Posts Tagged ‘Return to Perdition’

Quarry Racking ‘Em Up

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Barb and I are signing at Mystery Cat Books this Saturday (details above). We’ll have both QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE and ANTIQUES FLEE MARKET available, and many rare out-of-print M.A.C. items will be on hand, as well. It’s possible Ed Gorman may drop by, which provides a sighting opportunity second only to Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.

More wonderful reviews are coming in, some for QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE, others for the Quarry movie, The Last Lullaby.

Craig Clarke, long a booster of my work and a knowledgeable Quarry fan, provides a really smart, insightful review at his Somebody Dies website.

And writer Ron Fortier (he collaborates with Gary Kato on the fun comic Mr. Jigsaw — Gary assisted Terry Beatty on Ms. Tree back in the day) has provided another sharp-eyed review of The Last Lullaby.

And the Author Magazine website has posted a great review of QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE.

Battle Royale

Coming out this week from Viz is the novel BATTLE ROYALE, the wonderfully fried modern classic that was the basis of the cult film. The film is very well-known for one too controversial to ever get traditional American DVD distribution — high school kids on an island play Survivor with lethal weapons, winner take all. I wrote an introduction for this edition (tying it to the original Death Race 2000), and Nathan translated an afterword by Koushun Takami, the author of the novel, plus an interview with Kinji Fukasaku, the director of the film. (Nathan may be doing a major translation project for Viz very soon — stay tuned for a much more detailed announcement.)

We are seeing the paperback of ANTIQUES FLEE MARKET, with its festive new Christmas cover, displayed face-out at the big chain stores, sometimes in the mystery section, sometimes with Christmas-themed books. The perfect stocking stuffer. Barb continues to work on her draft of ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF (ANTIQUES BIZARRE will be out in the Spring).

Matt Clemens and I have been working on the synopsis for the second novel in the series that begins with YOU CAN’T STOP ME. After a false start on a different idea, Matt and I (at Bouchercon in Indianapolis) pitched editor Michaela Hamilton of Kensington what we all think is a really strong, wild idea that she liked…and which I will not share with you here. I’ll say, though, that this series attempts to take the approach Matt and I developed for the CSI, BONES and CRIMINAL MINDS novels into something of our own that has an element of social satire (having to do largely with reality TV) that serial killer novels often lack.

People are constantly asking me about the film version of ROAD TO PURGATORY, and I can only say that it remains very much alive, and I hope to have news for you soon. In the meantime, I am working on the graphic novel conclusion to the saga, RETURN TO PERDITION, doing my best to stay out in front of artist Terry Beatty.


Quarry on a Roll

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Antiques Flee Market

Hey, don’t forget to pick up a copy of ANTIQUES FLEE MARKET out in paperback this week — by Barbara Allan (that’s Mr. and Mrs. Collins to you) — the winner of the Romantic Times Award for Best Humorous Mystery of the Year! Barb and I are so happy with the new, more whimsical cover-art approach Kensington has taken for this reprint, and for the forthcoming ANTIQUES BIZARRE.

The positive reviews for QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE continued last week, and I was honored to have Jeff Pierce at January Magazine (one of the best fiction news and review sites on the web) choose the book as his pick of the week.

Mostlyfiction provided a great review with a Collins reading list (a pretty good one, though omitting any movie and TV tie-ins, as well as a few random titles, like BUTCHER’S DOZEN and MURDER BY THE NUMBERS in the Eliot Ness series).

They also ran a Quarry-centric interview with me.

It’s really gratifying to have such web attention for Quarry, now that mainstream media sources for reviewing have dried up so dramatically. When THE LAST QUARRY came out, and DEAD STREET too for that matter, the books landed reviews (1, 2) in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. That seems a thing of the past, with EW’s book review section pared back. And of course lots of newspapers have dropped local reviewers in favor a handful of nationally distributed ones.

Quarry in the Middle

That makes web sites like the ones you’ve seen me link to recently vitally important for the future of books. Word of mouth is important, too.

A major reason I decided to write originals for Charles Ardai at Hard Case Crime — as opposed to just letting him reprint the original Nolan and Quarry novels (my first Hard Case Crime book was TWO FOR THE MONEY, reprinting the first two Nolans, BAIT MONEY and BLOOD MONEY) — is that I wanted a new generation of readers to get to know my work. In reprint, I was honored to be among Westlake, Block, Erle Stanley Gardner and other masters of the medium; but I felt it was more important to be seen and read in the company of the new breed of noir writers, like Jason Starr and Christina Faust. By doing originals for Charles, I am part of the new wave, and not consigned to oldie-but-goodie programming.

