Posts Tagged ‘Nice Weekend For A Murder’

From The Basement It Arises

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011
The Comedy Is Finished

A lost Donald E. Westlake novel, THE COMEDY IS FINISHED, has been announced by editor Charles Ardai at Hard Case Crime. My involvement was played down in the news release, but it came about when I told Charles about the existence of an early ‘80s Westlake manuscript in my possession. Don had pulled it from the market when publishers asked him to make it “funnier,” not understanding it was not meant to be a “funny” Westlake. He shared it with me and we were discussing some revision notions; the plan, as I remember it, was to take it out to market under a shared pen name. We were in the early stages of this when the film “The King of Comedy” emerged and shared the novel’s premise (accidentally, I think, although Don did do some things with Martin Scorcese). At this point, Don killed the project.

When Hard Case announced MEMORY as the final unpublished Westlake novel, I scurried down to my basement and found the moldy carbon copy in a drawer of Westlake materials. Re-reading it, I didn’t feel it needed my input at all – a terrific book, but not a funny one (wasn’t meant to be, obviously). I told Charles about it, he responded eagerly and had me send him a photocopy. I was supposed to write an after word for the book, discussing the novel’s origins and my relationship with Don. Since then, I’ve been told that Don’s representation prefers that the book stand on its own, and I respect and understand that. The media releases on this novel won’t tell the full story, because the public might misunderstand and think this was a novel that Don hadn’t been able to sell – no, it’s a fine novel that Don wasn’t willing to revise into a comic one. I’m proud that I had something to do with bringing one of Don’s novels into publication – he was a great friend, mentor and inspiration to me. Here’s how the public was informed, last week, of this rediscovered unpublished novel.

There’s a brief but nice Stacy Keach interview about KISS HER GOODBYE and other Mike Hammer audios here.

I have the idea that YOU CAN’T STOP ME is doing better on e-book than as a “real” book – this week Matt Clemens and I got a great review for the novel at a Kindle blog.

Mallory continues to receive more love, with another brief but nice write-up for the series in general and NICE WEEKEND FOR A MURDER in particular.

A while back I quoted from Dick Lochte’s terrific Mystery Scene review of the audio novel THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER VOL. 3: ENCORE FOR MURDER. Here is the full text (you will see a rejected cover for the release for your trouble).

You might enjoy this very interesting review of the film “Slightly Scarlet” from James M. Cain’s LOVE’S LOVELY COUNTERFEIT. It begins my referencing my commentary track from the VCI DVD release.

I will be going off to Hollywood for several days of meetings on various film/TV projects later this week. Wish me luck, or break a leg or whatever.


Thrilled to be Nominated

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

A very pleasant surprise last week (actually, two of them): the International Thriller Writers have nominated YOU CAN’T STOP ME for Best Paperback and the Mike Hammer “Long Time Dead” for Best Short Story.

Matt Clemens and I had been told that YOU CAN’T STOP ME had made the short list of ten for the ITW honor, but we were nonetheless blown away by the actual nomination. This comes at a very good time for us because, frankly, the current Harrow book isn’t burning up the bookstands, and we are (in TV terms) “on the bubble” with the fledgling series.

If you have not read either Harrow – YOU CAN’T STOP ME and the current NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU – maybe this news will be enough to get ya off the dime. I believe the Kindle prices on both books are very low – under five bucks each last time I checked.

And of course it’s very, very rewarding to have a Spillane/Collins collaboration singled out. Some people dismiss the posthumous Spillane material, without even a read, citing “purist” notions about not wanting to subject themselves to a work started by one writer and completed by another. Apparently they never read Ellery Queen.

Anyway, here is the full list of the nominees:

As I’ve said before, one of the cool surprises the net can serve up is a new review for an old book. Here’s a nice one about the Mallory novel, NICE WEEKEND FOR A MURDER. Mallory has been getting a little love lately, out in cyberspace, so maybe one of these days we’ll get him back into print.

OurTop Suspense Group anthology keeps getting great reviews, like this one. There are occasional complaints about typos and inconsistencies story-to-story, and we’re cleaning those up as we can – it’s a home-made effort by pros, understand. You can get it in actual book form now, and it’s really a beautiful-looking book. Reads good, too.

KISS HER GOODBYE keeps racking up nice reviews – this one is from somebody who I frankly think is getting jaded (he likes GOLIATH BONE and BIG BANG better – most reviewers and readers…including Jane Spillane…think KISS HER is the best of the trio), but overall it’s another good one.

Last week Barb and I wrapped up ANTIQUES DISPOSAL and got it shipped (well, e-mailed) to Kensington. We took two days off for a getaway (to Des Moines – yes, our life is a glittering, glorious, glamorous Jet Set fantasy) and came back for a nice weekend (not for murder) with son Nate, his girl Abby and our granddog, the supremely insane Australian Blue Heeler, Toaster. Also got in a really good Crusin’ gig at the local Eagles Lodge Hall, for Eagles pooh-bahs from all over the grand state of Iowa.

It is true, by the way, that Crusin’ will be playing at Bouchercon in St. Louis this fall. We will be having a handful of mystery-writer guests who will join us on a few songs. No instrumental sit-ins (that way lies madness), but we will have some guest vocalists. The first we’ve invited: Bob Randisi. Are you out there, Parnell Hall?