Posts Tagged ‘JC Harrow’

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.


You Only Blog Twice

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

This week’s Quarry cover is QUARRY’S DEAL. Another great Terry Beatty cover. Ordering info here.

Quarry's DealNate has been in Japan for several days now, and he’s doing a blog (daily, so far). He is posting beautiful pictures and great, often very funny commentary. He is a very talented young man and his father (me) is proud of him. So you get two blog entries this week; this one from me, and this one from Nate.

Because Nate is in Japan, I’m working a few days early on this update, to give him plenty of room to get it put together and posted. So it’s October 30 in Muscatine, Iowa, a beautiful fall day with lots of color in the trees and chill in the breeze. Tonight is the “official” local Halloween night, and I’ve carved the pumpkin (I’m damn good at it – ask Nate) [Nate:It’s true!] and Barb is putting a bunch of scary stuff on the porch…ours is one of the houses the neighbor kids flock to, although some of our goodies are getting long in the tooth (we had to throw away a talking skeleton head after years of noble service).

We’ve been watching horror movies, and Barb – who for decades didn’t like them – is now a fan and catching up. We watched the very funny RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD from the late, great Dan O’Bannon. Our favorite Halloween movie, though, is TRICK ‘R’ TREAT, and if you haven’t seen that wonderfully dark, funny anthology movie, put it on Netflix for next Halloween season. It looks great on Blu-Ray. (So does RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, which features my old pal Linnea Quigley, with whom I almost did a comic book project some years back).

This weekend I am zeroing in on the conclusion of RETURN TO PERDITION, and next week (now, as you read this) I’ll be writing the next DICK TRACY introduction. Nice to have a connection to TRACY again. Next up is THE CONSUMMATA, the DELTA FACTOR sequel by Mickey Spillane that I am completing for Hard Case Crime.

Next year is going to be a big M.A.C. year. Barb and I have ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF (by “Barbara Allan”) coming out in March, and that same month from the same publisher (Kensington), Matt Clemens and I have NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU out. In May the third of the Mike Hammers appears – KISS HER GOODBYE (do not miss this one) – and in August BYE BYE, BABY, the first Nate Heller novel in ten years. Some time next year, QUARRY’S EX will come out, as well. And from DC/Vertigo, RETURN TO PERDITION.

This will no doubt initiate a bunch of “when do you sleep” questions (and putdowns), but the fact is BYE BYE, BABY has been done for well over a year, and three of the titles are collaborations. RETURN TO PERDITION is something I’ve been working on for a year and a half. QUARRY’S EX, of course, was supposed to come out this year and was postponed. What I fear is that some or maybe all of these titles will get lost in the shuffle because there are so many of them. And that drives me crazy, because each of these books is really strong. I get beaten up and sometimes ignored because I am seen as “prolific.”

But I have no intention of slowing down. At 62, I am not fooling around – I have stories to tell. I even have band jobs to play. Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of my first professional sale of a novel – BAIT MONEY to Curtis Books. The following two years will mark the 40th anniversary of me as a published professional (BAIT MONEY came out in December 1972 but was a January 1973 book).

So if any of you connected to writer’s organizations (the MWA has had enough yearly dues out of me to afford to make a statue of me for their lobby, if they had a lobby) or mystery conventions or mystery magazines (attention: Kate Stine) are interested, 2011 is a perfectly good time to start the career tributes and to book me as a guest and to just generally make a fuss. I’m available. I’ll even bring my rock band along.

For a price.

Here’s a fun fan review of my Batman graphic novel SCAR OF THE BAT. Nice to see something from a few years back get noticed now.


Please, Sir, More Sex & Violence

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

I did a guest essay for the new Mulholland Books web site. It’s called “Sex and Violence, Please” and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Here’s a short, smart QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE review.

And here’s a tepid BIG BANG write-up, an example of the kind of review that always has me scratching my head – someone who begins by saying he doesn’t like Spillane/Hammer, then reviews the book in that context. Would you send a restaurant critic who hates Chinese food to the Ming Gardens Buffet? Just asking.

If you want to read a really lousy review of BONES: BURIED DEEP, it’s here. I post it as an example of a review by somebody who doesn’t understand the process of writing a tie-in. This novel, written before the show hit the air with only a rough cut of the pilot episode to guide us (Matt Clemens and me), gets beaten up because we are not faithful to the way the characters developed over the many years of the series. BURIED DEEP may not be a great novel, but it’s a better conceived novel than this is a review. And I plead guilty to not being psychic.

On the other hand, at least that site is reviewing tie-ins – mostly they get ignored. I am always surprised by how many “big fans” of mine do not read my tie-ins.

Oddly, some obits of the great actor Kevin McCarthy (who my buddy Ed Gorman knew very well) credit him with appearing in my indie movie MOMMY. I wish I’d had him in any film of mine.

Last week, Matt Clemens and I spent most of the week on the new J.C. Harrow proposal. We like it. And we shipped it. We’ll see.

Barb and I took a quick day-trip getaway to Des Moines on Friday, and on the way talked plotting for both Antiques Disposal (she’s doing her draft right now) and for the Nate Heller JFK novel, which I continue to research. Feels like I’m zeroing in on the plot, the shape, of what George Hagenauer calls “a monster.”


Now Hear This

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

No One Will Hear YouHere’s an advance look of the second J.C. Harrow novel, NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU, by me and Matthew Clemens. We thought Kensington did a fine job on the cover of YOU CAN’T STOP ME, but this one really knocked our socks off. I’ll let you know more later about this one, which both authors think tops the first book by a country mile.

Matt and I have been working on a proposal for the next Harrow for several weeks. We had a sample chapter ready and were tweaking the proposal when a better idea came up – not completely different, but a compelling alternative – and we junked what we had and started over. We have work meetings at the Muscatine, Iowa, Applebee’s, where our discussions of grotesque homicides routinely raise eyebrows and drop jaws. Matt and I are also working on several jigsaw puzzles – we did an NCIS and NCIS: LA not long ago, and are set to do a MENTALIST puzzle, as well. These are short stories that accompany a puzzle image, which contains the clues to a mystery (we did a number of CSI puzzles for this same client, a few years back).

Nate and his girl friend Abby (and Nate’s wonderfully crazy blue heeler, Toaster) visited over the weekend. We mostly watched the SHERLOCK BBC series on Blu-Ray (second go-round for Barb and me) and went to the entertaining if mindless RESIDENT EVIL 3-D movie…fun, but no PIRANHA 3-D (no kidding, that one’s terrific – almost Russ Meyer level over-the-top).

Nate and I continue to explore the e-book notion. Right now we’re thinking of doing new books of old material – i.e., a collection of my horror stories, a Barbara Allan short story collection (every story Barb and I have written together), two-fers of various novels (like two Mallorys to a book), etc.

Cop, writer, all around great guy Paul Bishop has one of the coolest web sites around – BISH’S BEAT – and recently he wrote what may be my favorite review yet of THE BIG BANG.

The film version of ROAD TO PERDITION has made it onto a very hip “best 10 mob movies” list. I am thrilled to be on there with some of my favorites, like GET CARTER and PRIME CUT.

I will be writing more RETURN TO PERDITION script this week and also doing my draft of the sample chapter for the next Harrow novel (assuming Matt Clemens delivers his draft soon).