Posts Tagged ‘Nolan’

New Antiques

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Antiques Knock-Off

ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF is supposed to be coming out March 1st, but I am getting reports that it’s already out. I am pleased to report that Barb and I have had rave reviews from both Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly for this entry in the “Trash ‘n’ Treasures” series. I’m getting increasing positive feedback from readers of my usual hardboiled fare that they are digging this cozy series, which Jon Breen aptly describes as “subversive.” If you don’t laugh at these, check your pulse – you may have passed away.

One of the interesting things about the net is that reviews of older books show up. This week some really perceptive reviews popped up of various not-current works.

With ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF just hitting the shelves (our best “Barbara Allan” yet in my opinion), it’s fun to see ANTIQUES MAUL, the second book in the series, turn up on a Kindle review site. I love it when a reader “gets it” – particularly a reader who blogs. Reviewer Joe M. points out that ANTIQUES MAUL is on sale for Kindle at under five bucks!

Indian Book Reviews has a very nice review of MORTAL WOUNDS, the collection of my first three CSI novels. I’m very proud of those novels, written in collaboration with my NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU co-author Matt Clemens. We did eight CSI novels and two CSI: MIAMI, all of which are among the most successful non-science-fiction TV tie-ins of all time. Matt and I are waiting to hear if the Harrow series will continue at Kensington – if you buy copies (real books or Kindle) you will help the cause!

The fun blog Not The Baseball Pitcher has a review of my 1981 Nolan novel – FLY PAPER! Pretty decent review, too. Speaking of Nolan, I am working on a deal to bring Nolan and Jon back into print (books #3 through #8 – the first two are still available as TWO FOR THE MONEY). They will be trade paperbacks, not initially available on e-book.

Finally, I’ll mention we had a very successful two-night stand at the Riverside Casino here in Iowa. We appeared with Denny Diamond, an excellent Neil Diamond tribute act, and had great response. We are in talks right now possibly to appear at the St. Louis Bouchercon. That would be our third Bouchercon appearance, and we hope it happens, because the other two were a blast!

M.A.C.

Eliot Ness Back In Print

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Speaking Volumes, the audio company that has brought out several of my novels on CD, is branching out into e-books and print editions. I’m pleased to announce that all four “Eliot Ness in Cleveland” novels are now available in what look to be handsome editions (my author’s copies have not arrived yet). This is the first new printing of MURDER BY THE NUMBERS since its original publication in 1993, so that title in particular may be of interest.

Dark CityThe Dark City: Print | E-Book
Butcher's Dozen
Butcher’s Dozen: Print | E-Book

Each Ness novel is based on a real investigation by the famous Untouchable during his very exciting tenure as the Public Safety Director of Cleveland – less written about than his Chicago days, the Cleveland years mark Ness’s major contributions to crimebusting. THE DARK CITY has him cleaning up a notoriously corrupt police department (with a guest apperance by Nathan Heller), BUTCHER’S DOZEN (the best known of the novels) is the first book-length look at the famous Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run, BULLET PROOF has Ness taking on corrupt unions, and MURDER BY THE NUMBERS finds Ness making an unlikely alliance with black numbers gangsters to defeat the famous Mayfield Road Mob’s takeover of a “colored” racket. The latter book explores Cleveland as the source of Chester Himes’ imaginary Harlem in his Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones crime novels, featuring the real-life black cop who provided the basis for those famous characters.

Bullet ProofBullet Proof: Print | E-Book
Murder By The Numbers
Murder by the Numbers: Print | E-Book

These novels formed the basis for the second act of my play (and film) ELIOT NESS: AN UNTOUCHABLE LIFE.

A very smart review of Mickey Spillane’s classic MY GUN IS QUICK favorably mentions my introduction to that Penguin collection of the first three Mike Hammer novels. Nice to see somebody “getting” Mickey Spillane.

