Posts Tagged ‘JFK Assassination’

Target Lancer Out Today

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Today (Nov. 27 2012) marks the official publication date of the new Nate Heller novel, TARGET LANCER, although it’s been spotted (snagged) in bookstores here and there for several weeks.

As is often the case, I didn’t receive my copies till just a few days ago (day before Thanksgiving). It’s a handsome book, and features a raised, foil title that is very attractive, and a nice surprise. I hope the book attracts some attention, both for Nate Heller and for the relatively unknown information about the JFK assassination that it reveals.

I am preparing to go out on a two-week book tour for TARGET LANCER, and I face a problem lots of writers do: my mind is filled with the novel I just completed, ASK NOT, the follow-up to LANCER, and I have to shift gears to discuss what to me is an “old” book.

I am happy and frankly relieved to have finished The JFK Trilogy (which began with BYE BYE, BABY). Funny thing – I have lately started to get “name-dropping” criticisms where Heller himself is concerned, and this goes back to the people who don’t grasp the concept of the saga…namely, that we are accessing and experiencing famous crimes/mysteries/events through the eyes of a traditional Chandleresque private detective. And that it is therefore necessary for past cases, however famous, to be mentioned and occasionally dealt with. I believe Heller and I do that with humor – nobody has to remind Heller that he’s been bodyguard to a shocking number of famous murder victims. To me it’s curious that nobody questions Perry Mason having hundreds of murder trials (factoring in the TV show – but even just the books it’s around 100) or Poirot and Nero Wolfe having seventy-some murder cases each, and so on. Readers seem to get the “suspension of disbelief” aspect of the genre in those cases. But some get tripped up by the famous nature of Heller’s cases and clients.

The fact is, Heller almost always fills the role (or roles) of somebody in history – often a real-life private eye. That lays a far more believable groundwork than any strictly fictional case could ever provide. And it occurred to me the other day that I had completed a JFK Trilogy in which JFK himself appears only once, in a not terribly flattering scene (in BYE BYE, BABY).

The reviews so far for TARGET LANCER have been stellar, but I anticipate getting the “name-dropping” dig again. One critic, who liked the book a lot, complained about Heller breaking the fourth wall and talking to the reader. That’s not going to stop, either.

If you still need a nudge, check out the sample chapter (the first) available at the fine Criminal Element web site. [Note from Nate: Leave a comment at that link before November 30 to enter a drawing for a free copy!]

Here’s a spiffy TARGET LANCER review you might want to check out.

And here’s a cool if short mention of LANCER.

Part one of a three-part in-depth look at my Nolan and Jon series has been posted at the Violent World of Parker (that’s Westlake’s Parker, not Spenser’s Parker). It’s very interesting and well-done, focusing on the first three novels (MOURN THE LIVING, BAIT MONEY, BLOOD MONEY), and not always loving them. That’s okay. I realize I was a precocious kid and talented but not really good yet. My God, MOURN was written, what? 44 years ago! As you might guess, I made a couple of comments that are posted there as well, which you may find worthwhile.

For those keeping track, I have just completed a screenplay called HOUSE OF BLOOD that I hope will be my next indie movie. It’s a back-door pilot for a Fangoria’s Dreadtime Stories TV series (based on producer Carl Amari’s radio show that I’ve written about half of the scripts for). It may be a Kickstarter project, so stay tuned for lots more info.

Next up is a thriller called WHAT DOESN’T KILL YA. Matt Clemens is on board for this one, and we’re meeting today for him to deliver story and research materials he’s been working on. I start the book tomorrow, but it will be complicated by the two-week book tour.

You may have noticed I am going directly from one project into another (the screenplay, based on a radio script of mine, was started the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and completed the Sunday after), which is not ideal. But things got piled up on me this year. ASK NOT was a punishing project, particularly the research.

And I have also been very busy helping prepare fourteen back-list titles of mine for Thomas & Mercer to reprint – that’s fourteen covers, cover copy, galley proofs, etc., that had to be dealt with. These novels appear next month (that’s right, December 2012), as both trade paperbacks and e-books, and I’ll have more info for you soon.

Even with me working intermittently on the HOUSE OF BLOOD script, we managed to have a great Thanksgiving with Nate and his bride Abby and their demented dog Toaster. Barb cooked a fantastic traditional meal that calls into extreme doubt her insistence that she’s not a good cook. We saw an excellent 3-D movie, LIFE OF PI, which I highly recommend, and I spent so much on blu-rays on Cyber deals that I will probably have to keep this work pace up for another couple years. I even had a band job Saturday night at Ducky’s Lagoon in Andualusia, Illinois. So, yes, it was a busy weekend.

Next week, if I get ambitious, I may take a swing at rating the 24 James Bond films in order of excellence (and lack thereof) with my comments. Barb and I have been plowing through the 22-blu-ray boxed set. For the record, I don’t count the spoof movie of CASINO ROYALE (or the early TV show), but I do count NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. It has Sean Connery playing James Bond. That makes it more official than any movie with anybody else playing James Bond.

That doesn’t mean that some of the non-Connery movies aren’t better than a few of the lesser Connerys. But let me explain this – Sean Connery is James Bond the way John, Paul, Ringo and George are the Beatles. Everything else, however well played, is Beatlemania.