I have not been terribly productive this past week. I am still decompressing from writing the new Heller, BYE BYE, BABY in under two months (not counting month upon month of research, of course — still a personal record, though). This week I will get back to RETURN TO PERDITION, the graphic novel finale of the PERDITION saga.

My son and your trusty webmaster Nate Collins is home for a visit, but he is spending a lot of his time working on two Japanese-to-English free-lance translation gigs that came in on top of each other, and he may also be doing some mystery stories in translation for a very famous American magazine. More on that later. In the meantime, when we are not working (Barb is writing her draft of ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF), we’ll be having some fun, taking in movies (ASTRO BOY was lots of fun), watching/listening to DVDs with Riff Trax (TRANSFORMERS II was a riot but the length and stupidity of it wore us and the Riffers down), and going to see the great comedy group Broken Lizard next weekend. Nate and I watched the fun Sam Raimi horror film DRAG ME TO HELL over Halloween weekend, and Barb and I watched the excellent woven-anthology film TRICK ’R’ TREAT, which inexplicably was shelved by Warner Bros and went straight to video. Probably the best horror film of the last five years, and disheartening to think that studio execs found it less than worthy of wide release.


Gearing Up

Monday, August 17th, 2009

No major news to report — I am immersed in Nathan Heller research and will be writing in a few weeks. I also plan to start RETURN TO PERDITION (graphic novel for DC/Vertigo) this coming week.

I will be reverting to the pattern I kept to for many, many years of my career when I was writing comics more regularly and often working on a Heller novel — giving one day a week to comics (usually Wednesday) and spending the rest on the novel. I’m older, of course, and may need to make some adjustments; but I relish returning to the routine of those halcyon days, and can’t wait to get going on Heller. My research associate George Hagenauer will soon be coming to Muscatine for a two or three day session to pull all the research together, and refine the plot.

Terry Beatty came through town this week and we talked about RETURN TO PERDITION, and had our first (brief) story conference on what the MS. TREE graphic novel will be. No, we haven’t signed contracts yet, and the flurry of interest on the web (however gratifying) is probably premature.

Matthew Clemens and I got together and plotted the follow-up to next year’s Kensington serial killer thriller, YOU CAN’T STOP ME.

G.I. JOE killed at the box office on its first weekend; as I write this, I don’t know how it fared second week out. A couple of nice reviews for the books appeared on the net:



And a belated but welcome BLACK HATS review came from UK crime fiction expert Michael Carlson:

Irresistible Targets: BLACK HATS

Two movies I would heartily recommend: DISTRICT 9, a little exposition-heavy in its opening docu reels, but overall one of the best films for many months and an incredible ride with a great heart despite Peter Jackson-approved splatter; and a DVD release (BLU-RAY, too) THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD, with Colin Hanks wonderful in a show biz-tinged coming of age tale…this disappeared at the box office, so catch up with it now — John Malkovich essentially plays the Amazing Kreskin, and it’s funny and way too true. Somebody called Tom Hanks does well in a small role — he shows promise.

See you next week.


Comic-Con 2009

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

This update is being written from San Diego, where the comic con is over, and Barb, Nate and I are about to head back to Iowa.

Before I get into a blog-ish report, let me repeat announcements regarding M.A.C. that made some news at the con: Vertigo Crime Line will be doing RETURN TO PERDITION, a graphic novel sequel to ROAD TO PARADISE and the last story, chronologically anyway, in the PERDITION saga. Terry Beatty was announced as artist, which means the MS. TREE team is back. The Vertigo Crime Line books are lovely little hardcovers of about 200 pages.

Although the ink hasn’t dried (actually, hasn’t been applied), informally it was announced that MS. TREE would be reprinted in uniform volumes with a new graphic novel. This will (if all goes well, and it will) be a Comics Mix/IDW affair. Lots of great comments from people about this, all around the con. Also wonderful comments about Quarry and especially the currently in hiatus Jack Starr “comics” mysteries illustrated by Terry.

