Posts Tagged ‘King of the Weeds’

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.

* * *

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 Military.com 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.

M.A.C.

Memorable or Favorite or Best or Greatest…?

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
Complex 90

I am writing this in our hotel room in St. Louis, where Barb and I have spent a delightful Mother’s Day weekend with our son Nate and his bride Abby. Great food, great company, even great weather. We caught a crime movie called MUD, easily the best film I’ve seen this year, with a definite SLINGBLADE feel (and that’s a good thing) – writer/director Jeff Nichols has a real feel for the South and its rhythms, and has assembled an amazing cast. See it.

But I hate this keyboard, so this will be short. Also, I spent last week writing two lengthy articles for the Huffington Post and Flavorwire (I have one or two more to do) to promote COMPLEX 90, and am “talked” out. These will be posted in the next week or so. This is hard work that doesn’t pay, strictly PR, and the subject this time – spy novels – is not one I’m as familiar with as the previous ones I did Huff Post pieces on (detective novels and controversial comics).

What I hate about these things is that I say my piece and then get beat up over my choices. That most of the responses are from idiots doesn’t help much. I have asked that my list be labeled “memorable” spy novels (the Huff piece is movies from spy novels), to get away from this “best” or “greatest” concept that always causes dissent. Of course, these people will argue with your “favorite” choices, too, as if that weren’t inherently a personal call.

This coming week I will do some more of this freebie writing to promote the new book, and will begin prep work on KING OF THE WEEDS, the last of the substantial Spillane/Hammer manuscripts. The new novel is a sequel to BLACK ALLEY, so I’ll be spending a lot of time with it. Then I’ll spend time with Mickey’s manuscript, reading and re-reading it, making notes, marking up my work copy. Probably two weeks prep before writing begins. This is bittersweet, because KING will mark the completion of the basic goal I set for myself in taking on Mickey’s unpublished work – getting these six additional Hammers completed (and DEAD STREET and the Morgan the Raider sequel, THE CONSUMMATA). I very much want to keep going with the shorter but significant manuscripts that remain, but I am relieved and even thrilled that I’ve been able to see these major works see completion and publication.

COMPLEX 90 reviews are starting to roll in, like this great one from Crime Fiction Lover.

This is a very cool one, too, from Impedementia.

This one from Bullet Reviews is quirky but favorable.

Boing Boing has a first chapter excerpt.

David William continues his short but sweet Nate Heller reviews with sharp looks at DAMNED IN PARADISE and BLOOD AND THUNDER.

My old buddy Ed Gorman (such a great writer – you’re missing out if you’re not reading him) was nice enough to post an article I did a while back on my favorite crime novels.

Finally, here’s part two of the Gary Sandy-starring live production of ENCORE FOR MURDER.

M.A.C.

Complex 90 Out Today

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
COMPLEX 90 Audiobook

Hardcover:

E-Book:

Audio CD:

Audio MP3 CD:

Actually, COMPLEX 90 – the new Mike Hammer novel – will be published tomorrow, since I write these blog posts a day in advance. The cover we’re showing off here is the Blackstone audio version, read by Stacy Keach. I haven’t heard it yet, but it’s one of the greatest joys of my career to listen to Stacy reading these Spillane/Collins novels on audio.

This is, I think, one of the strongest of the collaborative Hammers, as it answers a lot of questions about Mike and Velda’s relationship, and it’s a sequel to perhaps the Mickey’s best book of the ‘60s – THE GIRL HUNTERS. Yes, the Dragon (the surviving half) is back. What great fun, writing about Mike Hammer in his espionage agent mode in a book begun by Mickey at the height of the James Bond spy craze. Fun, too, imagining Mickey as Mike in a movie playing in your demented brain. Well, my demented brain, anyway.

People often ask how I decide what order to do these books in – I had half a dozen substantial (100 pages or more) Spillane “Hammer” manuscripts to choose from. GOLIATH BONE was a no-brainer choice – it was the final book Mickey was working on, and was the longest manuscript (of the Hammers, that is – DEAD STREET was shy only of the last three chapters). Also, it had a 9/11 aspect that threatened to date it. So it was first up.

THE BIG BANG was a great ‘60s novel, with Hammer taking on drug racketeers, and just a great manuscript from Mickey, with one of his most outrageous endings. It won second position as a way to really show off Mike at his best. KISS HER GOODBYE, with its ‘70s setting and themes, was a natural progression. I held back the greatest find – LADY, GO DIE!, the unfinished sequel to I, THE JURY – for the fourth position, because my initial contract was for three books, and I wanted something very strong to launch the second trio, particularly if I had to change publishers…which I did.

COMPLEX 90 needed to be held back a while, because the anti-Commie aspect of it would only court trouble with the Hammer haters. I needed Mike to be back for a while before going there. Also, though Mickey wrote about Russian espionage in ONE LONELY NIGHT and THE GIRL HUNTERS, the Cold War theme is not what Hammer is best known for.

