Posts Tagged ‘Mickey Spillane’

Mike Hammer Returns…and Another Book Giveaway!

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Hardcover:
E-Book: Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo
Audiobook (digital): Kobo Audible
Audiobook (MP3 CD): Amazon Nook
Audiobook (Audio CD): Amazon Nook

The day this post appears is the pub date for the new Mike Hammer novel from Titan, Murder, My Love.

I am offering ten copies to readers who are willing to post a review at Amazon and other sites, such as Barnes & Noble and Goodreads. We also have eight Advance Reading copies of the new Barbara Allan, which is not out till April 30, Antiques Ravin’. And five more Advance Reading copies of Girl Most Likely. When you enter, list your order of preference for which book to receive (and let me know if you already have a Girl Most Likely or if there’s one of these three titles you simply aren’t interested in).

With Antiques Ravin’ and Girl Most Likely, you will need to wait till pub day to review at Amazon. Elsewhere you should be good to go.

You need to be in the USA – foreign mailings are expensive – and you must send me your snail mail address (even if you won in the past).

Send requests to macphilms@hotmail.com.

As you may have noticed, if you follow the comments section, there has been misunderstanding about the reader reviews that are the point of these books being sent out. They are not being sent out of the goodness of my heart. They mean to generate positive reviews and nice star ratings at Amazon.

For that reason, I’ve made it clear that anyone who wins a book in one of my giveaway from me, and winds up not liking the book, need not feel obligated to review it. I don’t mean such readers should lie and say that liked the book, just that they not slag it at my expense. These book giveaways are an expensive and time-consuming undertaking. The one Barb and I are launching here will run me around $150.

This is why I suggested that if you win a book, and can’t at least give it a mixed but predominantly favorable review, you just don’t bother. That you chuck it in the circular file or take it to Half-Price books and earn yourself a dime or so.

I don’t think this is unreasonable.

On the other hand, review copies sent to readers for honest reviews by Amazon or the publisher’s PR reps can say whatever they please – obviously. Ditto for book giveaways at Goodreads. An honest bad review is a perfectly acceptable response in that kind of giveaway.

Just don’t ask the author for a free book and then trash it in public.

Now, I admit to being annoyed with the First Read reviewers who get free books from Amazon and then savage them. But I can’t do anything about it except bitch.

A few words about Murder, My Love.

This is the first Mike Hammer novel that contains no Spillane prose – strictly Collins. Every single novel of the dual-byline Spillanes that preceded had at least a chapter or two by Mickey, although I always expanded and manipulated that material to extend the Spillane influence and his sound. This time I did, however, work from a fairly detailed synopsis of a novel he intended to write, although it may have been a synopsis of Mickey’s for a Mike Hammer TV movie for Stacy Keach and producer Jay Bernstein (my introduction explains my reasoning and sets the novel’s place in the chronology of the series).

The next Hammer novel, which I haven’t started yet, does have some Spillane prose in it, though it too is mostly a synopsis.

For those who have wondered, I will likely be converting some non-Mike Hammer material – two screenplays and several starts on novels – into Hammers, if Titan moves forward with another contract (or two).

I think Murder, My Love came out rather well, and it certainly feels like authentic Hammer to me. I’ll be interested in your opinion.

* * *

One of my favorite crime writers is the late Ted Lewis, whose novel Jack’s Return Home (1985) became the great Brit crime film, Get Carter (1971). I wrote about Lewis in an introduction to the Jack Carter prequel novel in 2014, Jack Carter’s Law, originally published in 1978.

Recently I read a solid bio of Lewis by Nick Triplow, Getting Carter: Ted Lewis and the Birth of Brit Noir, published in the UK in 2017 by No Exit Press (it’s also available here). Lewis is an interesting but sad, even tragic figure, another artist taken down by self-doubt and alcoholism. I was fascinated (but not surprised) to learn that Lewis had been heavily influenced by Spillane and by Richard Stark’s Parker novels, to which Lewis had been led by the film Point Blank…because that was exactly the case with me. So Nolan and Quarry grew out of the same influences as Jack Carter.

But something strange and oddly wonderful, at least in my view (Small World, Dept.), popped up late in the book, in a discussion of Jack Carter’s Law, the very book I would one day introduce and praise. Triplow had difficulty finding any contemporary press reviews for that novel, with the only one turning up coming from the Carroll Daily Times Herald, the “Iowa Book Shelf” by reviewer R. Choate, who praises the book as offering a “realistic background of the London criminal element,” but says it’s “not recommended for those with squeamish stomachs.”

