Posts Tagged ‘New Releases’

New Mike Hammer Mini-Book Plus Quarry Raves

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

My friend Otto Penzler, who published the first three Spillane/Collins “Mike Hammer” novels at Harcourt, asked me to develop a bibliophile novella for him. He has a series of these small books that are sold exclusively through his Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan. The story, called “It’s in the Book,” has Mike Hammer searching for…a book. I think it’s one of best the short stories I’ve developed from Mickey’s shorter Hammer fragments, and you can order it here for $4.95.

There’s also a signed limited hardcover edition for $100, for the more demented among you. You can find it at the Mysterious Bookshop website.

Courtesy of Iowa-based stand-up comic Dwayne Clark (he’s terrific) comes this screen cap of Chris Christie. No political point here, just bragging on how a certain title of mine has gotten into the language.

Road to Contrition

The WRONG QUARRY reviews, mostly raves, keep rolling in. Very good response to this one. It’s been interesting and a little odd to have all this discussion of what is from my perspective the previous Quarry novel while I am working on the current one. It’s especially odd because a lot of the reviews focus on the “list” approach of WRONG QUARRY, whereas QUARRY’S CHOICE takes place while Quarry is still working for the Broker. When he’s a hitman killing citizens and not a hitman killing other hitmen.

One reviewer, generally a fan of my work, has trouble with Quarry himself. That he talks to the reader. That he seems fairly normal. That he is a killer. I get this, and always knew the character would not work for all of my readers. Going back to the character’s creation in the early ‘70s, Quarry is perhaps the first series protagonist with PTSD. He is us, post-Vietnam – numb, less human while still recognizably human. The arc of almost any Quarry novel is the character starting as a cold killer, meeting a good woman, and becoming something more like who he’d been pre-Vietnam. But faced at the conclusion with a decision that could be answered any number of ways (one of them violence), he will always choose violence. Like America, that war ruined him.

I understand that readers who like Mallory or Heller (or the ANTIQUES series!) may find Quarry a hard go. The books are black comedies, and he is not a hero in the traditional sense. He’s not even an anti-hero in the traditional sense. I like it when readers are disturbed or uncomfortable with him and his behavior. When in 1972 I showed the first two chapters of QUARRY to my workshop class at the University of Iowa, many students objected to Quarry killing a man dispassionately in chapter one and screwing a woman dispassionately in chapter two. I just smiled and said, “That was the point – bang bang.”

Also, there are Quarry fans who don’t like Heller and really don’t like Mallory (and would probably puke reading an ANTIQUES novel). I’m okay with that. You don’t have to like everything on the restaurant’s menu. But do keep in mind that I primarily write melodrama, and that I don’t necessarily approve of everything that my protagonists do. Do you really think Mike Hammer and I vote for the same candidates?

Well, that’s unfair. Mike Hammer doesn’t vote.

Not even for Chris Christie.

* * *

Let me share some of these mostly incredible WRONG QUARRY reviews, starting with this rave from Book Reporter.

Another nice one can be seen at the Eloquent Page, though I hardly agree with the reviewer that Quarry is depicted as “a real man’s man, all booze, violence and broads.” Mostly he drinks Cokes, and he doesn’t really think about women in those terms. Violence – okay, you got me there.

As a guy who never served in the military, I love it when a reviewer digs Quarry. (Quarry was, as I mentioned, in part based on my late friend Jon McRae, who served many tours in Vietnam as a Marine.)

The Mystery People folks chose THE WRONG QUARRY as one of their three picks for January.

Here’s a cool one from Nerd Like You. I love it when nerds like my stuff – I was one before it became cool.

Here’s a very intelligent write-up from Mystery Maven.

And another great one from Terry Ambrose.

Geek Hard finds THE WRONG QUARRY righteous.

This brief, positive review prefers Heller and Mallory to Quarry, and recommends Mallory as the place to start with my work. As I mentioned above, I can see that a Mallory fan might struggle with Quarry.