The con, for once, has not grown. They capped it last year and it has been at capacity ever since. The aisles are packed by ten a.m., and even the preview night is like laundry day along the Ganges. Because I was a special guest this year — as part of the con’s in-house rock band, Seduction of the Innocent — I was able to score Exhibitor badges for both Nate and me. This was even somewhat legit because on Wednesday night we had to schlep in 200 copies of the new Seduction CD (a terrific recording of our most recent performance at the con…in 1999!).

Anyway, that meant Nate and I could get in every day for an hour ahead of the rabble, I mean, other attendees, and that was a joy. A dream-like sensation, walking down wide nearly empty aisles bathed in air-conditioning, surrounded by pop culture imagery absurd and sublime.

I did not abuse the guest privilege, but asked for three things: helping get Nate into a panel on which one of his heroes appeared, Hayao Miyazaki; getting Barb, Nate and me into the jam-packed, a thousand-turned-away Riff Trax performance (front row!), and — this was very tough — getting to privately meet with probably my favorite actor on the planet, Canadian star Paul Gross of SLINGS & ARROWS and DUE SOUTH fame. Paul was as gracious and friendly and warm as he was charistmatic — for example, I used my all-access pass to get into the green room (Nate, also a fan, could not get in). Paul had no problem leaving the safety of the green room to go out into the hallway and talk to Nate for fifteen minutes. Incredible guy, and the experience I will treasure from this con — he would make a great Nate Heller, by the way. (He has a new show, in America, coming up, and that’s what he was promoting: Eastwick.) What did I have him sign? The Blu-Ray of PASSCHENDAELE, the Sirk-like Canadian war epic he wrote, directed and starred in, which inexplicably has not received distribution in the USA.

Seduction of the Innocent: Live @ Comic-Con 1999

This was easily my most hectic con. I’ll start with the Seduction of the Innocent stuff. First, Miguel Ferrer had a filming conflict, but I was there with Bill Mumy, Chris Christensen and Steve Leialoha, debuting our LIVE AT THE SAN DIEGO ComicCon 1999 OFFICIAL BOOTLEG CD. Though we did not play (we weren’t asked), we sold around 100 of the limited 200 edition, meaning you’ll soon be able to snag a copy here (we will have around 10 signed copies available). We spent much of the con together at various events and signings, and I was reminded by how much fun it is to be with Bill, Chris and Steve. Bill also debuted the first new Barnes & Barnes album in 18 years — he is talented, funny guy, sweet and witty but be careful not to get sent to the cornfield…it CAN happen. Chris knows music better than anybody I know, and I get a warmth being around him that reminds me of my late buddy Paul Thomas. Steve Leialoha, whose FABLES racked up several Eisner awards, is as slyly funny as his smile is sunny.

Seduction presented a couple of Eisners at the awards and were well received. We do not really understand why they would invite us, a rock band, and not have us play, and frankly all of us spent much of the convention being asked, and not being able to answer, the question, “Why aren’t you guys playing?” There were in fact several opportunities — a reception, the after-event at the Eisners. There does seem to be a possibility we will do so next year, and we were informally approached by another con, as well.

I did panels on noir comics, on mystery fiction, as well as the Vertigo panel and — trumpets here — the Scribes awards. Link over, courtesy of Nate, and see the winners (I was not one of them, though had two nice nominations).

I also recorded an interview for a major Blu-Ray release (all I can say at the moment) and the family ate well, saw Demetri Martin in concert, and Barb and Nate got to go to Coronado island (and experience the SOME LIKE IT HOT/SOMEWHERE IN TIME hotel and beach) while I met at the con with Marvel on a top secret project (you didn’t hear it here). I also met with several editors — gave away and signed maybe 300 copies of G.I. JOE: ABOVE AND BEYOND at the Del Rey booth — including discussing the Heller-in-progress with TOR editor Jim Frenkel. Nate entered a Find Waldo (a guy dressed up like Waldo that is) at the Capcom booth, and was the big winner of a thousand bucks worth of stash, including a 360 and a Blackberry.

Next to meeting Paul Gross, the biggest thrill for me was having the three Riff Trax guys (Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy) seek me out at the autographing area, standing there with big smiles on their midwestern mugs like an absurd mirage. I love these guys (CINEMATIC TITANTIC, too) and we made each other laugh for maybe ten minutes…and then I suggested a project that we might do together that I guarantee would interest anybody who has read this far.

More later. Time to leave the land of make believe and go back to Iowa.