Posts Tagged ‘Ms. Tree’

Quarry on Cinemax

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

The QUARRY pilot, recently green-lit by HBO/Cinemax, has been cooking for about a year. I was never involved as a writer, but Graham Gordy and Michael D. Fuller, the two writers who wrote the pilot – and are developing a first-season story arc – began by spending two hours on the phone with me. I was hugely impressed not only by their intelligence and creativity, but by their excellent taste – they love the QUARRY books. Their familiarity with the material, and the way they “got” it, made me feel I was in good hands. They asked all the right questions.

I have been promised two scripts per season, if the pilot is picked up. I’ve read and given notes on the pilot script, and I’m very happy – the writers solved problems that I knew they would face, and did so in ways that hadn’t occurred to me. I was thrilled (though surprised) to find out that the series would be set in “period” – that is, the early seventies. As I’ve said elsewhere, you know you’ve been around a while when something that was contemporary when you wrote it is presented as a period piece by filmmakers.

QUARRY (and that was my original title for the novel, not THE BROKER) was begun at the University of Iowa in 1971. It did not get a particularly warm reception in Workshop (the instructor, William Price Fox, was dismissive, but then that was typical) though two or three in the class thought it was great. I completed it after graduation, in 1972, after selling BAIT MONEY and NO CURE FOR DEATH. It took three or four years for QUARRY to sell, and I’d almost given up on it. When it sold, I immediately got a contract to write three more.

At the time, I thought it was the most original thing I’d done. It took a step past the Richard Stark “Parker” books that had so influenced “Nolan,” by challenging the reader with a killer (not a thief) in a first-person (not “safe” third-person) narrative. I still think Quarry is one of my two major contributions to the mystery genre, the other being Nathan Heller (and the combination of history and noir). I would put the PERDITION saga in next position, and MS. TREE right after that.

I am very hopeful that QUARRY will become a series, and a really good one – it can be done (see JUSTIFIED). I know that both HBO and its sister Cinemax wanted to do it – that Cinemax, because it’s in the midst of a major re-branding with an action/adventure slant, wound up with it. If the casting goes well (one of the key aspects), QUARRY should be in good shape. They have a terrific director (John Hillcoat) lined up, and the producers are also top-notch. I will probably have some kind of producing capacity myself, which will be essentially creative consulting. That’s still being negotiated.

The news was all over the Net last week, and you can read the first story that came out right here.

I will not post every re-hash of that information, but here’s a typical example.

And I was happy to see Jeff Pierce include the news at the Rap Sheet.

I’ve done only one interview on the subject, for a local paper, the Quad City Times, written by David Burke (who was on the ROAD TO PERDITION junket!).

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I am working on ANTIQUES A GO GO. Barb gave me a great first-draft, very funny with great NYC color (it’s set at a comics con in Manhattan). I’m having a blast.

We went to two entertaining movies this weekend: a really strong 3D conversion of JURASSIC PARK, which actually improves the movie, and a respectful re-boot of THE EVIL DEAD. The latter is not really a comedy, despite what some reviews say, and harkens more to the first grim EVIL DEAD than the overtly comic EVIL DEAD 2 and ARMY OF DARKNESS. If you are an EVIL DEAD fan, as Barb and Nate and I are, you will want to sit through the credits for a nice surprise.

I have a couple more links to share, starting with this nice inclusion of DEADLY BELOVED and THE FIRST QUARRY on a Hard Case Crime “essentials” list.

And the reprint of KILL YOUR DARLINGS has elicited this nice review.

M.A.C.

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.

Target Lancer Book Tour Stops Announced

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

See elsewhere on this page for the full list of dates with start times for the TARGET LANCER tour.

New York remains the center of publishing and we have many friends there, as well as a few relatives. So the hurricane bearing down upon the East Coast is much on our minds, and we request that your thoughts and prayers be with the residents of the states getting the brunt of this latest blast of extreme weather.

I continue to work on ASK NOT, the follow-up to TARGET LANCER. This has been a brutal, even punishing experience, due to the mass of research material and the difficulties that material presents. What I have been wrestling with throughout is how much time compression to use, in order to make the narrative more compelling. That kind of thing is common in writing Heller: balancing the “true detective” mandate of giving an accurate look at history against the need to do an exciting suspense story. Time compression is definitely the biggest liberty I take, on just about every Heller, and this one is no exception. With luck, I have about two weeks to go.

We will very soon have a You Tube promo for TARGET LANCER that my longtime collaborator Phil Dingeldein shot for me. Phil and I continue to explore doing a new low-budget horror film, probably starring Danielle from AMERICAN PICKERS, on which Phil is a key shooter and occasional director.

Advance TARGET LANCER reviews continue to flow in, like this great one from a first-rate writer, Ron Fortier.

I enjoyed this LADY, GO DIE! review by a reader who is grappling with his dislike of Mike Hammer as a character, or at least certain aspects of Hammer’s character, but is starting to like the books. I would point out to a lot of Hammer’s critics, who don’t like the way he seems to be sadistically enjoying the punishment he dishes out, that Hammer reacts that way when dishing out violence upon bad guys. He’s a selective sadist.

Here’s another LADY, GO DIE! review, short but fun.

A review of DEADLY BELOVED has popped up, after all this time. Generally a decent review, but the reviewer doesn’t quite grasp the larger-than-life, tongue-in-cheek nature of the material.

Similarly, this good review of QUARRY’S EX doesn’t entirely “get” Quarry himself, but it’s fun to see a new, presumably younger reader grappling with the character.

Here’s a cool review of THE WAR OF THE WORLDS MURDER, which will soon be available in a new edition from Thomas & Mercer (both trade paperback and e-book).

A week from the day this appears, Barb and I will be working in the local Obama office. Yes, I am revealing what everyone already knows: that I support the current President. How can the guy who is continuing Mike Hammer vote for a Democrat? (This is a question my friend and partner Jane Spillane must ask herself everyday!) Well, it speaks to some of the character issues that critics are perplexed with above. I think Mike Hammer is a fantastic character, but I wouldn’t vote for him for president. Not that Obama’s opponent is Mike Hammer, by any means. After all, it was a Hammer-like team sent by my guy that took down Bin Laden.

M.A.C.

Skin Game

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

My latest collaboration with Mickey Spillane is available in e-book only from Dutton’s e-relaunch of its Gilt-Edged Mystery Line, of which Mickey was the first great star, actually easily the greatest star. It’s a nice honor that they are making Mickey a big part of this new start.

Here’s where you can read about the novella and order it from parent company Penguin. It’s also available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other e-book sellers.

The novella is my completion of a very interesting fragment from the Spillane files – a typically great opening from Mickey. It’s already generating some terrific reviews, like this one…and this one.

Meanwhile, LADY, GO DIE! continues to get nice notices. Here’s one of the latest.

And for an in-depth view of the First Comics panel at San Diego Comic-Con, with an emphasis on Ms. Tree, check this out.

And the next Hammer novel – COMPLEX 90, the long-awaited third book in Mickey’s Red Scare trilogy (the other two novels are ONE LONELY NIGHT and THE GIRL HUNTERS) – has been delivered to Titan. I finished right before we left for San Diego.

M.A.C.