David Rachels’ web site, NOIRBOILED, often has interesting stuff on display, including mini-interviews with authors and “poems” culled from crime novels. He has panned several of my novels and he gives a patronizing, half-heartedly positive review to the current reprint of QUARRY. He’s a smart guy, so it’s worth a look, but I don’t agree at all with his labeling of the Quarry series as chiefly a Richard Stark imitation. His description of QUARRY as a novel built on the Stark approach/structure doesn’t show much insight to either approach or structure – a good deal of the magic of the Parker novels is the section midway that either devotes a chunk to a single point of view other than Parker’s or gives single point-of-view chapters to various characters, enabling Stark to play games with time (a trick Don Westlake admitted to me having learned from Kubrick’s THE KILLING). QUARRY, a first-person novel built much more on the traditional private eye paradigm than that of Stark’s quirky crook books, is far, far less indebted to Richard Stark than the Nolans, which began as outright Stark pastiche (though I believe they grew into something of their own). To really understand what I am doing in the Quarry novels – or for that matter what Stark is doing in the Parker novels – a reviewer would need a better grasp of W.R. Burnett, Horace McCoy, Dan Marlowe and Jim Thompson than Rachels reveals. Rachels also does not appear aware that – after the first book, anyway – Parker never kills a civilian, and he skips entirely any consideration of the key role Vietnam plays in both Quarry the killer and Collins the novelist.

My friend Ed Gorman – one of the best living crime writers – has always been generous to me in his reviews. He continues that tradition in a wonderful review of SPREE, the final (to date, anyway) Nolan and Jon novel. He talks a lot about the Comfort family, and I happen to agree with him that that criminal hillbilly clan is among my proudest achievements. By the way, the Comforts were named as an overt reference to one of my favorite novels, Stella Gibbons’ classic COLD COMFORT FARM. One of the books begins with a sentence that includes the phrase “Cole Comfort’s farm.”

Next week I will talk about the avalanche of Collins material that 2011 will bring. Golden Age or Apocalypse…your call.

M.A.C.

Better Late Than…

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

A terrific QUARRY’S EX review came in from Daniel Luft – very insightful and a real pleasure to read. Too bad the book didn’t come out last month as promised. On the other hand, and I can say no more, it looks like EX really will be out some time next year…possibly a year late, but…

Mystery File shared two Top 100 Lists by top-notch fan/critics, dating to 1993. I don’t remember this – maybe never saw it – but both lists have Nate Heller novels on ‘em. As you know, I despise such lists…unless I am included. In which case their validity is unquestionable.

I do wonder, when I see such lists, just how much tastes-of-the-moment are in play. In 1993, STOLEN AWAY was getting a lot of attention, rave reviews, a Shamus nod, etc. There hasn’t been a Heller since 2001, so I wonder how many lists today would fail to include one of those novels. We’ll see if BYE BYE, BABY gets Heller back on the radar.

Blood Money NEL EditionThere’s a very interesting look from a UK site about the first two Nolan novels and how they were published with very cool Dali-esque covers over there. If you’ve never seen these covers, it’s worth a trip (to the site, not the UK) (but I’m always up for a UK trip). I left a couple of comments that you may find of interest.

Barb and I listened to a rough cut of the new Mike Hammer audio novel (THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER VOL. 3: ENCORE FOR MURDER) in the car on a Chicago getaway this weekend. Producer/director Carl Amari did a great job, with Stacy Keach just batting that ball out of the park as his signature character. But the rest of the cast is terrific, too – with Mike Cornelison as Pat Chambers (in my opinion, the best Chambers ever), Tim Kazurinsky as a Broadway producer, and all kinds of Chicago talent. This will be out next March. By the way, I play a role in ENCORE FOR MURDER – a small but significant one – and I got the best review possible from Barb: she didn’t realize it was me! This either shows that I did an incredible acting job, or that I don’t make much of an impression, even when you live with me for 40 years.

Also on the trip, we listened to the second pass on the new Crusin CD – CRUSIN’ LIVE – ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HAPPENED – and after just one tiny tweak, we’ll be ready to press the suckers. I’m doing about 100 copies for promo purposes, and a limited edition available here at the site – these will probably be given away “free” when you purchase another item (TBD). This is not a national release because it’s designed to show potential clients what the band sounds like, and includes covers of material that we can’t afford to license. We may be able to offer downloads of the original songs from the album (there are seven, including a blistering “Psychedelic Siren,” first live recording of that we’ve ever issued).

While in the Chicago area, I saw Nate’s book SUMMER, FIREWORKS & MY CORPSE in the science-fiction/fantasy section of Borders! He has arrived!

I would like to mention two of my favorite writers, briefly. First, Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay for the Facebook film THE SOCIAL NETWORK is a stunner – beautifully constructed and the dialogue crackles. Don’t miss this film.

