Posts Tagged ‘Quarry’s Ex’

St. Looie Postscript

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Bouchercon was a blast. Among many friends I got to see and spend time with were Bob Randisi, John and Barbara Lutz, Christine Matthews, Ted Fitzgerald, Jeff Pierce, Ted Hertel, Dick Lochte, Christa Faust, Deadly Pleasures editor George Easter, EQMM editor Janet Hutchings, Mystery Scene editor Kate Stine, agent Dominick Abel, editor Michaela Hamilton, Strand editor Andrew Gulli, and so many more. I can say with no humility whatsoever that the two times I signed I had huge lines, damn near rivaling the guests of honor — Barb and Matt Clemens signed with me, so I can’t take all the credit. I was part of two lively panels — one on comics, another on the future of the private eye genre — on Thursday and Saturday respectively.

Crusin' at Bouchercon 2011

Along the way, I gave “shite” (my new favorite word courtesy of my new favorite pal Ali Karim) to my shy and retiring buddy Gary Phillips both on and off the comics panel, jawed with Sara Paretsky, and with Crusin’ backed our guest artists Bob Randisi, Joelle Charbonneau, Bryan Gruley, Mark Billingham and Guest of Honor, Val McDermid. Everybody was great — Bob has a fine voice and gave Elvis a run for it on “Can’t Help Fallin’ in Love,” Joelle (a stunning redhead in a green gown) had the pipes to do justice to “Be My Baby,” Mark and I did a raucous “Saw Her Standing There” while the charismatic Val joined Mark for a stirring Orbison/k.d. lang-style “Crying.” Finally Bryan blew the roof off the dump with a “Gloria” that Van Morrison might have envied.

In addition, the performance (on Saturday night) found Crusin’ very well-received with dancing from the start and applause after every tune. A rough load-in at the Renaissance Grand (as my late friend Paul Thomas said, “The ass end of a hotel is never pretty”) was the only mote in the eye of a wonderful night.

Bill Crider (with whom I also jawed, his lovely wife Judy, too) was nice enough to post a pic from the dance with some comments from attendees thereafter.

The Shamus awards on Friday were fun at the Busch brewery, where some have accused me of eating two pieces of a cake that was not quite big enough to serve the entire group. This is a libelous notion, but perhaps my losing the short story Shamus was karma….

I was honored to read Ed Gorman’s acceptance speech for receiving the PWA life achievement award, the Eye. Much deserved, and a graceful, modest acceptance from Ed, who had to remain in Iowa at the bat cave (it’s not Batman’s cave, it’s just a cave full of bats).

Some very nice web attention has come up for various of the new MAC books. KISS HER GOODBYE got a strong write-up from the L.A. Review of Books, for example.

Sons of Spade gave BYE BYE, BABY a short but very enthusiastic and insightful review here.

A very flattering review calling me the James Brown of the mystery writing game (my apologies to Gary Phillips, but after all I am the hardest working man in show business now that James is gone) appeared at Bookgeeks.

And I got a nice recommendation from Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego for BYE BYE, BABY.

Finally, the Library Journal had wonderful things to say about THE CONSUMMATA.

My apologies to anyone at the con I didn’t mention. There were so many friends and friendly faces that it was a very pleasant blur. Also great for Barb and me was spending time with son Nate and his girl Abby, who came to the Crusin’ dance. I am in fact still in St. Louis as I write this on the Monday after the great Bouchercon weekend, spending more time with my fantastic son (he’s fantastic even if it was his idea to go to the horrible psuedo-noir “Drive” yesterday).

Finally, a big shout-out to Jon and Ruth Jordan, the brawn and the beauty.

M.A.C.

Hi, Hi Baby

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011
Bye Bye Baby

Today (Aug. 16) is the publication date of the first Heller in almost a decade (but you knew that): BYE BYE, BABY. All I ask is that everybody reading this buy 25 copies and ship them to friends (or strangers if necessary).

The audio book is also available, and is the first of a new series from Brilliance that will present every single Nate Heller novel – and the two short story collections – in new audio presentations. This is exciting news, at least for me, and these audio presentations will tie in with the new trade-paperback/e-book reprint series of the complete Nathan Heller Memoirs from Amazon/Encore.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: I will be doing daily updates while Barb and I are on the road the next week’s whirlwind West Coast Tour for our bouncing BABY (see tour schedule above).

This will be a busy week around the Collins household. Barb and I are preparing for the tour, which also will be promoting “Barbara Allan” and other projects, like Hard Case Crime titles and ongoing Mike Hammer projects. And (speaking of Hammer) I will be continuing a crazy work schedule to complete LADY, GO DIE! before we leave next Monday.

Also this week, Barb and I have our 45th high school reunion and of course Crusin’ is playing for that, this coming Saturday night. The band will have a monster rehearsal this week picking up even more ‘60s material for that very special gig.