In the very next paragraph of the bio, Triplow talks about what I had to say of the same novel in my 2014 introduction. He of course doesn’t mention I am also from Iowa, and perhaps doesn’t know.

Here’s what had my jaw dropping: “R. Choate” is almost certainly Richard Choate, at the time a Des Moines area actor who was one of Michael Cornelison’s best friends. Do I have to tell readers of these updates that Cornelison was also one of my best friends, and that he had major roles in every one of my indie films and narrated both of my documentaries? That his one-man show of my Eliot Ness: An Untouchable Life is streaming on Amazon Prime right now?

I met Richard through Mike, and it’s entirely possible that Mike – knowing of my interest in crime fiction and film – made Choate aware of the book called in America, Jack Carter and the Law.

Richard Choate – who I haven’t seen since the public tribute to Mike, where I spoke – was originally going to have a major role in my indie film, Real Time: Siege at Lucas Street Market (2000). In fact, I wrote the part for him (he’s a wonderful actor), but a last-minute unexpected conflict with his day job made it necessary for me to re-cast the day before we went into production.

So what? (you might reasonably wonder).

But I ask you to put yourself in my place, innocently reading a book about one of your favorite authors and then having the coincidence of those two adjoining paragraphs gobsmack you.

To put it in some kind of less than ridiculous context, it was likely the one review Lewis got came from my talking up Get Carter to Mike, which likely led to him mentioning it to Richard, who then gave the prequel novel its only known review, until I wrote that 2014 introduction….

Cue Rod Serling and the music.

Two postscripts.

I believe Richard is in Oregon now and still involved in theater, and also in addiction treatment and counseling.

Also, Carter himself, Michael Caine, has a book out (Blowing the Bloody Doors Off) that is wonderful reading, not an autobio exactly (he’s done several of those), but reflections on his acting career and how what he’s experienced and learned can be translated to other professions. Much of what he says can easily be transferred to the writing game.

But, interestingly, he says little about Get Carter and doesn’t seem to particularly value it as anything special. This is odd because in Great Britain it is widely considered the best UK crime film of all. I would rate it Caine’s best, even above The Ipcress File and The Man Who Would Be King. I do agree with him, though, that the third Harry Palmer film, The Billion-Dollar Brain, is woefully underrated.

* * *

If you read this the day it’s posted (Tuesday, March 19, 2019), I will be appearing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at an event for writers dedicated to the memory of my late friend and great writer, Ed Gorman – a free 7 p.m. presentation in Sinclair Auditorium at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.

Here is an article – which is among the better in depth articles written about me ever, by the way – with the details.

And here is a terrific article about Ms. Tree (and the upcoming series of collections from Titan) at the generally terrific Stiletto Gumshoe site.

Finally, here’s where you can get a signed copy of Girl Most Likely. (Not a giveaway!)

Spending $50 at Amazon, and Not Everyone in the UK Loves Me

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

The forthcoming audio read by Dan John Miller

A rumor is around that you can’t review a book for Amazon unless you buy it from them. That appears to be false. What seems to be true is that you have to occasionally buy things from Amazon to be able to review there – which is different. You need to have spent at least fifty bucks at Amazon during the last twelve months. That’s it.

I actually think that’s fair. Why should a business where you don’t do business put your opinions on its web site?

Girl Most Likely is an Amazon Prime “First Read” selection the UK, so reader reviews of the novel are starting to appear there. Some are very good. Others are snarky and even savage. A certain breed of nasty UK reviewer seems to really relish attacking books – including books like mine, which they got for free – rather viciously.

Some of these reviews are appearing now at Goodreads. By the way, if you have been participating in my book giveaways, I hope you will post your reviews at Goodreads. I can especially use your reviews on Girl Most Likely, as the UK ones have pulled down the star rating, despite some really nice write-ups.

Don’t forget Barnes & Noble, and other blogs, including your own, if you have one.

Also, if you participate in my book giveaways, and if you don’t like the book, you are not obligated to review it. I am not insisting on good reviews, mind you – even I would not sink that low (I did create Nate Heller and Quarry, however). But every book I send out to you costs me time and money, and if you don’t care for the book you got free from me, that’s what the wastebasket or the Half-Price Books “buy” counter is for.

