Posts Tagged ‘Road to Perdition’

Unbiased Gift-Giving (and Book Collecting) Advice

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

Just when I was thinking the last update’s self-aggrandizing gift list suggestions were as far as even I could shamelessly go, along comes an Amazon sale to give me a chance to outdo myself.

Half a dozen of my Nathan Heller books are on sale all throughout the month of December at Amazon. The Kindle e-books are a mere 99 cents, and the physical books (remember those…books you can hold in your hands?) are half-price.

This includes True Crime, True Detective, The Million-Dollar Wound, Neon Mirage, Stolen Away, Angel in Black, Chicago Lightning and Triple Play. The latter two are a short story collection and a trio of short novels (the rest are novels).

You can find them right here.

Earlier I thought that all of the Heller novels prior to the recent batch at Tor Forge were included, but it’s a little more limited than that.

At any rate, if you have holes to fill in your collections, or are looking to turn others on to Nate Heller and me (and by so doing help insure more Heller books will come along in the future), this is the place to make that Christmas miracle come true.

I have other gift suggestions, too, for books I didn’t write. Sounds like the Christmas spirit, huh? Not so fast. I want now to recommend several books that originally appeared in Japanese but were translated by someone calling himself Nathan A. Collins (he claims the “A” stands for “Allan”).

Seriously, though, Nate is a wonderful writer (I said “unbiased”) and these are good books. One of them has a peculiar title – I Want to Eat Your Pancreas () – which is not a horror novel but a very good book about an unusual and oddly touching friendship. It was a bestseller in Japan, which I believe is why the American publisher did not want to change the title.

Nate also translated a thriller that was made into a rather famous anime feature – Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis () – which explores the phenomenon of young female pop stars (rather a creepy if real thing), one of whom attracts a particularly nasty stalker. Nate also translated Perfect Blue: Awaken from a Dream (), a collection of three stories by the same author on the same subject.

The most famous of Nate’s translations is Battle Royale (), which was the “inspiration” for Hunger Games, and an internationally successful film. That’s been out a while. Most current novel is Zodiac War () (Nate also translated the manga version (). This is a science-fiction/fantasy adventure, a super-hero/villain variation on Battle Royale.

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Some recent things on the Net that you may wish to check out….

This is a fun discussion of movie tie-in novels, and several of mine are included.

Be sure to take in this nice appreciation of the Quarry TV series, which includes a celebration of Quarry’s creator, whose name I’m too modest to mention.

Once again Road to Perdition (the film and the graphic novel) are mentioned prominently on a list called (wait for it)“10 Obscure Comic Books That Were Turned Into Movies.”

Here is an oral history of how I created the new Robin and then DC fans rose up and killed him.

Finally, here’s a very good review of my first Quarry novel, which is called Quarry (and not The First Quarry).

M.A.C.

Annual M.A.C. Movie Awards and Gift Ideas!

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

I know what you’re thinking. What can I give someone – a friend, a loved one – who hasn’t discovered the work of Max Allan Collins yet? I am here to solve that problem for you. As it happens, this self-serving holiday message includes a post-Thanksgiving thanks to Brash Books, who have brought out a number of my novels in new, improved editions.

Right now I’m their featured author and you can read about me and the books of mine they publish right here.

Now let’s reflect on that recalcitrant friend, family member or neighbor of yours who isn’t a fan of my work yet. Most of them have probably heard of Road to Perdition, thanks to the movie; they may even count it a favorite. So what they obviously need is a copy of the complete version of my prose novel, Road to Perdition: the New, Expanded Novel, published for the first time anywhere by Brash Books, who followed up with new editions of the prose sequels, Road to Purgatory and Road to Paradise. You can get these from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, for real books, and for e-books at those same places and many others.

Brash also recently brought out Black Hats, in which old Wyatt Earp meets young Al Capone, originally published under the byline Patrick Culhane. Soon (Feb. 1, 2019) Brash will be publishing USS Powderkeg, a revised edition of the book previously published as Red Sky in Morning, again under the Culhane pseudonym, now correctly bylined. These are the definitive editions of the Culhane novels (Patrick, we barely knew ye).