There are a few nice MAC mentions that have popped up in the last week or so on the Net. Here, for instance, is a cool discussion of Chicago crime that talks about the movie and book, ROAD TO PERDITION, liking both but liking the latter more.

The New York Post has included BYE BYE, BABY on a “required reading” list.

This blog entry – again from the Ed who isn’t Gorman – has smart things to say about Mickey Spillane and Mike Hammer, and a particularly insightful look at the film KISS ME DEADLY. Ed Who Is Not Gorman also highly recommends my documentary on the Criterion release.

There’s a very nice overview of the hardboiled/noir genre in multi-parts that includes Nate Heller and me. But the whole series is good, with insightful comments about Mickey and Hammer.

You’ll have to scroll down to find it (or just read your way down, because it’s a good blog), but here’s a nice review of the upcoming QUARRY’S EX.

M.A.C.

Target Spillane

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

The current issue of MYSTERY SCENE has a splashy Lawrence Block piece on Mickey Spillane. At the magazine’s editor’s request, I offered a few corrections to a reading list to accompany what I assumed would be a career overview of Mickey. Unfortunately it’s a patronizing, smugly casual dismissal of one fine writer’s work by another. This despite Block admitting he’s never much cared for (or read much of) Mickey’s work, ultimately dismissing it as unreadable “crap,” which makes me wonder why exactly a reading list was provided at all. There’s a particularly unfair discussion of Mickey’s famous line, “I’m a writer, not an author,” with Block pretending to be confused about what Mickey meant – that line (one of Mickey’s most frequently quoted) was almost always followed up by an explanation wherein Mickey cited the likes of one-book wonders like Margaret Mitchell or memoir-writing political figures like Churchill as “authors.” Writers, Mickey said, made a career of it. Block interprets the quote as meaning Mickey didn’t reach for the high literary standards of an “author” (Block might easily – and unfairly – be similarly dismissed due to his softcore porn roots and a career far more prolific than Spillane’s). He accepts the conventional wisdom that only the seven early novels are even worth mention, showing no signs he has read any of the later books (including THE TWISTED THING, which was actually the second Hammer novel written, though not published till 1966). He demeans Mickey’s selection as a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America by giving his version of backroom discussions between two groups: one that thought Mickey was lousy and a disgrace to the genre, and another that thought Mickey was lousy but had been too commercially important to ignore (Block places himself in the latter camp). Members of both groups were anxious enough to pose for smiling photographs with celebrity Mickey at the Edgars banquet, like the one Block uses to illustrate his piece (though Mickey’s lovely wife Jane goes unidentified in the photo). Block closes out with a postscript saying that Mickey was “a nice guy,” sort of the “you don’t sweat much for a big old fat girl” moment.

I can’t imagine MYSTERY SCENE publishing a piece about any other major writer in the field that takes the approach of this one. “Agatha Christie wrote tripe, but she was a fun old gal at parties.” Who was it that said, “Pfui?”

Sixty-four years later, and the attacks on Mickey just never end, this one published in a magazine I admire and respect, from a writer I have long admired and respected. In the same issue, an article by Tom Nolan discusses current continuations of famous series characters, and my recent fairly high-profile Mike Hammer efforts are not mentioned though the Sam Spade book by Joe Gores (from several years back by a writer who has since passed away) is discussed alongside Jeff Deaver’s new 007 book. A mention in that piece – or perhaps a review of KISS HER GOODBYE, which has elsewhere received a lot of praise and attention – might have balanced things out a bit. Block mentions me at the top of his article, suggesting with false modesty that I would be more qualified to write the piece he’s about to undertake. Of course, I wasn’t asked by MYSTERY SCENE to write such a piece – Block was – and my role (minor) was merely to clairfy some publication data. Ironically, ads by publishers (and authors, including myself) involved in the current Spillane revival, are scattered throughout what is not my favorite issue of MYSTERY SCENE. (It should be noted that advertisers not having an impact on editorial content in a magazine is a positive, not a negative. An odd footnote is that Lawrence Block shares a publisher — Hard Case Crime — with Mickey and me.)

A much better new piece on Mickey – which also discusses the “I’m a writer, not an author” quote – can be found here.

I’m delighted to guide you to an excellent review of my son Nathan’s book SUMMER, FIREWORKS AND MY CORPSE from that very tough-minded critic, David Rachels. This is Nate’s translation for Viz of Otsuichi’s horror/noir tales.