Let’s take an ill-advised look at Goodreads. (Pause for my son Nate to roll his eyes and reach for the phone.) This is where those UK readers – possibly taking Brexit out on me – have had their say already, weeks before the book will be on sale here. While there have indeed been some excellent reviews from the UK, and some mixed but fair ones, we also get things like this from Ceecee:

“I understand this is a book in the tradition of a Scandi noir of which I have read many and enjoyed most. So here goes. Brace yourselves.”

Never a good sign when a review begins with “Brace yourselves.” And what follows is an attack on me for calling my characters Scandinavian (it’s pointed out that they are actually Americans, which was interesting to learn). Problem is, the word “Scandinavian” does not appear anywhere in the novel.

Here’s a paragraph from later in Ceecee’s review that manages to be lengthy without presenting any examples to back up her opinions, and also not to have much to do with the novel:

“Danes are Uber cool. Probably the coolest of the Scandinavian countries. Sorry if you’re Swedish. Or Norwegian. You are cool too. Just quite not as cool as the stylish Danes. I didn’t detect too much cool in this setting in Illinois apart from the weather. Sorry if you are cool and from Illinois. I’m sure there’s plenty of you.”

This negative review from Christopher Williams says:

“The perpetrator also turned out to be somebody I was completely unaware of through the whole of the book!”

But just above his review, Cathi Reynolds says, “The red herrings were fairly obvious too and I’d spotted the killer by half way.”

Sophie Andrews says, “The female characters are really badly written, and many characters behave in completely inexplicable or unexplained ways.”

What are Sophie’s choice examples of my bad writing and poor characterization? What from the book does she quote or even paraphrase to back up her opinions?

Nothing.

And that’s the problem with so many of these reviews, even some of the positive ones. Opinions backed up with nothing at all.

This fairly positive review from Dr R Gallow compares me to Agatha Christie (cool!), but then says, “It was like 10 little indians. Who was killing off the Class of 2009 and why?”

Problem with that is, only two members of the class of 2009 are killed off in the novel. That’s eight Indians short – even I can do that math.

Here, from Glen’s somewhat favorable review (an American, not from the UK or Scandinavia either for that matter), comes this:

“We get an awful lot of virtue signalling, just like in most Nordic Noir. There are also some of the usual MAC tics, like describing everyone’s clothes in minute detail…”

Much of this review is fine, but I had never heard of “virtue signaling.” I looked it up and this is what Wikipedia says: “Virtue signaling is a pejorative term that refers to the conspicuous expression of moral values….In recent years, the term has become more commonly used as a pejorative by commentators to criticize what they regard as empty or superficial support of certain political views.”

Hmmm.

I suspect the presence of a conservative reader who knows I am a liberal and believes I am spouting my dire views upon the unwitting public by putting words into characters’ mouths. Right. Like the way I do with that flaming liberal Mike Hammer. Or that bleeding heart Quarry. Or that oh so politically correct Nate Heller.

Bullshit says I. My characters, and I would say the characters of most proficient fiction writers, have views appropriate to said characters, and are designed to lend those characterizations weight and specificity.

Must we talk clothing again? How many times do I have to say that I describe clothing for characterization? And in Girl Most Likely, the brand names have to do with a very successful woman returning to her class reunion dressed to the nines, and (minor spoiler alert) revealing later that the designer fashions are on loan or rented, like the sports car she arrived in.

Look, all of these people have a right to their opinions. Obviously. Believe it or not, I appreciate the time they have taken to write about the book, no matter how they felt about it. A well-reasoned review with criticism is well within bounds and I have even learned from some – but for that to happen, the opinions have to be backed up with examples of what didn’t work and why.

I think brief reviews are fine. “Not my cup of tea” is perfectly acceptable. “I loved every page” is just fine – really fine! But if you go on at length, remember, it’s an essay. Points have to be proven. Examples provided – like I have here.

Also, and this is basic and if I’ve gone on about this before, my apologies…but the experience of reading fiction is collaborative. It’s the writer plus the reader. The experience is unique to that pairing. No two readers experience a novel the same way.

