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Jon Breen And J. Kingston Pierce

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Two of my favorite reviewers had major news this week.

First, Jon Breen – who has been one of my biggest boosters for thirty years – is stepping down from his post at EQMM – The Jury Box. For my money, Breen is the best reviewer/critic of his generation. It’s a sad day for me to see Jon leave reviewing behind – from a selfish standpoint, since he’s a reviewer who usually likes my stuff – but I congratulate him on an incredible run. Further congrats are in order, because Jon is a fine mystery writer himself, one of the best traditionalists around, and this will give him time to get back to tending his own literary garden. He promises two columns per year at EQMM, discussing short stories and classic reprints.

Jon’s last regular column graciously singles out a dozen of his favorite writers including yrs trly, by way of a nice mention of the QUARRY reprint series from Perfect Crime. He even calls the first novel, QUARRY (aka THE BROKER) a “landmark” work. Yup, he showed excellent taste to the very last….

Second, J. Kingston Pierce (that’s Jeff to me) is the auteur behind the great crime-fiction blog the Rap Sheet (part of January Magazine). He is, thank God, not stepping down; in fact, he’s stepping it up, taking over the Kirkus crime-fiction blog, too. This may take some getting used to for me, since Kirkus has generally lambasted my work during the same thirty years that Jon Breen praised me. In fairness, Kirkus liked one of the dozen Hellers (NEON MIRAGE) and have been keen on the Spillane/Collins Mike Hammers, so far.

Anyway, Jeff has posted his first blog and he too has graciously included me as he discussed his favorite “comfort food” authors. This does not mean that my work resembles meatloaf with gravy and mashed potatoes and corn (well, some corn), rather that I am a dependable entertainer. Read about it yourself.

The first dual review of the two J.C. Harrow “Killer TV” novels has appeared, and it’s a doozy. Gotta check this out.

David Burke did nice little write-up at Matt Clemens’ hometown paper, the Quad City Times. A fun read. You’ll note that the headline refers to Matt as my “friend,” a downgrade from the Yahoo piece that credited him as the sole author of the CSI novels. (Matt – I told you there would be a reckoning!)

I can’t explain it, but according to this website, YOU CAN’T STOP ME is one of the ten bestselling novels of 2011 so far. I’ve heard we’re high on the Amazon UK lists, too. Back those trucks of money up to the house any time, guys!

We had some nice coverage, including a You Tube review, of THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER VOL. 2: THE LITTLE DEATH. The reason last year’s release is getting precedence over the current one is LITTLE DEATH’s Audie nomination.

We also received an outstanding review from Dick Lochte on ENCORE FOR MURDER in the new Mystery Scene. No link available, but it says in part: “Expect a lot of action, snappy patter, much of it gleefully non-PC, and several nice plot touches, including a clever method of cleaning dirty money, all smoothly presented by a full cast.” He also says the CD presentation resembles “a particularly well-written three-part episode” from the Stacy Keach TV version of Hammer. I will note, however, that the only time Stacy has appeared as Hammer in presentations actually derived directly from Spillane material is on THE LITTLE DEATH and ENCORE FOR MURDER.

Finally, I’m pleased to report that ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF made the top 50 hardcover mysteries list at Barnes and Noble (#40).