Ask Not About Politics

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

ASK NOT has been completed and delivered. Last week, between finishing the book with a day out of working for the Obama campaign, Barb and I are pretty well wrung out. That’s my excuse for the brevity of this update.

I do apologize for getting into politics here. I obviously seriously alienated at least one reader. My politics, intellectually, are one thing, and my politics emotionally are another, which is why you can’t necessarily sense anything about those politics in the writing of my novels. Also, since I frequently write first-person, I am immersed in the point of view of the character at hand. I doubt either Quarry or Mike Hammer vote at all. Heller is an FDR Democrat, albeit an extremely cynical one. Wyatt Earp is a Republican, and so is Eliot Ness. When you order a meal at a good restaurant, what’s the difference what the politics of the chef are?

The first of several indulgences for Barb and me following the conclusion of ASK NOT was seeing SKYFALL at an IMAX. It’s a fine Bond film, one of the few that rival the real Bond films (definition of a “real Bond film”: it has Sean Connery in it…and I included NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN). Barb and I are going through the Bond 50th anniversary Blu-Ray set – we just finished VIEW TO A KILL – and I may report on the experience on the other side. So far the big surprise is how straight Moore plays it most of the time – the silliness of some of those movies (particularly MOONRAKER and OCTOPUSSY, two horrid entries) appears the fault of the producers majorly and the screenwriters minorly. By the way, if you liked SKYFALL, you’re welcome – I “introduced” Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig by writing ROAD TO PERDITION, you know.

Be sure to check out this fantastic Bookgasm review of TARGET LANCER.


The Finish Line

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

This will be a brief update, because I am approaching two finish lines: the Presidential election and ASK NOT.

Today I began work on the final chapter of ASK NOT, but will interrupt that tomorrow to work all day at the local Obama campaign office with Barb. I am grateful to my friends, fans, readers, or whatever else brings you here, that we haven’t descended into anything overtly political. It’s tough, feeling as deeply as I do about this particular election, keeping it to myself (and I haven’t completely succeeded). It’s bad for business to alienate any of your readers, and I hope I haven’t.

I was more overt about my position over at Facebook, and one fan used my post to attack the President and make what struck me as a strident case for the other candidate. That’s the problem with opening this can of worms: most of us have long since made up our minds, for whatever reason. Obama and Romney supporters arguing is a colossal waste of time. I only used Facebook to try to convince those independents and fence sitters why I feel – and think – as I do.

The first interview about TARGET LANCER has appeared at the Big Thrill.

Those topless girls are reading my stuff again; check this NSFW pic at Comicmix.

And here’s a nice little ANTIQUES ROADKILL review.

Remember what Al Capone said to his people each election day: “Vote early and vote often.”


Target Lancer Book Tour Stops Announced

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

See elsewhere on this page for the full list of dates with start times for the TARGET LANCER tour.

New York remains the center of publishing and we have many friends there, as well as a few relatives. So the hurricane bearing down upon the East Coast is much on our minds, and we request that your thoughts and prayers be with the residents of the states getting the brunt of this latest blast of extreme weather.

I continue to work on ASK NOT, the follow-up to TARGET LANCER. This has been a brutal, even punishing experience, due to the mass of research material and the difficulties that material presents. What I have been wrestling with throughout is how much time compression to use, in order to make the narrative more compelling. That kind of thing is common in writing Heller: balancing the “true detective” mandate of giving an accurate look at history against the need to do an exciting suspense story. Time compression is definitely the biggest liberty I take, on just about every Heller, and this one is no exception. With luck, I have about two weeks to go.

We will very soon have a You Tube promo for TARGET LANCER that my longtime collaborator Phil Dingeldein shot for me. Phil and I continue to explore doing a new low-budget horror film, probably starring Danielle from AMERICAN PICKERS, on which Phil is a key shooter and occasional director.

Advance TARGET LANCER reviews continue to flow in, like this great one from a first-rate writer, Ron Fortier.

I enjoyed this LADY, GO DIE! review by a reader who is grappling with his dislike of Mike Hammer as a character, or at least certain aspects of Hammer’s character, but is starting to like the books. I would point out to a lot of Hammer’s critics, who don’t like the way he seems to be sadistically enjoying the punishment he dishes out, that Hammer reacts that way when dishing out violence upon bad guys. He’s a selective sadist.

Here’s another LADY, GO DIE! review, short but fun.

A review of DEADLY BELOVED has popped up, after all this time. Generally a decent review, but the reviewer doesn’t quite grasp the larger-than-life, tongue-in-cheek nature of the material.

Similarly, this good review of QUARRY’S EX doesn’t entirely “get” Quarry himself, but it’s fun to see a new, presumably younger reader grappling with the character.

Here’s a cool review of THE WAR OF THE WORLDS MURDER, which will soon be available in a new edition from Thomas & Mercer (both trade paperback and e-book).

A week from the day this appears, Barb and I will be working in the local Obama office. Yes, I am revealing what everyone already knows: that I support the current President. How can the guy who is continuing Mike Hammer vote for a Democrat? (This is a question my friend and partner Jane Spillane must ask herself everyday!) Well, it speaks to some of the character issues that critics are perplexed with above. I think Mike Hammer is a fantastic character, but I wouldn’t vote for him for president. Not that Obama’s opponent is Mike Hammer, by any means. After all, it was a Hammer-like team sent by my guy that took down Bin Laden.