Posts Tagged ‘Murder My Love’

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!)

An “Antiques” Stocking Stuffer and the Walmart Big Time

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

Yes, here I am with another selfless suggestion for something you might give to your loved ones or yourself at Yuletide.


Amazon Indiebound Books A Million Barnes and Noble

Antiques Ho-Ho-Homicides collects, for the first time, the three e-book novellas Barb and I did over the last five years. It’s a paperback (hence a perfect stocking stuffer), and I know some collectors out there prefer hardcovers, but “Barbara Allan” is thrilled that these stories are finally gathered in a real book.

If you are one of the hold-outs who like my stuff but can’t bring yourself to cross the cozy divide, Antiques Ho-Ho-Homicides is an inexpensive way to see Brandy and her mother Vivian in action. A sampler, if you will, and much tastier than those Whitman samplers some people insist upon giving you at Christmas.

I’ve discussed this before, but I still get questions about how Barb and I work together on the Antiques books, and how we stay married doing them. One aspect is that my office is on one floor and Barb’s is on another. But basically it’s this: Barb writes the first draft, and I write the final draft.

The less basic explanation is that Barb is the lead writer. Although I have more experience, and have been doing this longer, the books reflect her sensibilities and storytelling skills. We plot them together, but I stay out of the way while Barb prepares her draft. Sometimes we’ve described that as a rough draft, but really it’s not. Barb polishes each chapter thoroughly and, after at least six months of work, she gives me a perfectly readable and well-crafted novel that happens to be fifty or sixty pages shorter than what our contract requires.

My job is to further polish, and expand, and do lots of jokes. Barb has already done plenty of humor at this stage, but then I add more, with the result being that these novels are damn funny. Barb is wonderful about staying out of my way (as I’ve stayed out of hers, unless asked for input, during her creation of the initial draft). She claims to be so sick of the book at this point that she doesn’t care what I do to it.

This is not true.

She cares a lot, and will ask me why I’ve cut or changed something, and – when I tell her – will either agree or explain why (for plot or character reasons) (these are female point-of-view first-person novels) I need to restore what she originally wrote. Which I do.

The only time we’ve squabbled is when I’ve gotten crabby because I’m overworked. She will not tolerate snippiness. And I’ve been known on rare occasions (somewhat rare) (tiny bit rare) to be snippy, so there you go.

Consider Antiques Ho-Ho-Homicides our Christmas gift to you, except for the part where you have to pay for it.

Kensington publishes the Antiques novels, and also the Caleb York westerns. The accompanying photo will demonstrate that these Spillane/Collins westerns have hit the big time: we are in the Muscatine, Iowa, Walmart with The Bloody Spur! In fact, the Walmart chain bought a whole bunch of copies, and you can buy your copy at your local temple to the memory of Sam Walton.

The Antiques books haven’t made it into Walmart and probably won’t – the chain is very narrow about the kind of books they buy…mostly it’s romances, romantic westerns and westerns, plus a few bestsellers. Not a cozy in sight – not even an hilarious one like Antiques Ho-Ho-Homicides. How do they expect to stay in business?

Speaking of Antiques, here is a terrific review of Ho-Ho-Homicides at King River Life Magazine, which will give you a good idea of what to expect, including discussions of each novella.

Okay, now what you’re wondering is…what can I give Max Allan Collins for Christmas? I will be facetious and serious at the same time: you could write reviews (however brief) for my novels at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your own blogs and whatever site you deem appropriate. There is a real reason why you might want to consider doing this, if you want new work from me.

The books I write – Mike Hammer, Quarry, Antiques – are seldom reviewed by the mainstream (including lots of Internet reviewers). I do not have the cachet or sales punch of a Lehane or Connelly, who are always reviewed. I am largely ignored, even by people who love my work, in “Best of” lists at the end of the year. This is a bit of a head-scratcher, but it’s a reality. Even the widely, glowingly reviewed non-fiction book Scarface and the Untouchable: The Battle for Chicago isn’t turning up on such lists.

I probably write too much. That keeps work that, if other people did it, would be taken more seriously. I am not whining or complaining (well, I guess I am) but I do understand that even readers who follow my work can’t always keep up with me.

Here’s the deal. If I don’t write, publishers do not send money to my house. That’s one thing. The other is that I am 70, have had some harrowing health issues (that I seem to have either overcome or am handling well) and realize that I don’t have forever to tell my stories.

And I have a lot more stories I want to tell.

Actually, I do not work as hard as I used to. Over the years, most Heller chapters were written in a day (25 to 30 double-spaced pages). I was a boy wonder till I got old. I slowed down starting with Better Dead. In general, my work load now is ten finished pages, six days a week. (Sometimes only five days.) It’s no different than with people with a “real” job – they work five or six days a week, and nobody applauds them, or tries to talk them out of it.

