Posts Tagged ‘Mickey Spillane on Screen’

Bittersweet Edgar Noms

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

The Edgar nominations were announced last week, and I was pleased to see two books I contributed essays to were chosen in the Best Critical/Biographical section: BOOKS TO DIE FOR and IN PURSUIT OF SPENSER (Matt Clemens co-authored the essay in the latter, dealing with the Spenser TV series). I admit to my disappointment that Jim Traylor and my MICKEY SPILLANE ON SCREEN didn’t get a nod. I am never surprised to be absent in Edgar fiction categories – that’s the biggest crap shoot on the planet – but I felt we had a decent shot in this smaller, more specific category. There’s always the Anthonys….

Today I doing a final pass on a Mike Hammer story, “So Long, Chief,” developed from a particularly strong ten-page Spillane fragment. It will likely appear in The Strand, and I am gradually completing enough Hammer stories to see the possibility of a collection glimmering on the horizon.

Matt Clemens and I met this week and put the finishing touches on WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU. The book definitely reflects my interest in the wave of Nordic mystery fiction, which I’m mostly familiar with via foreign TV adaptations. Barb and I watched a new Varg Veum film last night, for example, and have gone through all of the available Wallanders (as well as the Brit version). The longer TV cut of GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is superior to the films (apparently it’s not uncommon for TV movies and series to have limited theatrical releases in that part of the world, before expanded television versions are aired). While it’s dangerous to look at a country’s output of crime fiction as a genre unto itself, I am fascinated by the Nordic mix of political intrigue and social ills. WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU doesn’t reflect the political side in a major way, but does (I think) represent a move away from the CSI-oriented forensics thrillers that Matt and I have previously explored.

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A nice review of the 2007 Ms. Tree prose novel, DEADLY BELOVED, has turned up on the web.

My friend, the fine writer Ed Gorman, wrote a very generous piece on SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT.

Here’s a so so review of SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT, a patronizing piece from my point of view. It also quotes a PW review from a reviewer who doesn’t know the meaning of the word “parody” (hint: not interchangeable with pastiche).

More SEDUCTION reviews are available at Goodreads.

And here’s a nice, insightful review of “A Little Faith,” the story Matt Clemens and I did for the anthology DARK FAITH INVOCATIONS.

M.A.C.

Bouchercon – Can You Picture It?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Barb with our longtime friend and agent Dominick Abel.


The great suspense writer John Lutz, who presented MAC with the PWA Hammer for Nathan Heller.


Barb moderating her panel (with Allan misspelled on her i.d. placard).


MAC and Barb outside the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame (Matthew Clemens hiding his head but little else)


MAC meeting a fan at BOOKS TO DIE FOR signing (also shown: last year’s guest Crusin’ vocalist, Mark Billingham; Reed Coleman; and Michael Connelly).


At BOOKS TO DIE FOR signing, this group called “Murderer’s Row” by our editor’s significant other: Lee Child, Mark Billingham, Reed Coleman, MAC, Michael Connelly, John Connelly.


Staredown contest between MAC and Michaeal Connelly.


Barb presenting PWA “Shamus” for Best Paperback to somebody other than her husband.


MAC accepting the PWA “Hammer” Award for Nate Heller, who couldn’t attend (he’s in a Boca Raton retirement home).


Sara Paretsky, ANTIQUES series editor Michaela Hamilton (cute from any angle) and PWA found/prez, Captain Robert Randisi.

Here’s a lovely review of TARGET LANCER from my pal (and incredible writer) Ed Gorman. The cover, by the way, is the previous version with yellow that I asked to be changed to red (and it was).

MICKEY SPILLANE ON SCREEN by Jim Traylor and me gets some nice attention in both December’s issues of EQMM and ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE. On stands now. (Are there still stands?)

Here’s a great write-up describing BOOKS TO DIE FOR, the new volume in which top mystery writers discuss great mystery novels – I take a swing at I, THE JURY (what a shock).

That justly renowned comic book writer, Peter David, posted a column about my other band, Seduction of the Innocent, that you may enjoy. It was written in ‘98 but it remains fresh.

Here’s a fun if belated review of the Mike Hammer novel, THE BIG BANG. [Nate here: HUGE spoiler warning!]

Writer/blogger Mike Dennis has posted his own Bouchercon recap, including a pic with yours truly.

M.A.C.

Friday Night Lights

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

I have lately late at night been binge-watching the series FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, which I had heard for years was excellent but just hadn’t got around to. I picked up the boxed set of all five seasons at a Half-Price Books and got caught up in what is superficially a teenage soap opera with a football background but is actually as good a dramatic series as I’ve ever seen on television. As much as I like THE SOPRANOS and MAD MEN, the good heart and skillful storytelling displayed in this sentiment-filled (but not sentimental) series reminds me how easy it is in writing to fall back on cheap-shot cynicism, snarky irony and the dark side. The naturalistic acting and the character-driven plotting show how empty and soulless are the likes of BOARDWALK EMPIRE and HOUSE OF LIES. There’s a lot of talent on display in front of and in back of the lights, with eavesdropping hand-held cameras and an evocative guitar-dominated score by W.G. “Snuffy” Walden (of the similarly excellent WEST WING).

