Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Culhane’

Message from M.A.C. – February 9, 2007

Friday, February 9th, 2007

My New Year’s Resolution is to provide updates on a more regular basis. With my son Nate back from Japan after a year of study there, I may get prodded enough by him to actually make it happen….

Two new novels are coming out soon.

Black Hats

BLACK HATS will be released in late March by William Morrow in hardcover. It’s the first novel under my “open secret” penname, Patrick Culhane. This byline will be used for standalone historicals, and the second Culhane standalone is in progress right now. BLACK HATS is my long-promised Wyatt Earp novel.

Here’s a brief rundown:

The Prohibition era has just begun, the Wild West a fading memory, when Wyatt Earp — spending his golden years as a detective in Los Angeles — goes east to help the son of his late friend, Doc Holliday. Wyatt’s onetime deputy, Bat Masterson — now a bigtime sports writer — joins the defense of young Holliday and his hot new nightspot against a new breed of badmen — mobsters led by Brooklyn’s brash, brutal young Alphonse Capone. As the ’20s (and machine guns) start to roar, the lawless lawman enter a glittering world of beautiful showgirls, ruthless gangsters and highrolling gamblers — in one last glorious stand signaling the end of their legend and the beginning of Scarface Al Capone’s.

BLACK HATS is an historical thriller in the Nate Heller/ROAD TO PERDITION mode, but it’s also a lot of outright fun, sort of THE GODFATHER MEETS THE STING. I may be doing a brief tour supporting the novel, if my writing schedule allows. Stay tuned.

A Killing in Comics

A KILLING IN COMICS will be out in May from Berkley Prime Crime. With the “disaster” series coming to a sort of logical end with WAR OF THE WORLDS MURDER, I was asked by my editor to replace it with “something to do with comics.” KILLING is a prose novel but has comic art integrated within, making it a kind of hybrid, thanks to wonderful retro comics illos by my longtime MS. TREE partner, Terry Beatty, who has also done a stunning cover.

The book’s hero, Jack Starr, is not unlike Nate Heller, but his adventures with his ex-stripper stepmother Maggie Starr (who runs the small newspaper syndicate that Jack is chief troubleshooter for) are slightly less hardboiled — more Archie Goodwin than Mike Hammer. A KILLING IN COMICS is a fictionalized take on the creators of a certain superhero who were screwed by a certain comic book company. This one’s a lot of fun, too — I haven’t a better time writing a novel since I was in college.

Antiques Roadkill

The second Trash ‘n’ Treasures mystery, ANTIQUES MAUL, by “Barbara Allan” will be out in September. If you haven’t read the first one, ANTIQUES ROADKILL, it’ll be out in paperback from Kensington in July. Barb and I have had wonderful positive reaction to Brandy Borne and her eccentric mother Vivian. And the novel has received some glowing reviews, a book club sale, large print and (early stages) television interest.

Matt Clemens and I have a short story collection out together from a small press in Chicago: MY LOLITA COMPLEX AND OTHER TALES OF SEX AND VIOLENCE. We’ve had some very nice reviews, and it’s nice to officially share byline with Matthew. Matt was my assistant on the CSI novels as well as DARK ANGEL and BONES. What looks to be our final CSI, SNAKE EYES, has been out for a few months; though we’re no longer writing novels for CSI, we’re involved with other licensing for them — we’re writing two jigsaw puzzles right now, and not long ago I finished the dialogue and co-script for another CSI video game. We’ve been approached to do another novel series for a major crime TV series…we’ll see….

As I write this, a Quarry movie is being filmed in Louisiana — although the character has been renamed Price. Why? Because this is a one-shot film — I didn’t want to license the series character, in case I want to make a Quarry movie myself, or license it to Hollywood. The multi-million-dollar indie film is directed by Jeffrey Goodman, who helmed the award-winning short film A MATTER OF PRINCIPAL (available as part of SHADES OF NOIR on my DVD boxed set, BLACK BOX) and the feature version’s script is by me, although another writer did a draft after my two drafts. I also did a last minute polish, and wish the filmmakers all the best. Tom Sizemore is playing “Price.” It’s called THE LAST LULLABY, and officially is based on the short story “A Matter of Principal,” although it contains many elements of my novel, THE LAST QUARRY (which is based on my original screenplay for the film, as opposed to the revised version being shot).

On the horizon are a number of Mickey Spillane projects. Mickey had a number of books in progress at the time of his death and he told his wife Jane to give them all to me — “Max will know what to do with them.” We have a major Mike Hammer deal — involving three new Mike Hammer novels! — that will be announced in detail soon. And I’ve finished up DEAD STREET, a non-Hammer novel Mickey was working on.

This is an unusual situation. Rarely has a major mystery writer left behind so much unpublished material. Although unfinished, all of these projects have substantial Spillane material — usually half or more of each novel was written (the last Mike Hammer Mickey was working on, THE GOLIATH BONE, was 2/3’s finished). In addition, notes and sometimes endings were among the manuscript pages. Also, Mickey spoke to me about most of the stories, talking about where he was heading with them, sharing endings with me, and getting my assurance that I’d “wrap up” anything he wasn’t able to. No greater honor has ever been paid me.

M.A.C.