Posts Tagged ‘Marilyn Monroe’

Heller Gets Romantic

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Publisher’s Weekly – where a rave review of the upcoming BYE BYE, BABY appeared recently – has just further showcased the new Heller novel with an interview with me in the current issue. Nate Heller is the “Zelig” of mystery fiction, we’re told. For a while he was the Forrest Gump of mystery fiction, but now he’s Zelig again, it would seem. Either way’s cool with me.

Romantic Times – where “Barbara Allan” has frequently received wonderful reviews and where I have never been individually reviewed (before) – has offered a splendid BYE BYE, BABY review. Check this out:

Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Mystery, Historical

Sharp dialogue, perfect pacing, fascinating characters and the unraveling of a mystery that has always caught the public’s imagination makes for riveting fiction. This is a Hollywood novel that’s more interesting than the true story — if, in fact, it’s not what really happened anyway. Collins’ twist on this American mystery simply can’t be put down until the last page has been read.

In 1962, Marilyn Monroe is being harassed by everyone from her studio to the president and his brother, who want her to disappear almost as much as they want to bed her. Marilyn asks PI Nate Heller to tap her phone so she’ll have a record of the calls. Nate finds out she’s already being tapped — by the CIA, the FBI and the mafia. An icon whose connection to the White House makes her an object of interest for too many parties, Marilyn turns up dead not long after Nate plants the bug — by all accounts either a suicide or an accident. Nate’s not buying it and feels he owes it to her to find out what happened. (FORGE, Aug., 336 pp., $24.99)

Reviewed By: Pat Cooper

Canada’s National Post interviewed me for an article about continuing iconic characters, as I have with Mike Hammer and as Jeff Deaver is doing with James Bond. A nice little article worth checking out.

This article gives us the 13 most infamous Irish gangsters – and the first is Mickey Spillane…not Mike Hammer’s Mickey, but the real-life mob guy with whom our Mickey was frequently confused. Also include is John Looney, who likely would not have made this list without his latterdary ROAD TO PERDITION fame (which rates a mention).

The amazing Paul Bishop has been kind enough to talk up the forthcoming Heller collection, CHICAGO LIGHTNING, at his fun site, as well as the AmazonEncore reprints of the first twelve novels in the saga.

Out of the blue comes a nice little write-up on my years on the DICK TRACY strip. Two quibbles: Flattop is a ‘40s villain, not a ‘30s one; and frankly my years on the strip don’t have many naysayers that I ever heard about.

I was a little shocked, if pleasantly so, to discover this really smart and appreciative review of my 2001 security-cam feature, REAL TIME: SIEGE AT LUCAS STREET MARKET. This is worth a look.

Somebody else out there in the cyberverse has noticed my DVD collection, SHADES OF NOIR – with an emphasis on the Quarrry short film, “A Matter of Principal.” The writer has no idea a novel and film were expanded from that, but it’s a nice write-up, anyway.

Successful novelist Jonathan Maberry has gathered Scribes nominees together for a joint interview, of which I am a part.

And at the Top Suspense blog, we’re still discussing techniques of suspense, with my contribution finally getting posted.

The rave reviews of the Criterion DVD/Blu-ray of KISS ME DEADLY (often with nice mention of my documentary, MIKE HAMMER’S MICKEY SPILLANE, a special feature on the disc) keep rolling in.

This KISS ME DEADLY review has lots of information but opinions that seem questionable (though the guy likes my documentary, so he’s not all bad).

And here’s another KISS ME DEADLY review.

And another.

And another – one of the most interesting.

Finally, please check out Ed Gorman’s coverage at his blog of the passing of the great Marty Greenberg. My comments about him as an editor and man are included. If you have been a reader of mystery and/or science-fiction short stories in the past four decades or so, you have been touched by this wonderful man.


Kiss Her Bye Bye

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Though not due till August, BYE BYE, BABY is starting to generate some very nice coverage. Here’s the Tor/Forge Blog info on it.

Even better are several really great reviews, like this one from the Not the Baseball Pitcher site.

Ed Gorman – that terrific writer, and author of his own first-rate Marilyn thriller – has a lovely and I think quite insightful review about the first new Heller in a decade.

But KISS HER GOODBYE continues to get strong notices, too, like this on at a major Kindle site.

I’ve stirred some interest and even commentary on my admitted displeasure with the cover to the new Heller. I am pleased by the quality of the photograph, and thrilled that my publisher ponied up for a major photographic shoot from the excellent Thalicer Image Studio. But because of fears that the MM estate might object to too overt a Marilyn image, the publisher chose what I consider to be the weakest (and certainly most historically inaccurate) of the photos from the shoot. One of the rejects is attached – and it makes my point, because it’s the image Thalicer’s agent chose to post on the website intended to drum up business – not the actual photo used.

Bye Bye Baby

The angle of the photo also demonstrates that the Mickey Spillane lookalike is thrusting forward a police badge, meaning he is not intended to be Nate Heller, as some (unfortunately) are assuming.

Throughout my career, my lack of input in the covers of my books (despite my background in graphic arts and filmmaking) as well as the frequent battles over my titles (RED SKY IN MORNING should have been called USS POWDERKEG, for example) have been a big source of irritation. On the other hand, sometimes the publishers have been right – my original title for TRUE DETECTIVE was TOWER TOWN, for example…though I was the one who came up with TRUE DETECTIVE as an alternative. But CARNAL HOURS and FLYING BLIND are among titles I fought for, and thankfully prevailed.


Hammer Grand Slammer

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

This news came in shortly after the last update was posted, so you may be aware of this – it got lots of play on the net – but my radio-style audio novel, THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER: THE LITTLE DEATH (starring Stacy Keach), won the Audie for Best Original Work. The Audies are the Academy Awards of the audiobook world, so this is a big deal. Blackstone Audio posted their congratulations here.