Because the producers and writers knew that the fifth season was their last, they brought back characters from previous seasons (it’s a high school story, so characters graduate and move on) and wrapped up the entire story in a longer-than-usual episode that is my candidate for the best and most satisfying final show in a serial. Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton as the coach and his wife are responsible (along with the writers, of course) for what is the most realistic and believable marriage ever depicted on television.

One of the reasons I finally watched the show was Taylor Kitsch’s role in it – I was impressed with Kitsch in both JOHN CARTER and the surprisingly good BATTLESHIP (directed by Peter Berg, the director/writer of the film FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and creator of the TV version). Kitsch’s Tim Riggins is a memorable creation, breathing life into the cliche of the seemingly doomed working-class high school sports hero whose glory days will soon be behind him. This is a charismatic and talented actor, who would make a fine Nate Heller. He’s in Oliver Stone’s SAVAGES (from the Don Winslow novel) right now, which I haven’t seen yet. Somehow I imagine it’s not going to be as heartwarming as FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS.

Speaking of stories that aren’t heartwarming, the Spillane/Collins novella “Skin,” available only as an e-book, continues to wrack up nice reviews, like this one.

And MICKEY SPILLANE ON SCREEN was given a nice review in Crimespree (not available on line) and a small but appreciated write up here. The Crimespree review advises potential readers that the high price of the book makes finding a library copy to read a priority. But both Barnes & Noble and Amazon are carrying it at a decent, if shifting, discount. At any given time, one of them usually has it for around thirty bucks – still stiff, but anyone interested in my work or Mickey’s will want it.

Here’s a surprise: a glowing write-up about one of my BATMAN comic book stories.

Speaking of Batman, count me among the minority who found THE DARK KNIGHT RISES the latest candidate for “Emperor’s New Clothes” status. The pretentiousness and the self-importance on display are almost as unbearable as the length of the thing, which contains more absurdities than a Dr. Seuss book (but is far less fun). What I come away with most are the unintelligible dialogue exchanges between pro-wrestler-like Bane, whose mouth is covered by a pointlessly grotesque mask, and Bale’s Batman, who talks in his now trademark low, lispy spooky Batman voice – not that any of it is worth hearing. Their muffled back-and-forth is the stuff that Riff Trax are made of. And if you like kettle drums, you’ll just love the score. Perfect for an endless Samoan war dance.

On the plus side, Anne Hathaway makes a perfectly fine Catwoman who actually injects some humor into the mix (a rarity in these dour films). And while I like Ms. Hathaway’s rear view just fine, was it really necessary to design a bat-cycle that has her riding it prone with her butt in their air? Just wondering.

M.A.C.

Nolan on Kindle!

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

For the first time, the complete Nolan series is available on Kindle for $4.99 each. These are published by Perfect Crime, who offer them as trade paperbacks, as well. NOTE: The first two Nolans, BAIT MONEY and BLOOD MONEY, are available together on e-book (and real book) from Hard Case Crime.

Check out this terrific LADY, GO DIE! review, and a follow-up interview that I hope is interesting (I’ve done a lot of these in support of this book!)

Crimespree has a nice LADY, GO DIE! review as well.

And here’s a great review of MICKEY SPILLANE ON SCREEN from Ron Fortier. FYI: the prices have gone up at both Barnes and Noble and Amazon on line for this book, $39.95 and $45 respectively. Amazon has it from secondary sellers for just under thirty bucks.

As promised, here is the full list of awards from the International Mystery Writers’ Festival:

2012 ANGIE AWARD WINNERS

BEST MOVIE ACTRESS – Sabrina Segal
BEST MOVIE ACTOR – Eric Altheide
BEST MOVIE DETECTIVE – Todd Reynolds
BEST SCRIPT – Max Allan Collins for “Encore for Murder”
BEST FEATURED ACTOR – Richard Fish for Pat Chambers in “Encore for Murder”
BEST ACTOR – Gary Sandy for Mike Hammer in “Encore for Murder”
BEST FEATURED ACTRESS – Amy Walker for Rita Vance in “Encore for Murder”
BEST ACTRESS – Cassie Post for Ariel in “Lost at Sea”
FESTIVAL CREATOR – Zev Buffman
LORD OF MYSTERY – Max Allan Collins
BEST PRODUCTION – “Encore for Murder”


International Mystery Writer’s Festival 2012 photo spread:
Top Row (l t r): M.A.C., Roxi Witt (producer of event), Lee Goldberg, Bob Randisi | M.A.C., Barb | M.A.C.
2nd Row: M.A.C., Lee | Barb, Gary Sandy, M.A.C. | M.A.C., Gary
3rd Row: Roxi, M.A.C., Barb | M.A.C., Gary, Gary’s Mom, Barb | M.A.C., Bob

M.A.C.