Posts Tagged ‘Kindle’

Crusin’ With Andy Landers (And More)

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

[Note from Nate:] Before we get to the update, I’d like to highlight a Nathan Heller sale over on the Kindle storefront with ten novels and two collections for $1.99 each. The sale ends on September 20, so don’t miss out!

True Detective
True Crime
The Million-Dollar Wound
Neon Mirage
Stolen Away
Carnal Hours
Blood and Thunder
Flying Blind
Majic Man
Angel in Black
Chicago Lightning: The Collected Nathan Heller Short Stories
Triple Play: A Nathan Heller Casebook

We now return to your regularly scheduled update.

(P.S. The wee baby Sam’s doing great, and Abby and I hope to have him home within the week!)

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Crusin' 2008
Crusin’ 2008 – (left to right), M.A.C., Andy Landers, Chuck Bunn, Steve Kundel, Jim Van Winkle

Last Saturday evening, Barb and I took in a performance by Andrew Landers at the new brew pub in Muscatine, the Contrary Brewery. Andy is a fantastic performer and songwriter, who for some years was involved running various hip music programs at churches (here in Iowa, later in Colorado), but recently has gone “all in” to make it in the music biz. He’s a returning hero who came back to an enthusiastic, capacity crowd on his old turf.

Andy used to do an introspective set, with lots of storytelling and self-reflection. Now he’s unleashing his full showmanship and versatility, including really rocking out and using his big, brash yet somehow unintimidating personality to pull the audience in. If you get a chance to see him, do so.

For around eight years, Andy was part of my band Crusin’, which regular followers of these updates know is a ‘60s revival group that has been around forever…or anyway, 1975. The period during which Andy was part of the band saw us playing five to eight times a year – not as regularly as we have been in recent years, though more than we’ve been playing lately.

My late friend and longtime musical collaborator, Paul Thomas, brought Andy into the band; Paul was part of Andy’s ambitious musical program at a local church. Since I am a lapsed Methodist and just a little less religious than Bill Maher, I was initially not enthusiastic about bringing in a “minister of music.” Shortly I found out that Andy was both a fantastic talent and an off-the-wall loon. That made him ideal for Crusin’.

In that era, I was playing keyboard bass. Andy came in and played rhythm guitar on an acoustic, and a lot of other things, sharing in the lead singing and great on harmony. He was, in many ways, similar to Bruce Peters, who Paul and I had played with in both the Daybreakers and Crusin’, and who was an outright musical genius and amazing showman. Like Bruce, Andy can play anything. When we would do our final number of the night, “Gimme Some Lovin’” (the Spencer Davis classic), during a middle section Andy would take over my keyboards for a solo, then go back and take over the drums for Steve Kundel. We did a number of Andy-written tunes in those years – always risky for an oldies band to do originals, but audiences had no problem with Andy’s stuff – and Andy did some recording with us. He’s on the tracks we did for my indie film, REAL TIME: SIEGE AT LUCAS STREET MARKET (including singing a song I wrote, “Help Yourself”).

When the my first band, the Daybreakers, was inducted into the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, our original bass player, Chuck Bunn, came back. Chuck had been suffering from cancer but was doing well, and I could tell he really wanted to play again. I added him to Crusin’ and we began to play more regularly, usually twice a month, which we did till around two years ago. (Chuck’s last gig was our performance at the St. Louis Bouchercon – he passed away less than two weeks later.)

But when we began playing more regularly, Andy decided to step down. He had a band of his own, for one thing, and various responsibilities and ambitions. The image this week is the only band photo that includes both Andy and Chuck – and Andy played only a single gig with that line-up.

I’m so pleased that Andy is doing well. That this charismatic entertainer’s musical dreams and ambitions are being fulfilled. And when I see how much energy he is bringing to his shows, I have to be allowed the luxury of thinking that some of Crusin’ rubbed off on him.

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Speaking of Crusin’, we had four dates lined up this year, but all of one had to cancelled for various reasons. This is our 40th anniversary year, yet it seems we may play only a single gig.