And I’m also delighted to report that the long-postponed QUARRY’S EX got a very nice review from PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY:

Set in 1980, Collins’s lean, sardonic 10th noir featuring the killer-for-hire who uses the pseudonym Quarry (after Quarry in the Middle) finds Quarry in Boot Hill, Nev., earning his keep in an unusual way. Drawing on his knowledge of the hit-man world derived from his years of working for a murder middleman known as the Broker, Quarry identifies intended targets of hits, then charges a hefty fee to eliminate the hired guns out to kill them. When he learns of a plot against B-movie director Arthur Stockwell, Quarry discovers that Stockwell’s wife is all too familiar–his ex-wife, Joni, whose betrayal led the Vietnam vet to use his murderous talents in civilian life. Leary of coincidence, Quarry works to understand how he can fulfill his professional obligation to Stockwell without Joni getting caught in the middle, even as he wonders whether she’s behind the contract. Collins amply leavens the violence with wit. (Sept.)

Quarry's Ex

Ron Fortier, a writer of comics and prose his own talented self, wrote a lovely review of the upcoming Nate Heller, BYE BYE, BABY. It’s always a thrill when a reader (and in this case a reviewer) really “gets it.” Ron, I’ve been saying that this is the first Heller in a decade, but it’s really only nine years.

An interview I gave a few years ago about ROAD TO PERDITION 2: ON THE ROAD has popped up. This probably is getting space because in addition to the upcoming RETURN TO PERDITION, new editions of ROAD TO PERDITION and RTP: ON THE ROAD will be published soon.

Sean Leary, a talented writer from the Quad Cities, has written a nice piece on the thriller collaborations by Matt Clemens and me, specifically NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.

And this overview of upcoming Hard Case Crime publications goes out of its way to give my stuff plenty of space.

The KISS ME DEADLY Criterion DVD/Blu-ray reviews just keep a’comin’…with nice things about my new cut of MIKE HAMMER’S MICKEY SPILLANE. Check this one out, and this one, too.

Finally, here’s a strong review of KISS HER GOODBYE at the always fascinating Noir Journal.

Oh, in case you haven’t seen the news elsewhere online, Matt and I did not win the Thriller award for Best Paperback (YOU CAN’T STOP ME), nor did I win for my Spillane short story (“A Long Time Dead”). But I was the only writer to lose twice!

M.A.C.

Little Death up for Big Audie

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

The big piece of news this week is that my radio-style novel for audio, THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER VOL. 2: THE LITTLE DEATH, has been nominated for an Audie, the Academy Award of the audio book world. We are in the Best Original category, which makes it as much the writer’s award as anybody’s…but I am the first to salute the great cast headed by everybody’s favorite Mike Hammer, Stacy Keach, and my pal Mike Cornelison, and to applaud producer/director Carl Amari, the maestro behind the Twilight Zone radio series.

This would seem as good a time as any to remind you that THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER VOL. 3: ENCORE FOR MURDER comes out…today.

As mentioned last time, to celebrate my birthday on March 3, we have arranged with Kensington for free e-books of ANTIQUES ROADKILL and YOU CAN’T STOP ME at any on-line retailers, starting today, March 1, through March 3. Actually, it’s more to celebrate the release of new books in the respective series represented by those two titles, ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF and NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.

What do I want for my birthday? I want you to take advantage of this free offer and then, out of guilt or shame or generosity or whatever might move you, order the new titles and, this time, cough up the dough. [Nathan: and if you like the books, rate them!]

I have just returned from St. Louis, where Barb, Nate and I (and Nate’s girl friend Abby) celebrated my birthday (not yet a national holiday…we’re working on it). That town is evil where food is concerned – everything from barbecue to cupcakes – but between meals, we managed to see two excellent films, the Iowa-based (but not shot) CEDAR RAPIDS, a sweet dramedy (what an awful word) that was consistently amusing and fitfully insightful; and the utter delight that is THE ILLUSIONIST. The latter is a French animated feature from the great Jacques Tati’s final unfilmed-in-his-lifetime screenplay. Since Tati was a genius who only made a handful of films, suddenly having another one seems like a gift to the world. When THE ILLUSIONIST began, in black-and-white, and Tati’s magician character appeared, I was so stunned by the animator’s ability to restore Tati to life via his every facial expression and characteristic body movement that I damn near cried into my popcorn. Fortunately I am too much of a tough guy to do that, and anyway it was already over-salted.

Another terrific review for KISS HER GOODBYE has turned up. This guy gets it.

And the Library Journal has given ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF a favorable verdict.

Politics Daily talks about Mike Hammer’s favorite gun, and mentions both Mike and me.

Be sure to check out Matt Clemens’s new book piece on Ed Gorman’s blog about the painful birth of NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU.

Finally, a conservative website lists Mike Hammer in the number two slot on an array of right-leaning fictional heroes…and they think I am terrific! Do they know I voted for Obama?

M.A.C.

[Nathan: Also, head over to the Download Page for a wallpaper-ized QUARRY’S EX cover!]