Posts Tagged ‘New Releases’

Early Crimes

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013
Early Crimes

A new book of mine has just been published, and though I haven’t held a copy in my hands as yet, I’m told it’s available at Amazon and other outlets, as well as directly from the publisher, Perfect Crime Books.

Perfect Crime, as some of you know, is where the first five Quarry novels are available in handsome trade paperback editions (and on e-book) as well as all of the Nolan novels but for the first two, which are available as TWO FOR THE MONEY from Hard Case Crime. Since the Quarry and Nolan novels the publisher carries represent the first phase of my career, it’s fitting that Perfect Crime is now offering EARLY CRIMES.

The book is a collection of sorts, though primarily represents the first publication of my 1974 or ‘75 novel SHOOT THE MOON (aka WYNNING STREAK). The rest of the contents are two very early stories, written when I was in a creative writing class at Muscatine Community College from 1966 through 1968. The short story “Public Servant” reveals my heavy Jim Thompson influence, and “The Love Rack” is a novella that combines Spillane and James M. Cain techniques. These are very hardboiled stories, whereas the novel SHOOT THE MOON reveals that I was at the time as much in the thrall of Donald E. Westlake as I was of his alter ego, Richard Stark.

The short story and novella were first published, back in the mid-‘80s, in HARDBOILED, the prozine whose then-editor, Wayne Dundee, had requested short fiction from me. I didn’t have time to whip anything new up and offered him these two unpublished early stories on the proviso that they be labelled as such. “Public Servant” was later reprinted by Lawrence Block in his collection OPENING SHOTS (2000). Wayne, interviewing me, learned of the existence of the unpublished first Nolan novel, MOURN THE LIVING, and talked me into serializing that in HARDBOILED. Since then, it’s appeared in book form several times, most recently with the other Nolan titles from Perfect Crime.

SHOOT THE MOON is another matter. After over forty years of this, my memory is shot. But I believe I wrote the novel just before QUARRY (aka THE BROKER) sold. It was absolutely a spec novel, and it was as shamelessly a Westlake homage as BAIT MONEY had been a Stark one. When I was finished with it, I sent the novel to Don Westlake, who was a mentor at the time, and he had complained about my overdoing the discursive humor. The version that Perfect Crime is including in EARLY CRIMES reflects me revising according to Don’s notes.

My agent at the time was the notoriously crusty Knox Burger, of legendary Gold Medal Books editorship fame. He did not like the book and didn’t want to handle it. I didn’t even know an agent could reject a book and was stunned. Finally, after my Westlake-advised rewrite, Knox took it on, but I don’t believe he ever really showed it to anyone. (Keep in mind he later also rejected TRUE DETECTIVE, at which time I fired him.) I had all but forgotten about the novel until a few years ago when, after Burger’s passing, some of my manuscripts were returned to me by his widow. Among them was a suspiciously fresh-looking copy of WYNNING STREAK, aka SHOOT THE MOON.

John Boland, the editor at Perfect Crime, originally intended to publish SHOOT THE MOON by itself. I felt the book would be better served in a collection that included the other two early stories. It would take the burden off the book being viewed as the “new” Max Allan Collins novel. But in the context of a collection, it works pretty well. The comic nature of it is slightly offset by the extreme noir of the other two pieces. Or anyway, that’s my opinion.

SHOOT THE MOON, which is a comic caper novel with a klutzy young hero, may be a kind of missing link to the ANTIQUES novels. Certainly it’s the most overtly funny novel I wrote before Barb and I began the Trash ‘n’ Treasures series (many decades later); and it shares a small-town sensibility. But for those of you who don’t follow the ANTIQUES books, because you wouldn’t be caught dead reading a cozy, not to worry – SHOOT THE MOON is very much a crime novel, with dangerous felons, jailhouse doings, bank robberies, and some satisfying plot twists. Again, in my opinion.

I hope my readers will support Perfect Crime in the publication of what is clearly the most esoteric book of mine out there. It includes an introduction, by the way, that covers much more than I’ve touched on here. It’s a bargain, too – just ten bucks. (I believe ordering from Perfect Crime directly gets you 20% off.) I hope you’ll give it a try, and if you like it, post reviews at Amazon and elsewhere; and if don’t like it, surely you have something better to do than say bad things about me in public.