For those of you in the eastern Iowa area, that gig is imminent – this coming Sunday afternoon (Sept. 13) on the patio overlooking the Mississippi at Pearl City Plaza in Muscatine (217 West 2nd) starting at 6 pm. Looks to be a cool, lovely day, by current estimates. We will be presenting an hour and a half concert (with one break). Be there or…you know.

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I note with sadness the passing of my writer buddy, Warren Murphy, co-creator of the Destroyer series, screenwriter (EIGER SANCTION), and author of numerous thrillers as well as the Trace mystery novels. He was a fun, funny, generous guy.

Barb and I were on a “mystery cruise” that Warren and Bob Randisi organized back in the late ‘80s (I think). My most vivid memory of that experience was the lanky, attractively disheveled Warren insisting that each of us write two chapters in a collaborative novel while the cruise was under way. When we complained that we didn’t want to spend precious fun time doing that, he cheerfully berated us, advising us to be grown-ups and pros about it. Then when asked if he was going to write his chapters while aboard, he said, “Oh, hell no – I already wrote them at home!”

That book was called CARIBBEAN BLUES, and features Nate Heller in three chapters, if I’m remembering right.
If you want to know how to honor a writer who has passed, read a book by that writer. It will bring the author back to life in your mind.

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For those keeping score, I completed the new Mike Hammer, DON’T LOOK BEHIND YOU, last week, and shipped it via e-mail to Titan in England on Thursday. I’ve been dealing with some health issues this summer (don’t ask) but have bounced back (really, don’t ask) and I wanted to prove to myself I could still do it. And I did. It’s a wild one, even for a Hammer novel.

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Finally, this is a nice overview of mystery in comic books, with an especially nice, fairly lengthy look at Ms. Tree – which the commentator (a very wise fellow) rates my work with Terry Beatty as tops in the field.


February Kindle Sale: TRUE DETECIVE and BOMBSHELL $2.99 Each!

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Nate here again with a quick word on a sale before letting Al take over with his regularly scheduled update (below). All February long, Amazon is featuring Nathan Heller novel True Detective and Barbara Allan collaboration Bombshell for $2.99 each on the Kindle storefront. If you already got ’em, skip on down. Otherwise, mandatory reading:

True Detective is the first Nathan Heller and a great, natural entry point into the series for new readers (although really, you can start with any of the Hellers and skip around). The 1984 Shamus Award Winner for Best P.I. Hardcover, True Detective earned some very impressive raves:

“There’s a special energy that powers True Detective, the raw brawling energy of 1933 Chicago. Collins’ Chicago is perfectly convincing, and so is his detective, Nate Heller. A fine piece of craftsmanship and a deeply satisfying read.” —Laurence Block

“I knew Chicago during Prohibition was supposed to be both dangerous and exciting, and now I know why. . . . A terrific read.” —Donald E. Westlake

“One of the best stories I have ever read.” —Mickey Spillane

True Detective succeeds on several levels, where other novels have failed on a single one. It is not only a fine private eye novel, but a damned good mystery, and interesting historical novel, and a well-crafted suspense novel.” —Robert Randisi

And Bombshell is a Barbara and Max Allan Collins collab freshly back in print under their joint pseudonym, Barbara Allan. I highly recommend this to Heller fans who want more Marilyn after reading Bye Bye, Baby, or to Trash ‘n’ Treasures fans looking for more Barbara Allan while they wait for Antiques Chop to hit the shelves. And if you’re not really either of those? Well, how’s this sound for a plot:

In an attempt to soothe growing Cold War tensions between America and Russia, Premier Nikita Khrushchev visits the US to see all that his “enemy” has to offer. Top of his to-do list? A trip to Disneyland and an introduction to sexual icon Marilyn Monroe.

Thanks to the impossible security requirements, Disneyland is out of the question. Marilyn, on the other hand, jumps at the chance to put on a show for the Russian official. During her appearance, she overhears the details of an assassination plot designed to spark an atomic holocaust and devastate both superpowers. When the Secret Service refuses to believe her, Marilyn risks everything to whisk Khrushchev away to safety—in the happiest place on earth.