Shortly (yet this month) I will begin work on KING OF THE WEEDS, a novel designed by Mickey as a sequel to BLACK ALLEY and as the final Hammer novel. Mickey set it aside after 9/11 seemed to require Mike Hammer to wade into the war on terror. So these six novels begin with the final Hammer novel (THE GOLIATH BONE), and wind up with what Mickey had intended to be the final novel (KING OF THE WEEDS), making that the penultimate one, I guess.

Is this the end of the Spillane/Collins Hammer stories? Probably not. I am expanding short Hammer fragments into short stories (most recently in The Strand, “So Long, Chief”), and in two or three more stories will have enough for a collection. There’s also the possibility of doing a book that offers prose versions of the two audio plays. And there are three more significant Hammer fragments that I hope to turn into novels. When I say “substantial” unfinished manuscript, I mean that Mickey left behind at least one hundred pages and often plot and character notes.

When I say “significant” unfinished manuscript, I mean at least forty pages and sometimes plot and character notes.

I am hopeful readers and my current publisher will agree that the Mike Hammer canon should be completed. I see no reason for me to do original Hammer stories, not with the wealth of Spillane material at my fingertips. There are even non-Hammer fragments that could be Hammer-ized if need be. If the movie happens, anything is possible.

* * *

Last week was taken up with preparing materials for my producing partner, Ken Levin, to take with him to LA for meetings. Barb and I wrote up a TV proposal for the ANTIQUES series, and I put together an Eliot Ness in Cleveland TV proposal. In addition, I did a full-scale rewrite of “House of Blood,” turning it from an 85-page feature film script into a 58-page TV pilot script.

This week I’ll be meeting with Matt Clemens to work on the plotting of SUPREME JUSTICE, my second Thomas & Mercer novel. My friend Brad Schwartz and I have been working on a Teddy Roosevelt project, and the screen treatment of that will be finished probably today. Then I will be doing articles for Huffington Post and other web sites to promote COMPLEX 90.

Did I mention it’s coming out today?

A lot of Net activity to report and share.

A Minneapolis radio station has Part One of the Gary Sandy-starring version of MIKE HAMMER: ENCORE FOR MURDER produced at the International Mystery Writers Festival in Owensboro, Kentucky, last year. They will post Part Two next week. This is a lot of fun, but the host gives perhaps the most shambling introduction I have ever heard, starting with a discussion of the character “Mickey Spillane” who debuted on radio before the publication of I, THE JURY. You learn something every day….

The great web site Bookgasm had a lively, complimentary review of ANTIQUES CHOP, now a bouncing baby one week old.

Here’s a nice write-up on COMPLEX 90 at the Geek Girl Project.

I haven’t listened to this interview, but I was on the phone a long time, so be forewarned that you may need Red Bull to make it through. The guys interviewing me were great, but I’m afraid I blathered even more than usual.

Here’s a cool Nerds of a Feather write-up of COMPLEX 90 (out today!) (over doing?).

The news about HOUSE OF BLOOD winning that IMPA award was covered neatly at the Fangoria web site.

The SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT reviews are still comin’ in! Check out this cool one at Nerd Bloggers.

I was very pleased by this NO CURE FOR DEATH review – having a smart reviewer approve of a book written forty years ago is kind of amazing. Not as amazing as me writing it when I was six, but amazing.

This is a very intelligent review of THE BABY BLUE RIP-OFF from a guy who forgives me for being a liberal. (I’m taking something for it.)

And at this late date, we’re still being told that ROAD TO PERDITION was based on a graphic novel. Who’da thunk it?

THE TITANIC MURDERS gets a very nice write-up here.

And, finally, here’s the review you were all waiting for – of SKIN GAME, the second DARK ANGEL book (not published today…but still in print!). Matt Clemens co-wrote the DARK ANGEL novels with me, and they are among our best collaborations, in both our opinions.

M.A.C.

San Diego Comic-Con 2011 Day Two

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

I promised two announcements today, both of considerable import:

First, I will be completing three more of Mickey Spillane’s unfinished Mike Hammer novel manuscripts, for a new publisher…Titan of the UK (distributed by Random House in the USA). Titan is one of my favorite publishers — they have a real feel for pop culture — and while I am sorry to leave Harcourt, I am very excited about our new home. I met with Titan honcho Nick Landau today at the con, and he showed me first passes on covers that are innovative and striking for three new Hammer novels. I will be sharing them with you soon.

The books are:

LADY GO, DIE!
COMPLEX 90
KING OF THE WEEDS

I am working on LADY, GO DIE! right now — a manuscript dating to 1948, making it the second Mike Hammer story (after I, THE JURY).

The other news — announced on the reboot of FIRST COMICS panel is that we will be doing Ms. Tree for publisher Ken Levin. The entire run will be collected in new volumes, and Terry Beatty and I be doing a new MS. TREE project, likely a comics mini-series that serializes a graphic novel.

There are number of book publishers here and I spoke to several editors about possible book projects, both tie-in and original.

Nate took a lot of pictures today and we’ll share them with you on Sunday morning. Tomorrow (Friday) are the Scribe Awards with a panel focusing on tie-in grand master, Peter David. Also, Barb and I will be appearing in a mystery/crime panel (details above).

M.A.C.