* * *

ASK NOT, the new Nate Heller, which comes out in a little over two months, is getting some great advance reviews. Check this out, from Publisher’s Weekly:

“In the solid 17th Nate Heller thriller Ask Not, a sequel to 2012’s Target Lancer, Collins skillfully integrates fact with fiction in service of a plot centering on the suspicious-to-some numbers of witnesses to President Kennedy’s assassination who died in the months after November 22, 1963. In September 1964, a Cuban that the PI knows was involved in an attempt on J.F.K.’s life in Chicago three weeks before Dallas tries to run down Heller and his 16-year-old son on a Chicago street after a Beatles concert. With the permission of senatorial candidate Robert Kennedy, an old friend, Heller joins forces with journalist Flo Kilgore, a fictionalized version of Dorothy Kilgallen (1913–1965), to investigate an apparent conspiracy. Having played a part in facilitating the CIA-Mafia plots to knock off Castro, Heller is well-positioned to talk to those who might know why he’s been marked for death. Warren Commission skeptics will find some innovative theories of interest.”

And this starred review from Booklist:

“The third in Collins’ trilogy of Nathan Heller novels about JFK, this one jumps from a few weeks before the assassination (Target Lancer, 2012), when a planned attempt on the president’s life in Chicago was aborted, to several months after the events of November 22, 1963. Heller becomes involved when he and his son are nearly run down as they leave a Beatles concert. Recognizing the driver as one of the Cubans involved in the Chicago plot, Heller sets out to take his family off the assassins’ radar and soon finds himself even deeper in hot water, as he follows the trail of a host of spurious suicides by witnesses of the shooting in Dallas whose versions of what happened conflict with the official, “one-man, one-shooter” version being promulgated by the Warren Commission. Teaming with TV star and investigative reporter Flo Kilgore (read Dorothy Kilgallen), who is on the verge of exposing the cover-up – and its ties to several LBJ cronies – Heller ruffles feathers at the CIA, in the Mob, and possibly even in (or very near) the White House. A master at thoroughly believable historical re-creations of unsolved or covered-up crimes, Collins is the perfect fiction writer to tackle the JFK assassination, and he does so brilliantly, working the edges of the story by focusing on the little-known raft of questionable suicides – all documented in the historical record – and making great use of the Kilgore/Kilgallen character, who was herself one of the unlikely suicides. Even readers who aren’t conspiracy theorists will find themselves utterly drawn into the story and convinced by Collins’ version of what happened. And, best of all, it’s a terrific detective novel, compelling and well constructed even without the historical connection.”


Complex 90 Out Today

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
COMPLEX 90 Audiobook



Audio CD:

Audio MP3 CD:

Actually, COMPLEX 90 – the new Mike Hammer novel – will be published tomorrow, since I write these blog posts a day in advance. The cover we’re showing off here is the Blackstone audio version, read by Stacy Keach. I haven’t heard it yet, but it’s one of the greatest joys of my career to listen to Stacy reading these Spillane/Collins novels on audio.

This is, I think, one of the strongest of the collaborative Hammers, as it answers a lot of questions about Mike and Velda’s relationship, and it’s a sequel to perhaps the Mickey’s best book of the ‘60s – THE GIRL HUNTERS. Yes, the Dragon (the surviving half) is back. What great fun, writing about Mike Hammer in his espionage agent mode in a book begun by Mickey at the height of the James Bond spy craze. Fun, too, imagining Mickey as Mike in a movie playing in your demented brain. Well, my demented brain, anyway.

People often ask how I decide what order to do these books in – I had half a dozen substantial (100 pages or more) Spillane “Hammer” manuscripts to choose from. GOLIATH BONE was a no-brainer choice – it was the final book Mickey was working on, and was the longest manuscript (of the Hammers, that is – DEAD STREET was shy only of the last three chapters). Also, it had a 9/11 aspect that threatened to date it. So it was first up.