And Nerds of a Feather likes THE WRONG QUARRY, too.

The mixed review I discussed above can be seen here. You have to admire a balanced approach like this – so easy these days to write a rave or a pan.

Finally, on a non-Quarry note, here’s a scan of a BATMAN story courtesy of current fans who like my work on that feature. Bless you, my children!


Right Time for “The Wrong Quarry”

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Today is the pub date for THE WRONG QUARRY. So you should be able to find it in your local brick-and-mortar bookstore, and it’s certainly available on line from the usual suspects.

This also means that those of you who received one of the fourteen advance copies I sent out can now post your review at Amazon (they don’t let advance reviews go up unless written by certain approved reviewers). And your reviews are encouraged at Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and other sites.

I can’t emphasize enough how important the Amazon reviews are, even those of a line or two. WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER has 80 reviews and that constantly increasing stream of reviews keeps the book selling. It has done considerably better, which may surprise you, than the new Heller, ASK NOT, which has only 21 reviews. Please support all of the books you like (not just mine) with Amazon and other reviews. It’s a textbook grassroots way of helping out the authors you enjoy.

Also available, or will be soon, is an audio book of THE WRONG QUARRY. I just found out the delightful news that Dan John Miller (the voice of Nate Heller) has read THE WRONG QUARRY. This is from Audible, and is a download only. Audible has also done the first five QUARRY novels, as well, although with another reader. I haven’t heard any of these yet, but Barb and I will be listening to them over this year on various car trips to Chicago, Des Moines and St. Louis. Dan John Miller is my preferred reader for all my work. (He did a great job on WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER as well as the Mallorys and several of the “disaster” series.)

I am deep into QUARRY’S CHOICE. It’s a little odd to have so many people talking to me about THE WRONG QUARRY while I am so immersed in CHOICE, which is a change of pace – not a “list” novel, it follows Quarry on a job he’s doing for the Broker. It takes place about a year after THE FIRST QUARRY.

The reviews thus far for THE WRONG QUARRY have been stellar, I am pleased to say.

One of the powerhouses among book review sites, Bookgasm, has posted this terrific WRONG QUARRY review.

Criminal Element has a wonderful WRONG QUARRY review from Doreen Sheridan.

It’s always a thrill when a writer you respect reviews a book of yours favorably. Here is the great Ed Gorman – who has been reading Quarry from the start – with some very insightful commentary on WRONG QUARRY.

Nerdspan likes THE WRONG QUARRY, too.

The much-respected (and deservedly so) UK reviewer Mike Carlson has offered up one of the best and smartest discussions of WRONG QUARRY.

Here’s another cool UK review of WRONG QUARRY.

And here’s a fun one from Curiosity of a Social Misfit, very good but with some typos anyway missing words.

On another note, I am somewhat melancholy at shutting Crusin’ down as a regularly performing bar band. As I’ve said, we are not breaking up, and are accepting event bookings. But the reality is, we are moving from twenty-plus gigs a year to probably three or four.

So there were odd resonances when the Des Moines Register called me – as an Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame member – for my reactions to the passing of Phil Evelry of the Everly Brothers of Shenandoah, Iowa. My comments are toward the end of the article. The concert I mention is one I attended with the late Paul Thomas, my longtime musical collaborator.


Ask for “Ask Not”

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

E-Book: Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

Today marks the publication date of ASK NOT, the third novel of the Nathan Heller “JFK” trilogy. It’s available right now, so scurry to your favorite bookseller, whether brick-and-mortar or on the net, and improve your life…and mine. Barnes & Noble often only gets in a couple of copies of my new novels, so you may have to ask for it.

If you like the book at all, please review it at Amazon and/or Barnes & Noble, or blog about it. (As usual, I will remind you to do this for all the authors whose books you enjoy). If you happened to read it in a bound galley, now is the day that Amazon will start posting reader reviews.

The previous JFK Heller novel, TARGET LANCER, has just come out in mass market paperback, so if you’ve been waiting for a popularly priced edition (as they used to say), now’s the time. Reviews at Amazon for that would also be much appreciated. Detailed reviews aren’t necessary – just a line or two about what you thought.

ASK NOT is my “dead witnesses” book just as TARGET LANCER was a novel about the lead-up to the assassination. Getting these two books written, and in print, was a major goal for me. When I first knew that TRUE DETECTIVE would spawn a series, I made the Kennedy assassination my end game. So in a very real sense, I have “finished” the Heller series. Should I get hit by a bus today, the Heller memoirs could be considered complete (unless I survive the accident).

With a new Forge contract, I hope to be doing at least another half dozen Heller novels. As I get older, this gets trickier – neither my researcher George Hagenauer nor I are the energetic kids we used to be. I’m an energetic something, but not a kid. Google has made writing the Hellers somewhat easier – I’m staggered to think that every Heller prior to BYE BYE, BABY was written without benefit of the net (first book I remember using the web for was THE TITANIC MURDERS). But George and I still do an enormous amount of research in old newspapers and vintage true-crime magazines, and read book after book after book.

With subjects like the McCarthy era, the Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations, and Watergate on my short list, what lies ahead is somewhat daunting. I hope you’ll stay with me through what I trust will be some of Nathan Heller’s best memoirs.

Speaking of ASK NOT, here’s a terrific review from Criminal Element. What’s really cool is that the author – a female (my favorite sex) – hasn’t read a Heller before, which of course includes the first two books of the trilogy. Yet she really, really dug it.

And speaking of Nate Heller, check out this fantastic and very smart review of THE MILLION-DOLLAR WOUND (among my personal favorites among my novels) by Kevin Tipple.

Finally, I joined my fellow Top Suspense members to contribute to this list of our favorite noir films.


New Books and Bouchercon

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
What Doesn't Kill Her
Lady, Go Die! Paperback

My Thomas & Mercer thriller, WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER, written with the assistance of longtime collaborator Matthew Clemens, goes on sale today. That means those of you who asked for review copies will now be available to post your reviews at Amazon.

The Top Suspense Group, of which I am a part, has an excellent WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER write-up courtesy of that excellent writer Libby Hellmann on the TSG blog today. Read it right here.

Barb and I are listening to Dan John Miller’s audio of WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER, and he really brings the book to life. Dan is heading into the studio to read ASK NOT this week – I am thrilled that the definitive audio voice of Nate Heller is back for this one.

Also available, for those you who have been waiting for a mass market paperback, is Titan’s new edition of LADY, GO DIE! This establishes a pattern for Titan reprints to come, utilizing images culled from old paperback covers (as opposed to the Hard Case approach of doing new retro covers). What do you think?

Speaking of Mike Hammer, here is a nifty review from Sons of Spade of COMPLEX 90.

Well, Barb and I did not win the Nero for ANTIQUES DISPOSAL, but we remain very pleased that we were noticed. That’s a very tough place to get nominated. Read about who won and who else was nominated at the Rap Sheet.

My thanks to readers who requested review copies of EARLY CRIMES. Some of those reviews are up at Amazon now.

* * *

For those of you going to Bouchercon in Albany next weekend, here are the event times for Barb and me:

Friday, Sept. 20:

9:45 am signing – not sure where this will be held; probably the book room. It’s a Thomas & Mercer signing.

1:50-2:45 pm Barb/MAC panel, “I Don’t Want to Be Alone” RM 1

2:45-3:15 pm signing, “Barbara Allan” (Barb and MAX), book room

Saturday, Sept. 21:

10:20-11:15 am Barb panel, “Money or Love” RM 3

11:15-11:45 am signing, “Barbara Allan” (Barb and MAC), book room

12:30-1:25 pm MAC panel, “Famous Last Words” RM 6

1:25-1:45 pm signing, MAC, book room