And if you haven’t listened to THE LITTLE DEATH – or its (I feel) even better follow-up, ENCORE FOR MURDER – you are missing out. Whether a Spillane buff or M.A.C. fan (or both), you will have a great time.

Kiss Her Goodbye

Also, Stacy Keach’s reading of KISS HER GOODBYE has just been released, with a different cover than the hardcover novel. We are listening to it now, and Stacy is just great. Any writer benefits when Mr. Keach is making them look good.

Another great piece of news comes with a rave review from Dick Lochte for KISS HER GOODBYE on the front page of the LA Times Calendar section. This stunning review has been picked up all over the net, and should give the book a very nice boost.

Also exciting is having January magazine single out KISS HER GOODBYE as one of Pierce’s picks of the week. But especially cool is the cyber zine singling out Pierce’s choice and the book for a front-page rave. Check it out.

J. Kingston Pierce’s new weekly pick has already been posted, but here is last week’s pick (KISS HER GOODBYE) for your reading pleasure.

The KISS HER GOODBYE raves just keep coming. Here the terrific site Singular Points makes some singular points about the book.

The same site has a very nice write-up about meeting Mickey Spillane some years ago.

Yet another great KISS HER GOODBYE review.

And courtesy of Jeff Pierce, this time at his Kirkus mystery-reviewing blog, comes the very first advance review of BYE BYE, BABYand it’s glowing (something that hasn’t exactly always happened to me with Kirkus reviews).

Some advance love for BYE BYE, BABY is viewable at another site, as well.

And this unexpected valentine to my first series character – in fact, first novel – comes from Paul Bishop (cop, writer, TV personality, handsome devil, talented, too…why don’t I hate him?) who made BAIT MONEY his “Forgotten Book” of the week, which is a compliment…trust me.

Another first-rate writer, Mel Odom, read Paul’s write-up and waxed nostalgic about Nolan and Jon himself.

What was it John Huston said in CHINATOWN? Something about whores and ugly buildings, if they last long enough, finally gaining respect?


Son Of A Pitch

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Not long ago, I was out in Hollywood for one of my rare “pitch” trips. One session was on the studio lot of a network with a very famous writer/producer, with a new Mike Hammer series the subject. Two sessions at two cable networks were for “Interstate 666″ (the hardy among you may remember my short story of that name in one of the HOT BLOOD paperbacks). The latter would be in partnership with producer Carl Amari (who did my two Mike Hammer “radio” novels, most recently THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER: ENCORE FOR MURDER). Carl has a deal with Fangoria magazine, who would “present” the film and subsequent series.

These are always long shots, but I have a lot of faith in Carl. The possible Hammer series – my involvement there would likely be limited to a script or two per season – is in the hands of my longtime friend, movie/TV agent and producing partner, Ken Levin.

ROAD TO PURGATORY remains in play, and is one of several projects I hope to do with my frequent collaborator, Phil Dingeldein, of dphilms in Rock Island.

I just heard the other day that “Interstate 666″ won Best Unproduced Screenplay at the Iowa Motion Picture Awards. I was for many years very active with the Iowa Motion Picture Association, but for the last several have stayed mostly on the sidelines. As such, I didn’t attend the awards presentation, but I’m obviously happy to win.

There was some fun coverage of various M.A.C. projects on the net this past week.

A big surprise was the attention my two Jack and Maggie Starr novels received at the Noir Journal. They don’t really consider the books “noir,” but like them anyway, and (like me) wish there were more. There’s a possibility I will be doing a third Jack and Maggie mystery, this time for Hard Case Crime – which means it will be sexier and more violent, and maybe even noir enough for the Journal to pronounce it such.

KISS HER GOODBYE is not on the bookstore shelves yet (you remember bookstores, right?) and is still a pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble; but it’ll be out in a couple of weeks, and continues to get nice coverage. A bookseller has very nice and I think smart things to say about the book here.

There are also some nice KISS HER Goodreads comments you might find worthwhile.

The director of THE LAST LULLABY, the Quarry movie, has a short but sweet interview on that subject here.

And the Collins/Beatty Wild Dog gets a brief, smart write-up at Scoop. Check it out.

Getting back to the Hollywood trip, it was a whirlwind two days, but I got to spend an evening with my pal Leonard Maltin and his wife Alice and daughter Jess, three of my favorite people. Leonard booked a booth at Musso & Frank’s, the famous old Hollywood Blvd restaurant, and the specific booth he booked (the “Chaplin” just inside the doors) was the one I used for Nate Heller and a Dorothy Kilgallen-type newspaper columnist in the forthcoming BYE BYE, BABY. A nice coincidence.

Nicer still was getting to accompany Leonard to the TCM Film Festival where I met Jane Powell and Robert Osborne (and saw Leonard interviewing Ms. Powell, followed by a big-screen screening of SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS). I kidded Mr. Osborne that I should have been an interview subject for TCM’s Mike Hammer evening (then upcoming, now past). Mr. Obsborne took my joshing seriously and started talking about budget constraints, etc. He warmed up after that, but I have to say – they should have had me on. Mr. Osborne made two errors in the introduction of THE GIRL HUNTERS, saying that most critics panned Mickey as Mike (not true – he got mostly raves) and that the film was Mickey’s debut as an actor (of course not – that was RING OF FEAR…which TCM has aired a number of times).

The three Hammer films TCM aired were KISS ME DEADLY, MY GUN IS QUICK and THE GIRL HUNTERS. Still MIA for TCM are the original I, THE JURY and THE LONG WAIT, both far better than MY GUN IS QUICK – although TCM aired a great print of that…and MGM is making the film available here.