With US agents and the KGB hot on their trail, Marilyn and Khrushchev enjoy the thrills of the amusement park while fighting to stay one step ahead of the assassins and prevent the horrors of an unprecedented war that would annihilate millions.

“[Barbara Allan has] taken an event based in history—Khruschev’s U.S. visit—and shaped it with wonderful characterizations (Nikki and Marilyn have never been more interesting) to re-create an era within the context of a delightful comic adventure (a cold-war variation on Roman Holiday).” —Booklist

“Fanciful conjecture indeed, but told with warmth, attention to historical detail, and serious tone.” —Library Journal

Don’t forget that these books are also available in handsome physical editions at all major online retailers as well as your local bookseller through Stay tuned below for your regularly scheduled update.

True Detective on Amazon

Bombshell on Amazon

January Kindle Sale: DAMNED IN PARADISE, $2.99

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

This month, Amazon is featuring Nathan Heller novel DAMNED IN PARADISE on sale for $2.99 on the Amazon Kindle store. Nominated for the 1997 Shamus Award for Best P.I. Hardcover, DAMNED IN PARADISE is a great entry into the Heller series, and one not to miss for already fans. Here’s Publishers Weekly‘s write-up:

“Seven of the eight volumes in this series, which blends classic American crime with the fictional efforts of detective Nate Heller, have been nominated for Shamus awards (two have won). This tale warrants another. Collins gives us pre-statehood Hawaii and the Massie case, which revolved around the alleged abduction and rape of a Navy lieutenant’s wife and the subsequent murder of a suspect by lieutenant Thomas Massie and his mother-in-law. The sensational crime stirred racial hatreds in Hawaii and stoked a movement to place the territory under military rather than civilian rule. It’s 1932, and Heller, wrapping up his involvement in the Lindbergh kidnapping case (Stolen Away), lunches with Clarence Darrow. Darrow has been lured out of semi-retirement to defend Massie, his mother-in-law Grace Fortescue and two seamen against charges of murdering one of the five mixed-race youths accused of raping Thalia Massie. As Darrow’s investigator, Heller cuts through the incompetence, corruption and confusion that surrounded both the original crime and the subsequent murder of the suspect. Collins’s vivid sketch of a deeply divided polyglot culture is spiced with colorful real-life characters in Darrow, Buster Crabbe and Chang Apana, the Hawaiian policeman who served as a model for Charlie Chan.”

A good number of Max’s other novels are on good deals right now too — click this link for an Amazon search — with most digital titles under 5 bucks. Now’s a great time to load that Kindle up for the coming year. And all these books are also available in handsome physical editions at all major online retailers as well as your local bookseller through Stay tuned below for your regularly scheduled update.

10 Heller Kindle Titles $1.99

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

All day today (Sunday, September 23), Amazon’s Kindle Deal of the Day is featuring the Nathan Heller series, with the following ten titles available for only $1.99 each!

The Million-Dollar Wound
Neon Mirage
Stolen Away
Carnal Hours
Blood and Thunder
Flying Blind
Majic Man
Angel in Black
Chicago Confidential
Chicago Lightning: The Collected Nathan Heller Short Stories

Shareable link:

This is the first time NEON MIRAGE, BLOOD AND THUNDER, MAJIC MAN, and CHICAGO CONFIDENTIAL have been showcased on the daily deal.

Of further interest to digital readers, Amazon has been rolling out a new feature called Whispersync, which syncs your place in a book between Kindle devices and the Audible audio edition, allowing you to switch back and forth between reading and listening. Now Amazon is offering many Audible editions at a significantly reduced price for owners of the Kindle editions. This only applies to the Audible download edition, not the audio CDs or MP3 CDs, but the downloadable version works on many portable devices and can be burned to CDs through iTunes. Abby and I have been listening to the Heller audio books (read by the wonderful Dan John Miller) on CD on our road trips over the past year and we’ve really been impressed by the readings. Look for the Audible edition on each Amazon book page.