Where my fiction is concerned I am something of a control freak. I know you, the reader, will come to my novel with bag and baggage, with opinions and points of view, and that comes with the territory. But I want to come as close as I can in the words I put on the page to having you see in your brain what I saw in mine, as I was creating the story. I want my physical descriptions of people and places to create something close to what I saw. I want to clothe my characters, not send them naked into the world. I am not just the writer but the director, and the costumer and the set designer, and you will just have to live with it, or at least skim what doesn’t interest you.

I’ve said this before, in so many words – sometimes my little play (we’re a play now, not a movie, in metaphorical terms) is performed on Broadway by the finest actors in the world. Other times it’s performed at the Podunk Playhouse by a bunch of amateur gits (that was for you UK readers). How well performed my work is, to some degree, up to you and your skills.

Me? I’m just trying to help.

* * *

Here how’s it done in this lovely (but at times mildly critical) review of Girl Most Likely from Ron Fortier.

Mickey Spillane’s 101st birthday was last week (March 9) and there have been some nice remembrances, including this one from Paul Davison with a link to a piece of mine.

For all the Goodreads reviews and ratings of Girl Most Likely, you go here. There’s a book giveaway of Girl here, too.

And finally here, in full, because I don’t have a link, is the Booklist review:

Girl Most Likely.
By Max Allan Collins
Apr. 2019. 272p. Amazon/Thomas & Mercer, paper, $15.95 (9781542040587); e-book (9781542090582)

Someone is killing members of the Galena [Illinois] High School class of 2009. Six months before the 10-year reunion, class member Sue Logan is brutally stabbed in Florida, shortly after a tense meeting with her murderer. During the reunion weekend, the victim is attendee Astrid Lund, the “girl most likely to succeed,” who has become a well-known Chicago TV reporter. After trying to make amends for stealing her classmates’ boyfriends in high school, she too meets with her killer before being stabbed to death.

These murders—and a third, seemingly committed by the same person—land in the lap of another class member, Krista Larson, the country’s youngest female chief of police 28, who calls on her widowed father, Keith, a retired police detective, as a consultant. This is a change of pace for Collins, best known for his fact-based historical-mystery series starring Nate Heller, and he describes it as “an American take on Nordic noir.” As such, it’s a well-wrought tale, and, though it lacks the bite of the Heller novels, it will keep readers going through the suspenseful, if somewhat abrupt, climax.
— Michele Leber

71 Candles, the Anthony Awards & a Big Thrill

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

If you are attending Bouchercon this year, you probably have already received your ballot for the Anthony Awards nominations. This is your reminder that Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness and the Battle for Chicago by Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz is eligible in the non-fiction category. Your votes would be much appreciated, as it’s an opportunity for us to strike back at the Edgar snub.

Other things of mine you might wish to consider are Killing Town by Spillane & Collins and Antiques Wanted by Barbara Allan in Best Novel. Also eligible are the two graphic novels, Mike Hammer: The Night I Died and Quarry’s War in Best Paperback Original; and “The Big Run” by Spillane and Collins in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine; and “The Punk” by Spillane and Collins in Mystery Tribune are eligible in Best Short Story.

Only Bouchercon attendees can vote, and the ballot that will emerge from these early nominations will be distributed at the convention itself in Dallas, Oct. 31 – Nov. 3.

Deadline for returning the ballot (which you can do via e-mail) is Tuesday, April 30.

* * *

Yes, as I write this on March 3, 2019, I have turned seventy-one years old. Considering where I was three years ago – just getting out of the hospital after open-heart surgery and a stroke – I am pleased to be that. I am pleased to be anything.

But I think about the difficulties Harlan Ellison had staying an angry young man after fifty, and realize my boy wonder days are over.

My beautiful wife Barb (my only wife – that kind of sounds like I also have a plain wife and a homely wife stashed away somewhere) showed me a wonderful time today, despite the freezing cold weather. We spent the day in the Quad Cities, having breakfast at the Machine Shed (the best breakfast around), shopped at Barnes & Noble and BAM!, saw a very good black comedy/horror movie (Greta), and had my annual lobster dinner (at Red Lobster). The evening was spent watching episodes of the classic UK crime show The Sweeney, taking time out to watch myself and A. Brad Schwartz on Backstory with Larry Potash on WGN-TV.

It was pretty good. Brad and I come off well, although I am not thrilled that we were left out of a segment about the Eliot Ness scrapbooks at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland. I mean, I discovered those scrapbooks and their value and pointed them out to Case Western, decades ago, and to Larry Potash, a few months ago.