You will soon be wondering how to use those Amazon and Barnes & Noble gift cards you’ll be receiving from loved ones who didn’t bother buying you a real present. The above paragraph will tell you what to do with this bounty.

Now, books can be awkward stocking stuffers, but you know what stuffs a stocking just fine? A Blu-ray of Eliot Ness: An Untouchable Life, available here for $15.69, an Amazon Choice.

If you need convincing, check out this review from DVD Beaver (a great site that has nothing to do with porn, instead referring to the Canadian location of the reviewer).

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Brad Schwartz and me speaking at the American Writers Museum in Chicago

Well, now that I’ve gone full-throttle into the spirit of an American Christmas (i.e., sheer hucksterism), I will mention that my Scarface and the Untouchable co-author, Brad Schwartz, and I made a most successful Chicago swing last week, starting with an appearance at the incredible American Writers Museum in Chicago. We had a lovely crowd who asked questions and then bought books, and the museum itself is wonderful – fun, interactive exhibits with the likes of Hammett, Chandler, James M. Cain and Chester Himes among the honored. (No Mickey Spillane…yet.)


Brad Schwartz, Kathy Glarner of Barnes & Noble, and me at Old Orchard mall, signing a ton of books.

Brad and I made a number of stops at Chicago-area bookstores to do “stock” signings, one of which had us autographing 100 copies of Scarface and the Untouchable. Thanks to the Barnes & Noble at Skokie’s Old Orchard mall!

Barb and I then bid Brad adieu, and headed to St. Louis for a family Thanksgiving with son Nate, daughter-in-law Abby, grandson Sam and new granddaughter Lucy. A lovely time was had by all, including some Black Friday madness involving a certain father and son going after Blu-ray and 4KHD discs in the true fashion of the holiday. Out of respect to our family, we did not go out until 8 p.m. Thanksgiving evening.

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And now comes that special time of year that all of you have been waiting for – the M.A.C. Movie Awards. While we don’t see everything – obviously – Barb and I go to far more movies than most sane people endure. Not every film we saw earned a much-sought-after place on this esteemed yearly list, but you can count on the ones we walked out of making it.

BEST HORROR FILM:
INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY
Runner-up: TRUTH OR DARE

SMARTEST DUMB MOVIE:
THE COMMUTER
Runner-up: THE MEG

DUMBEST SMART MOVIE:
THE HURRICANE HEIST

BEST COMEDY:
GAME NIGHT
Runner-up: THE DEATH OF STALIN

BEST SERIES ENTRY:
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT
Runner-up: OCEAN’S EIGHT

WORST SERIES ENTRY:
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

MOST DISAPPOINTING REBOOT:
THE PREDATOR

MOST DISAPPOINTING SEQUEL:
HALLOWEEN
runner-up: INCREDIBLES 2

BEST SEQUEL:
DEADPOOL 2
Runner-up: EQUALIZER 2

WORST SEQUEL:
PACIFIC RIM UPRISING
Runner-up: SUPER TROOPERS 2

MOST UNDERAPPRECIATED BUT VERY GOOD SEQUEL:
THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB

SURPRISINGLY GOOD SEQUEL NOBODY ASKED FOR:
JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN

MOVIES BARB AND I WALKED OUT OF:
BLACK PANTHER
RED SPARROW
LIFE OF THE PARTY
THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS
WIDOWS

BEST MARVEL MOVIE THAT I’VE ALREADY COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN:
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
Runner-up: ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

MOVIE I HATE WITHOUT SEEING IT:
MARY POPPINS RETURNS
Runner-up: BUMBLEBEE
Second runner-up: SHERLOCK GNOMES

BEST ACTION FILM:
TOMB RAIDER
Runner-up: HUNTER KILLER

WORST MOVIE STARRING THE ROCK:
RAMPAGE

BEST MOVIE STARRING THE ROCK:
SKYSCRAPER

MOVIE THAT LOTS OF PEOPLE LIKE THAT I REFUSE TO SEE:
A STAR IS BORN
Runner-up: BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

BEST “STAR WARS STORY” MOVIE:
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY

BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR (HANDS DOWN):
ISLE OF DOGS

Ms. Tree Collected, A Royale Review and Boo to Halloween

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

Softcover:
E-Book: Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

The Ms. Tree prose short story, “Louise,” an Edgar nominee, is featured in editor Otto Penzler’s new anthology, The Big Book of Female Detectives.