As I’ve mentioned, I have friends who have done these sort of interventions to get me to retire and get Barb and me to go take a cruise with other aging couples. I would rather write. Barb and I treat ourselves well and have a great time together, and don’t feel the need for a lot of travel to do that. She is a beautiful woman and lovely company, and is the one thing in my life that is worth hating me over.

She and I are watching one Christmas movie or television episode per evening right now. I may write about this soon. But I will say this – Holiday Inn is a wonderful movie, and White Christmas sort of stinks. Maybe my son Nathan is right: Die Hard is a better Christmas movie than White Christmas.

* * *

Here six great books (available inexpensively) are recommended, and one of them is True Detective (and I’m pleased and grateful, but it’s not “Allen,” okay?).

Shots looks at upcoming Titan titles, including the new Hammer, Murder, My Love.

The Strand magazine is on the stands now, with the key Spillane “Mike Hammer” short story, “Tonight, My Love.”

We’ve linked to this review before, but this time it’s attached to the mass market paperback of The Bloody Spur, out right now.

Finally, here’s a lovely write-up on the three Jack and Maggie Starr mysteries.

M.A.C.

Ms. Tree Collected, A Royale Review and Boo to Halloween

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

Softcover:
E-Book: Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

The Ms. Tree prose short story, “Louise,” an Edgar nominee, is featured in editor Otto Penzler’s new anthology, The Big Book of Female Detectives.

This seems as good a time as any to confirm that Titan will be bringing out (in five or six volumes) the complete Ms. Tree comics, organized into graphic novel form. This is of course long overdue. I will likely be doing new intros, although it’s doubtful Terry Beatty will contribute new covers – the plan right now is to draw from his many outstanding covers for the comic books themselves.

* * *

Two more brief movie reviews…

Barb and I took in Bad Times at the El Royale, a ‘70s noir with an excellent cast that includes Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson and Chris Hemsworth. It’s written and directed by Drew Goddard, who wrote for Buffy on TV and did the screenplays for The Martian, Cloverfield and World War Z, among others. El Royale resonates with me in part because it’s a take-off on Cal Neva, the resort straddling California and Nevada that figures in my novels Bye Bye, Baby and Road to Paradise.

I’m sure some critics are comparing El Royale to Tarantino, and its novelistic approach (both the way it’s organized and its attention to character) is in that same ballpark. But El Royale has its own feel, and does not suffer the Tarantino habit of all the characters talking like the writer. I won’t say much about the plot, other than a central element is money from a robbery long-hidden in one of the rooms of a hotel that has become a faded relic of Rat Pack days, having lost its gambling license.

The screenplay draws upon a Spillane novella, “Tomorrow I Die!” (title tale of an anthology of Spillane short fiction I edited) that was adapted into one of the best films from Mickey’s work, an episode of Showtime’s Perfect Crimes. (Mickey’s story was his take on The Petrified Forest.) It also draws upon someone I wrote about here a while back, who was a war hero and a movie star (paying attention?).

Anyway, it’s a terrific film. You’ll feel like you’re spending the evening at the El Royale, though you’ll be having a better time than most of the characters.

We also saw the new take on Halloween, which is getting a lot of good reviews. Most of those reviews focus on Jamie Lee Curtis and her empowered if psychotic take on the older Laurie Strode. What rewards the film has are tied up in Curtis/Strode. I was amped for the film because I’m a horror fan, plus the screenplay is co-written by Danny McBride, of whom I’m also a fan. But the movie isn’t good. It’s not exactly bad, either, but there are almost no scares, merely unpleasantness and gore. It has a low-budget feel, and not in a good way, and even the John Carpenter music feels forced. One plot twist having to do with the substitute shrink for the Loomis (Donald Pleasance) character is meant to be a shocking surprise and just plays dumb and unconvincing.

After recently seeing the excellent Insidious films, and revisiting the very good Truth or Dare (all of these are Blumhouse productions, as is this new Halloween), the return of Michael Meyers fell flat for both Barb and me.

* * *

For those keeping track, I have delivered Murder, My Love, the new Mike Hammer. This one is based on a Spillane synopsis, but is the first of the novels with no Mickey prose woven in. I think it came out well, but it raises the question of whether I should continue Hammer when I run out of Spillane source material.

* * *

My novel of In the Line of Fire gets a latterday review! Positive, too.

Finally, here’s a Road to Perdition piece that discussed both the graphic novel and the film. Sorta likes both. Sorta.

M.A.C.