On the other hand, there was footage of Brad shooting a machine gun. He is clearly having too much fun doing so, which is a joy to see.

Oddly, I’ve been on national TV several times lately. Muscatine and I are featured on Fireball Run, a gumball rally type show whose premise I do not understand – I was interviewed at the Musser Museum and displayed (brought from home) original Chester Gould art and Mickey Spillane manuscript pages, among other precious artifacts. [The series is available on Amazon Prime Video at this link; Season 11, Episode 12: “Max and Me” –Nate]

I was also interviewed for a full half hour show on Fox Nation streaming service. Below is the preview of the episode, but be forewarned that the suggestion – at times the statement – that the episode is based on the Collins/Schwartz book is not the case. And Fox has been so informed, and corrections have been made, but not everywhere. It’s an interview about the book, interspersed with vintage footage and, oddly, a photo identified as Ness and used throughout the episode that isn’t Ness at all.

Such are the vicissitudes of media coverage when you’re out promoting a book or film.

Among the best birthday gifts I received this year was an unintentional one – The Big Thrill e-magazine from the International Thriller Writers put me on their cover and have given me (thanks to writer Alex Segura) a fantastic review of The Girl Most Likely and an article about me drawing upon an interview I gave Alex. The pic shows me in front of the actual St. Valentine’s Day Massacre wall, as preserved at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. And this review/article is required reading.

M.A.C.

I Celebrate My Birthday By Giving You Such a Deal

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

Perhaps to celebrate my birthday day next week (March 3rd), Amazon is putting on sale almost all of my novels under their Thomas & Mercer imprint…for 99 cents each! It’s part of their Mystery, Thriller and Suspense Fiction book deals and runs throughout March, starting this Friday.

This includes all but the most recent Nathan Heller novels (the historical P.I. series that I consider my best work); here’s the list:

Also included in the Magical Max Allan Collins Birthday Sale is the entire run of Mallory novels:

Also the “disaster” series:

Plus these:

So if you were wondering what you should get me for my 71st birthday, I am far too selfless to want anything at all. Instead, why don’t you treat yourself to some under-a-buck books by me? It’s possible I will give any royalties to charity.

I mean, it’s possible.

* * *

Here’s a gallery of photos from the Mob Museum in Las Vegas on Feb. 16 when my Scarface and the Untouchable co-author, A. Brad Schwartz, interviewed me before a nice audience about Road to Perdition and Nate Heller, specifically the Vegas-centric Neon Mirage.






* * *

The announcement of Titan bringing out volumes collecting the complete Ms. Tree got a lot of play on the Internet and even in the print world, via The Hollywood Reporter (their story here).

It’s gratifying that – especially in the comics world – Ms. Tree artist/co-creator Terry Beatty and I received so much cyber-ink on this announcement. I stopped counting at a dozen write-ups! As John Huston as Noah Cross says in Chinatown, “Politicians, ugly buildings and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.”

There does seem to be some confusion about what exactly this first volume is – is it a re-launch with new material? Is it a “best of”?

No, it’s the complete run, although (at my request) we are starting at the end, with the ten graphic novellas we did for DC Comics in the early ‘90s. Five of them are collected in this first book to make up a graphic novel called One Mean Mother. (My preferred title – Drop Dead, Handsome – was overruled.)

* * *

Scroll down to see a brief but nice review of Killing Town from Steve Steinbock in The Jury Box in EQMM.

Here’s another brief bit from a reader who indicates we’ll be hearing more from her about Quarry and me.

This is a review of Girl Most Likely from a blogger, and it’s essentially good review, but I hate it. The reviewer quotes from an advance copy, which clearly advises against quoting since it’s not the final text, and blames me for the insertion (by an editor) of a “#” (hashtag) in a “MeToo” mention in dialogue. I had already asked the hashtag to be removed. (And I wrote the reviewer complaining about this breach and he did not post my comment.) His general tone is patronizing, and he has no understanding of the use of clothing description for characterization purposes. He complains that a plot avenue isn’t resolved when it is. He says the killer’s identity comes out of left field when another reviewer accused me of making it too overly obvious (as we say in the comics, “Sigh”).

A much better review is scheduled to appear in the next issue of Booklist, which I’ll share next week.

Finally, guess what film based on a graphic novel is on a “best gangster movies of all time” list?

M.A.C.