This seems as good a time as any to confirm that Titan will be bringing out (in five or six volumes) the complete Ms. Tree comics, organized into graphic novel form. This is of course long overdue. I will likely be doing new intros, although it’s doubtful Terry Beatty will contribute new covers – the plan right now is to draw from his many outstanding covers for the comic books themselves.

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Two more brief movie reviews…

Barb and I took in Bad Times at the El Royale, a ‘70s noir with an excellent cast that includes Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson and Chris Hemsworth. It’s written and directed by Drew Goddard, who wrote for Buffy on TV and did the screenplays for The Martian, Cloverfield and World War Z, among others. El Royale resonates with me in part because it’s a take-off on Cal Neva, the resort straddling California and Nevada that figures in my novels Bye Bye, Baby and Road to Paradise.

I’m sure some critics are comparing El Royale to Tarantino, and its novelistic approach (both the way it’s organized and its attention to character) is in that same ballpark. But El Royale has its own feel, and does not suffer the Tarantino habit of all the characters talking like the writer. I won’t say much about the plot, other than a central element is money from a robbery long-hidden in one of the rooms of a hotel that has become a faded relic of Rat Pack days, having lost its gambling license.

The screenplay draws upon a Spillane novella, “Tomorrow I Die!” (title tale of an anthology of Spillane short fiction I edited) that was adapted into one of the best films from Mickey’s work, an episode of Showtime’s Perfect Crimes. (Mickey’s story was his take on The Petrified Forest.) It also draws upon someone I wrote about here a while back, who was a war hero and a movie star (paying attention?).

Anyway, it’s a terrific film. You’ll feel like you’re spending the evening at the El Royale, though you’ll be having a better time than most of the characters.

We also saw the new take on Halloween, which is getting a lot of good reviews. Most of those reviews focus on Jamie Lee Curtis and her empowered if psychotic take on the older Laurie Strode. What rewards the film has are tied up in Curtis/Strode. I was amped for the film because I’m a horror fan, plus the screenplay is co-written by Danny McBride, of whom I’m also a fan. But the movie isn’t good. It’s not exactly bad, either, but there are almost no scares, merely unpleasantness and gore. It has a low-budget feel, and not in a good way, and even the John Carpenter music feels forced. One plot twist having to do with the substitute shrink for the Loomis (Donald Pleasance) character is meant to be a shocking surprise and just plays dumb and unconvincing.

After recently seeing the excellent Insidious films, and revisiting the very good Truth or Dare (all of these are Blumhouse productions, as is this new Halloween), the return of Michael Meyers fell flat for both Barb and me.

* * *

For those keeping track, I have delivered Murder, My Love, the new Mike Hammer. This one is based on a Spillane synopsis, but is the first of the novels with no Mickey prose woven in. I think it came out well, but it raises the question of whether I should continue Hammer when I run out of Spillane source material.

* * *

My novel of In the Line of Fire gets a latterday review! Positive, too.

Finally, here’s a Road to Perdition piece that discussed both the graphic novel and the film. Sorta likes both. Sorta.

M.A.C.

Black Hats & A Book Giveaway!

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

[Note from Nate: The giveaway is over! Thank you for participating!] The book giveaway this week is for the upcoming Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago, which will be published August 14. I have five finished copies and five bound galley proofs (ARC’s). The first five to respond get the finished book, the next five the bound galley. Winners are requested to post a review at Amazon, a blog, Barnes & Noble or any combination thereof.

