY reprints from Perfect Crime here.

I am heartsick at the news about Borders, crossing my fingers that the stores in Davenport and Des Moines aren’t among those closing. These are choppy, dangerous waters in the book biz, but as long as there are readers, guys like me should manage. Nate and I are still discussing doing some e-book publishing, and keep an eye out in the coming weeks for a Top Suspense Group e-book anthology.