Second, we lost Stephen Cannell last week. He did a lot of TV in recent years that I didn’t care about (starting around A-TEAM time), and I have never been able to get into his novels. But he remains one of my handful of favorite TV writers (Sorkin being another). He gave us ROCKFORD FILES, TENSPEED AND BROWNSHOE, THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO (Mike Cornelison had a recurring role!), and RICHIE BROCKELMAN, PRIVATE EYE. Most important to me, he and Roy Huggins (my other favorite TV writer) came up with CITY OF ANGELS. That’s my favorite private eye show of all time, and I owe Cannell, Huggins and actor Wayne Rogers a huge debt – Nate Heller is their bastard offspring. I never met Cannell, but not long ago I sent him a foreign movie poster of a film version of the three-part ANGELS pilot, “The November Plan,” asking that he signed it. He did, and I will treasure it.

M.A.C.

Second Chances

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

When I was a teenager in the thrall of Mickey Spillane and Mike Hammer, I spent many hours searching (mostly in used bookstores) for Spillane imitators who might satisfy my thirst. Few came anywhere near. One, however, hit the ball out of the park, and he worked for a small outfit in Chicago with the books packaged like softcore porn. Even then the books were hard to find. Now they are impossible.

Sand's Game
Ennis Willie’s novels – particularly the ones about ex-mobster Sand, on the run from his former bosses – were an enormous influence on my development as a writer. I encountered Sand before the similar mono-named Parker, and my character Nolan derives as much from the former as the latter. Willie, though a shameless Spillane imitator, did not write in the first-person and did not write about P.I.s – which gave him his own unique voice and place. He wrote a handful of books in the mid ‘60s wrapping up by the end of the decade, then disappearing. Guys like Steve Mertz, Lynn Myers and Ed Gorman and I tried to track him down, wondering if “Ennis Willie” was a penname or maybe a black writer (there was an African American poet named Willie Ennis).

Willie was one of my heroes, right in there with Spillane and Richard Stark, and the other day something happened so surrealistic, it rivaled my meeting Mickey. A collection of Sand novels and stories, signed to me by Ennis Willie, arrived in the mail. Knocked me out.

Okay, it wasn’t a surprise. I was involved in the collection, though the editors were Mertz and Myers; I did an introduction. Willie, thanks to the internet, had turned up, somehow getting wind of the many discussions (decades worth!) on the subject of who-the-hell-he-was. He wrote Gorman saying, “Well, I’m him. Ennie Willie.” And included his driver’s license photo!

Anyway, the book from Ramble House is getting some attention. You can order it here in various editions. If you like Mickey Spillane, Richard Stark and/or M.A.C., you will not be sorry.

And Bill Crider wrote about it here.

One of my characters, influenced by Willie’s Sand, is a guy called Quarry. My pal Leonard Maltin did a terrific, high-profile write-up on THE FIRST QUARRY that just blew me away. Check it out.

I’ll be appearing at the Iowa City Book Festival on Saturday July 17 with Nicholas Meyer. I was told they’ll be screening THE LAST LULLABY, but I don’t see it on the schedule yet. At any rate, I am anxious to meet Nick Meyer, who was a student at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop a few years ahead of me; he’s a writer and filmmaker I admire very much.

The fun funky site Davy Crockett’s Alamack posted a nice piece on the first of the two volumes of MIKE HAMMER comic strips I edited back in the ‘80s. I’m hoping we can get a single volume collection out there one of these days (though I am still missing one Sunday).

Second City Class of '79 Reunion
Jim Belushi, Mary Gross, Tim Kazurinksy at Second City 1978.

Barb and I spent several days in Chicago (over her birthday, which is June 18), kicking it off by seeing the Class of ‘79 Reunion benefit show at Second City on June 17. That we were able to get tickets to this big-deal event was thanks to my pal Tim Kazurinsky. Appearing with the always hilarious Tim were Nancy McCabe-Kelly, Bruce Jarchow, Danny Breen, Bernadette Birkett and (at the piano) the legendary Fred Kaz. Oh, and some guy named George Wendt.

This is the Second City company that Barb and I followed religiously in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Among other talents from that era (not in attendance) were my friend Larry Coven (who appears in MOMMY’S DAY and REAL TIME: SIEGE AT LUCAS STREET MARKET), Mary Gross, Lance Kinsey, and Jim Belushi (whose son Robert was a guest star at the reunion show, a talented, charismatic addition to that famous clan). Breen and Jarchow are particular favorites of mine (and reminded me why with their genius turns), and they were very nice chatting with us afterward. Also – and this is a big deal to Barb and me – we got to meet and talk with Bernie Sahlins, one of the founders of both Second City and SCTV.

Here’s a nice write-up about the show.

Barb said it was a pretty good birthday. Pretty, pretty good (as Larry David would say).

M.A.C.