This week’s update, however, is mostly about Black Hats, a new edition of which has just been published by Brash Books. For the first time, the book has my real byline, and not “Patrick Culhane.”

Brash has done a spiffy job on it, and I hope to get some copies from them for another book giveaway like the one above. Brash is also going to be bringing out Red Sky in Morning under my preferred title, and that will have the Max Allan Collins byline for the first time, too.

Black Hats is a good companion piece to Scarface and the Untouchable, because it’s about young Al Capone encountering old Wyatt Earp. Though their meeting is fanciful, the research for the book was on the order of the Heller saga and it is one of my favorite novels, and one that continues to attract very serious Hollywood attention.

Harrison Ford has been interested in playing Earp pretty much ever since the novel first came out, and he is still part of the mix – nothing signed-sealed-delivered, mind you. But that he has maintained this continued interest in the novel is exciting.

That’s all I can say at the moment, but if you’ve never read this one, send for the Brash Books edition, please. You will not find it in many book stores – the e-book will drive this one, though the “real” book that Brash has produced is handsome indeed.


Paperback:
E-Book: Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes

How did the byline “Patrick Culhane” come to appear on both Black Hats and Red Sky? Forgive me if you’ve heard this one, but I believe it’s one of the truly remarkable fuck-ups of my career, and one of the rare ones that I didn’t cause myself.

Shortly after Road to Perdition was a huge movie and the novelization made the USA Today bestseller list and the graphic novel made the New York Times bestseller list, some guy at Border’s (remember them?) told my then-publisher that he was a huge M.A.C. fan, but could sell more M.A.C. books if only the name M.A.C. wasn’t on the cover. I was too well-known, it seems, as a guy who wrote series novels. He promised huge sales if we did some standalone thrillers under a new byline.

Oddly, my real identity was never hidden. It’s prominently revealed on the jackets of both books.

I did not want to do this. My editor stopped short of insisting that I go along with it, and my agent suggested alienating my editor was a really bad idea. And Border’s was really, really powerful, right? So I came up with “Patrick Culhane,” the “Patrick” after my mother Patricia and “Culhane” as a Collins variant.

Understand that I hate pseudonyms. I fought to have my name go on my movie and TV tie-ins, figuring (correctly) that having my byline on things like Saving Private Ryan, Air Force One, American Gangster, CSI and so on would only building my audience. All of those titles either made the New York Times list or USA Today’s or both.

The only time I used a pseudonym was on the novelization I Love Trouble, because it was going to be out at the same time as another novelization, plus the movie stunk. I used Patrick again, but also my mother’s maiden name, Rushing, which seemed apt for a book written on a crazy deadline.

I use my name on all but the above exceptions because I am proud of my work, and I want to keep myself honest. I don’t want to hide. I want to acquire readers, not run away from them.

Anyway, I am very pleased that Brash Books – the people who brought you the complete Road to Perdition prose novel, something I thought I would never see – are restoring my name to two of my favorite books. They will also soon be publishing Red Sky under my preferred title, USS Powderkeg.

Now the only thing still unpublished is my original, very loose adaptation of the Dick Tracy movie, in which I fixed all its problems and sins. Getting that in print, however, is a real long shot….

* * *

The advance buzz on Scarface and the Untouchable keeps building.

The Strand’s blog has published a list by my co-author and me looking at ten surprising facts about Al Capone and Eliot Ness.

We are one of the Saturday Evening Post’s top ten late summer reads, for example.

And the History News Network has published an article that Brad and I wrote about the Trump/Manafort/Mueller parallels.

Mystery People showcases us, too.

Out of the blue, here’s an interesting look at Quarry’s List, the second Quarry novel, with lots of comments from readers.

The graphic novel, Quarry’s War, gets a boost here, in a somewhat surprising context. [Note from Nate: This is so bizarre.]

On the Mike Hammer/Spillane front, here’s an interview I did at San Diego Comic Con a few weeks ago.

And another.

Finally, here is a terrific, smart review from the smart, terrific J. Kingston Pierce about Killing Town.

M.A.C.