THE BIG BANG was a great ‘60s novel, with Hammer taking on drug racketeers, and just a great manuscript from Mickey, with one of his most outrageous endings. It won second position as a way to really show off Mike at his best. KISS HER GOODBYE, with its ‘70s setting and themes, was a natural progression. I held back the greatest find – LADY, GO DIE!, the unfinished sequel to I, THE JURY – for the fourth position, because my initial contract was for three books, and I wanted something very strong to launch the second trio, particularly if I had to change publishers…which I did.

COMPLEX 90 needed to be held back a while, because the anti-Commie aspect of it would only court trouble with the Hammer haters. I needed Mike to be back for a while before going there. Also, though Mickey wrote about Russian espionage in ONE LONELY NIGHT and THE GIRL HUNTERS, the Cold War theme is not what Hammer is best known for.

Shortly (yet this month) I will begin work on KING OF THE WEEDS, a novel designed by Mickey as a sequel to BLACK ALLEY and as the final Hammer novel. Mickey set it aside after 9/11 seemed to require Mike Hammer to wade into the war on terror. So these six novels begin with the final Hammer novel (THE GOLIATH BONE), and wind up with what Mickey had intended to be the final novel (KING OF THE WEEDS), making that the penultimate one, I guess.

Is this the end of the Spillane/Collins Hammer stories? Probably not. I am expanding short Hammer fragments into short stories (most recently in The Strand, “So Long, Chief”), and in two or three more stories will have enough for a collection. There’s also the possibility of doing a book that offers prose versions of the two audio plays. And there are three more significant Hammer fragments that I hope to turn into novels. When I say “substantial” unfinished manuscript, I mean that Mickey left behind at least one hundred pages and often plot and character notes.

When I say “significant” unfinished manuscript, I mean at least forty pages and sometimes plot and character notes.

I am hopeful readers and my current publisher will agree that the Mike Hammer canon should be completed. I see no reason for me to do original Hammer stories, not with the wealth of Spillane material at my fingertips. There are even non-Hammer fragments that could be Hammer-ized if need be. If the movie happens, anything is possible.

* * *

Last week was taken up with preparing materials for my producing partner, Ken Levin, to take with him to LA for meetings. Barb and I wrote up a TV proposal for the ANTIQUES series, and I put together an Eliot Ness in Cleveland TV proposal. In addition, I did a full-scale rewrite of “House of Blood,” turning it from an 85-page feature film script into a 58-page TV pilot script.

This week I’ll be meeting with Matt Clemens to work on the plotting of SUPREME JUSTICE, my second Thomas & Mercer novel. My friend Brad Schwartz and I have been working on a Teddy Roosevelt project, and the screen treatment of that will be finished probably today. Then I will be doing articles for Huffington Post and other web sites to promote COMPLEX 90.

Did I mention it’s coming out today?

A lot of Net activity to report and share.

A Minneapolis radio station has Part One of the Gary Sandy-starring version of MIKE HAMMER: ENCORE FOR MURDER produced at the International Mystery Writers Festival in Owensboro, Kentucky, last year. They will post Part Two next week. This is a lot of fun, but the host gives perhaps the most shambling introduction I have ever heard, starting with a discussion of the character “Mickey Spillane” who debuted on radio before the publication of I, THE JURY. You learn something every day….

The great web site Bookgasm had a lively, complimentary review of ANTIQUES CHOP, now a bouncing baby one week old.

Here’s a nice write-up on COMPLEX 90 at the Geek Girl Project.

I haven’t listened to this interview, but I was on the phone a long time, so be forewarned that you may need Red Bull to make it through. The guys interviewing me were great, but I’m afraid I blathered even more than usual.

Here’s a cool Nerds of a Feather write-up of COMPLEX 90 (out today!) (over doing?).

The news about HOUSE OF BLOOD winning that IMPA award was covered neatly at the Fangoria web site.

The SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT reviews are still comin’ in! Check out this cool one at Nerd Bloggers.

I was very pleased by this NO CURE FOR DEATH review – having a smart reviewer approve of a book written forty years ago is kind of amazing. Not as amazing as me writing it when I was six, but amazing.

This is a very intelligent review of THE BABY BLUE RIP-OFF from a guy who forgives me for being a liberal. (I’m taking something for it.)

And at this late date, we’re still being told that ROAD TO PERDITION was based on a graphic novel. Who’da thunk it?

THE TITANIC MURDERS gets a very nice write-up here.

And, finally, here’s the review you were all waiting for – of SKIN GAME, the second DARK ANGEL book (not published today…but still in print!). Matt Clemens co-wrote the DARK ANGEL novels with me, and they are among our best collaborations, in both our opinions.


Antiques Chop In Stores Now!

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
The quaint Midwestern town of Serenity is about to hit the small screen. Brandy Borne and her dramatically ditzy mother, Vivian, will be starring in Antique Sleuths, a reality TV show based on the duo’s antiquarian adventures—and their troubling talent for solving deadly crimes. What better shooting set than a creepy old house, the site of a 60-year-old unsolved axe murder?

The location is perfect until Bruce Spring, the show’s producer, meets a fatal axe-ident, mortally mauled just like the home’s previous owner. The first suspect on the chopping block seems typecast for the role of killer—he was found at the scene of the attack, clutching a stained axe. But as Brandy and Vivian chop around for clues, plenty of other suspects stick out their necks…

It seems the show’s cameraman clashed with Bruce—could he be the culprit? What about the acrimony between Andrew, the harried homeowner, and Bruce, whose dirt-digging documentary all but accused Andrew of the original unsolved crime? And who’s driving that blood-red Toyota that keeps making unscripted cameo appearances? If Brandy and Vivian are going to get to the bottom of this mystery, they’ll have to be extra careful not to wind up on the cutting room floor—in pieces!

– – –
Antiques Chop

Antiques Chop, the latest Trash ‘n’ Treasures mystery from Barbara Allan, hits shelves real and virtual today. Chop has been quick to earn critical praise, with Publishers Weekly saying, “The characters, both primary and secondary, shine with brassy humor, and series fans will applaud Vivian’s reach toward TV fame,” and Bill Crider calling it “a cozy with an edge” and suggesting you should “read the book. You’ll have a great time, and you can thank me later.”

Buy Antiques Chop at your local bookstore or online today!

Antiques Chop
Hardcover | E-Book Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes Sony Reader

And if you need to catch up on Brandy and Vivian’s adventures, Antiques Disposal is now available in paperback and reduced price e-book.

Antiques Disposal
Paperback | E-Book

Max’s regularly scheduled update continues below. And next week, we’ve got something a little different coming out as Mike Hammer slugs his way to shelves near you with Complex 90. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with liking both!

Seduction of the Innocent on Shelves Now!

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Seduction of the Innocent hits bookshelves real and virtual today. If you already pre-ordered your copy, take this reminder to go pick it up, or alternatively, to call in sick and wait by the mailbox, and skip on down to the regularly scheduled update from Al below. And if you haven’t (for shame!), this is for you…

Part noir, part pulp, and part comic book, Seduction is a detective thriller a la Rex Stout and inspired by the real-life 1950s witch-hunt against Tales From the Crypt publisher EC Comics. With an insider’s view of the history of comics, more than a dozen brand new illustrations in the classic EC style by comic book legend Terry Beatty, and a killer, Hard Case Crime-worthy cover by the great Glen Orbik, Seduction of the Innocent is not to be missed. But maybe I’m biased, so for you jaded Internet-savvy readers out there, here’s what everyone else has to say:

“Truly a breath of fresh air.”—Ron Fortier

“Thoroughly entertaining…Be on the lookout; you don’t want to miss it.”—Bill Crider

“Superior storytelling”—Ed Gorman

“A wonderful, fun, frothy mix of genres… a fast, exciting read, well worth carting along for moments-between or sitting down with for some self-indulgent reading.”—The Geek Girl Project

“Permeated with a sense of, well, joy. Murderous, sexpot, hard-drinking, gun-totin’ scandelous joy.”—pornokitcsh

“Ingenious…great fun, whether or not you are an aficionado of the comics of that era.”—Crime Time

“A must read for crime and comic fans alike.”—MysteryPeople

Seduction of the Innocent is marked by careful plotting, sharp dialog, and a mastery of genre conventions…”—Nerds of a Feather

“Everything I like in one handsome little package”—Books and Writers

Convinced? Buy Seduction of the Innocent today!

Paperback: | E-Book:

Audio CD: | Audio MP3 CD: | Audible:

UK: | CA: | AU: