Posts Tagged ‘Seduction of the Innocent book’

A Buck-Twenty-Five A Movie

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

If any of you are interested, THE BLACK BOX, the boxed set DVD collection of my indie movies – MOMMY, MOMMY’S DAY, REAL TIME: SIEGE AT LUCAS STREET MARKET and SHADES OF NOIR (which includes the original, longer cut of MIKE HAMMER’S MICKEY SPILLANE as well as the Brian Keith “Mike Hammer” pilot from 1954) – is on sale at Oldies.com for $4.98. That’s a savings of $30.

I want to thank all of you who sent supportive comments (sometimes as private e-mails) after my post last week, complaining about various aspects of the writer’s life, now that I am officially old enough to be a complaining coot. I am considering putting a rocking chair on the porch and writing further updates there on a laptop.

For the record, it took four work days to put ASK NOT back together (also for the record, my editor at Forge was completely on my side and reinstated everything I requested). To give you an idea of how extreme the ASK NOT copy edit was, I also dealt this week with the copy-edited manuscript of the upcoming thriller WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU from Thomas & Mercer. It took one work day.

Dead Man Down

We saw an interesting crime movie that I am going to recommend, though it is not perfect: DEAD MAN DOWN. It’s directed by Niels Arden Oplev, of the original GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, and stars the “girl” herself, the indelible Noomi Rapace, probably my favorite actress working today. I used to not care for Colin Ferrell, but as his star has faded somewhat, his acting has improved immeasurably – he’s terrific here in a subtle, understated performance as a guy who is anything but subtle and understated. It’s a revenge film, with a great premise, but I sometimes felt the foreign director didn’t entirely understand the English language script – it’s a little too long, and some things don’t quite track. But the central romance between two damaged souls and the outlandish shoot-‘em-up finale are well worth the time of anybody interested in crime movies. It has one of the great screen Mike Hammers, Armand Assante, in a small but pivotal role.

SOTI

The reviews for SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT continue to roll in, in a very positive way. Let’s start with something I rarely do – customer reviews at Amazon, which includes one from Bookreporter. By the way, if you want to help out your favorite authors (including, I hope, me), a great, easy way is to post a brief four- or five-star review at Amazon, assuming you like what you’ve read. Those reviews really, really count.

Here’s a cool one from the International House of Geek (the fantastic blog names just keep coming).

And here’s a great one from Mystery People.

A somewhat horror-tinged positive review appears here, at The October Country (R.I.P., Ray Bradbury).

Here’s a patronizing but ultimately positive review from the UK’s Telegraph.

Here’s Comic Buzz on SEDUCTION. I’m very pleased that so many comics blogs have picked up on the book.

And what author doesn’t love getting an A+, as happens here at Fandom Post.

Publisher’s Weekly is getting cranky in its old age, but this review of the upcoming ANTIQUES CHOP is pretty good.

PW also isn’t much impressed with the upcoming Mike Hammer, COMPLEX 90, considering it more of the same. First of all, if somebody gives you a hot-fudge sundae when you order one, do you complain that it’s more of the same? Second of all, this is the book where Mike Hammer goes to Russia. Not more of the same – one of the most distinctive books in the series, in my opinion, one of Mickey’s most unusual, even unique plots.

Scroll down for a tardy but fantastic review of THE CONSUMMATA.

And finally Pop Cults weighs in with a late but lovely LADY, GO DIE! review.

M.A.C.

When I’m 64 – I Mean, 65….

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

As I write this, my 65th birthday is winding down. I’m in St. Louis with Barb, and we’ve been visiting with our son Nate and his incredible bride Abby. It’s been a lovely weekend, filled with food, the RiffTrax version of HUNGER GAMES, lots of great conversation, an upgrade to the Tennessee Williams Suite at the Moonrise Hotel (Williams, a St. Louis boy, is a fellow U of Iowa Writers Workshop grad), a fun/moving British movie about (fittingly) old people, QUARTET, and just so much more. And yet I find myself reflecting on the reasons why so many people who hit this age choose to retire…and how last week, another fairly rigorous week in the “blog tour” for SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT, I began wondering how long I would want to keep doing this.

Anyone who knows me at all well understands that I love writing, and that I’m very competitive and want to stay in the game. I feel great and have not lost my enthusiasm for life and creativity. How many guys my age are still in the garage band they started in high school? But there are trials. There are trials. Here are three reasons why some day I may decide to kick back, and just read the books that have been stacking up for decades, and watch the Blu-ray discs that have been piling up for years.

1. The uncertainty of the publishing business. This has always been a precarious business to be in – freelance fiction-writing – but lately it seems to be in serious freefall. Borders gone, Barnes & Noble wobbling, e-books taking over. Some of it has benefitted me – TRUE DETECTIVE has sold more copies in the last year than it did in its first year, a thirty-year-old book, thanks to Amazon. But one gets weary of the ground shifting under one’s feet. Like old age (thank you, QUARTET; thank you, Bette Davis), freelance writing isn’t for sissies.

2. Copy editors. I am half-way through the copy edit of ASK NOT. For the umpteenth time in my career, I have had to go through a manuscript painstakingly putting Humpty Dumpty back together. This is despite the lengthy memo I attach to my manuscripts with a detailed description of the elements of my style that a copy editor might think was just me screwing up. I had a particularly intrusive copy editor on TARGET LANCER, complained, and was assured a different one would be assigned this time. No – I got the same intrusive, tin-eared copy editor. I spent an hour just putting the first chapter back together. I have gone through this many, many times, and if I ever retire, I promise I will not miss it.

3. Abuse. Now and then I can get hate mail. Occasionally I get a bad review. The nature of Amazon is that geniuses may comment on a book of mine, and also imbeciles – such is the price of democracy. I’ve also had enemies (yes, I have managed to alienate a few people in these 65 years) who have used the Amazon and B & N reviewing portals to get even with me. I have learned to live with this. But occasionally somebody really steps over the line, as when I got death threats over FLYING BLIND because I suggested Amelia Earhart may have been bisexual.

This week I did an article and slide show for the Huffington Post about controversial comic book covers, as part of the SEDUCTION blog tour, arranged by my publisher. I used primarily 1950s covers. I also used one of Terry Beatty’s MS. TREE covers on the slide show, in part in a self-aggrandizing fashion, but chiefly to demonstrate it as one of the indie comics involved in the famous Friendly Frank’s comic book shop bust that in 1981 got its store owner a sentence of one year (later overturned) in Illinois. That issue of MS. TREE was objectionable because of nudity – of course, that nudity was a statue in the hall of the Justice Department in D.C. (This is explained in text that accompanies the cover – each cover pictured has a paragraph on why I chose it.) George Hagenauer helped me on the slide show, and between us probably a work day went into that; I spent another work day on the article itself. I got paid exactly nothing – it was part of the publicity for my new book. That’s how it works – you do a free article, you get some PR. Huffington Post put a slightly inaccurate headline on my piece, making it look like I had chosen these as the “most” controversial comic books of all time. Among assorted comments, many good – but many from readers who objected to my choices of covers, having clearly not read the article (“Where’s PREACHER?” “Where’s THE LEATHER NUN?”) – came the following:

“I feel this a legitimate question. How can you allow article authors to pompously include their OWN work in the top list? Isn’t that self-promotion and editorially questionable? I feel its a fair question for people to address. Unless this author is really that self-absorbed that he believes his work is that worthy. This is a valid question, please post it.”

Okay, a little shrill, but a valid question I guess, and immediately answered by another reader who understands how the Huff Post trades PR for free copy. But the same day I received the following e-mail from the same individual:

“Nice article in the HuffPost.
Do you realize how shameless and self-aggrandizing it is, to include TWO of your own comic books on the list? Not to mention, how it perverts the integrity of said article?
How can anyone take you seriously?
I’m surprised you didn’t put Wild Dog on the list as well. Or just fill it with ALL of your comics.
You’re a narcissistic putz, who has no original stories, just totally derivative from everyone else.
Even your look is stolen, Mr. Elton John.
Ha ha ha ha ha.
p.s. You’re little blonde is even more derivative.”

I am probably am something of a narcissistic putz – most entertainers are. And I am derivative of those who came before me, as are almost all genre writers, although I think I’ve put my own spin on the ball. There was only one of my covers used (Huff Post tagged on the cover of the novel I’m promoting.) Still, these opinions are valid enough, if rudely stated. But then the writer, who is blessed of a literary style derivative of the letters Jack the Ripper wrote to the London police, takes a shot at my appearance – making him the ten thousandth person to notice my unfortunate resemblance to a singer whose music I don’t particularly like – and I’m a big boy, so it comes with the territory.

Then he takes a shot at my wife. And he cc’s my son. All while hiding behind a fake name (of a Charles Bukowski character). I may be all the things this guy says I am. But I am not a cowardly prick, nor am I a rat bastard who attacks the family of someone he dislikes.

Though I am 65, and this is the point in the action movie where the aging lead says, I’m getting too old for this shit…and then goes right on kicking ass, till the end of the movie.


“The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory,” Penny Arcade

Here’s the Huff Post piece my “fan” loved so much (the subject of his e-mail was “KUDOS”):

And here’s an article on how I came to write SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT.

I am dizzy from doing interviews, but I salute my questioners, who came up with their own unique angles on the book and its subject (and author). Here’s one from 8 Days a Geek.

And one from the wonderfully named blog Death, Books and Tea.

Here’s one at Fanboy Comics.

And at Speak Geeky to Me.

Here’s one at My Bookish Ways. Love these blog titles.

Another at Too Busy Thinking About Comics.

And at the UK site, SHOTS.

One at the Geek Twins.

And at Comic Buzz.

More UK attention at the wonderful site Crimetime.

The reviews, I’m pleased to say, have been very favorable. Check out this one at Jildy Sauce.

Here’s a combo article and review at Gnnaz.com.

Tony Isabella, a great comic writer himself, knows plenty about the subject, so it was great to get this terrific review from him.

Here’s a solid review from (wonderful name) Unleash the Fanboy.

And another at Swiftly Tilting Planet.

Also at (another name I love) 8 Days a Geek.

There’s an excerpt at Daily Dead.

And a review at Popcorn Reads(another fantastic title).

Speaking of pop, here’s one at Popcults.

And one at Bullet Reviews.

Finally – stop the presses – it’s an early review for the new Mike Hammer, COMPLEX 90, due in May.

M.A.C.

And The Collins Prize Goes To…Richard Zanuck

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

I start off on a sad note today. Mickey Spillane’s widow Jane lost her mother over the weekend. Ethel was a strong Southern gal who went toe to toe with Mickey, who loved her dearly. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jane.

People always ask me, the day after, how I liked the Academy Awards show (much as they do with the Super Bowl). The last time I sat through that long evening was at a public event in Des Moines the year that ROAD TO PERDITION was nominated for a bunch of Oscars. What I usually do is record the marathon, then zip through on fast-forward looking for good parts. I had heard that all of the James Bonds would be on stage together as part of a 50 Years of 007 celebration. So that was my main reason for recording the thing.

As a STAR TREK fan, I stopped to watch the over-long but fitfully entertaining opening with Shatner as Kirk coming back in time to prevent a disaster of a show due to Seth MacFarlane’s tastelessness. I don’t follow MacFalane’s shows, and skipped his movie TED, but he was pretty good on SNL a while back. The opening was so endless that they skipped Shatner at the punchline. Later, the Bond tribute, introduced by a stunning Halle Berry, offered up not a single Bond (apparently Brosnan, understandably bitter about getting kicked off the series he saved, had refused to participate). But Shirley Bassey brought the superstar crowd to its feet with “Goldfinger” – a song co-written by the unjustly forgotten Anthony Newley, who is one of my heroes.

Barbra Streisand made a surprise appearance (it surprised me, anyway) to sing “The Way We Were” in tribute to the late Marvin Hamlisch, at the end of the In Memoriam reel. Shamefully, Andy Griffith was left out. Richard Zanuck rated a nice moment, with him on screen insisting that the most important thing about a film was “the story, not the script, the story.” This is from the man who, with his son, read ROAD TO PERDITION and recognized its potential. R.I.P, Mr. Zanuck – I owe you much.

There were other fun moments that I stopped to take in, acceptance speeches here and there (in particular Christof Waltz, Quentin Tarantino, and Daniel Day Lewis), Adele singing “Skyfall” (but so upstaged by Shirley Bassey), and it was nice that in a year of unusually good films that the awards got passed around a little bit. And the winners were unusually gracious to fellow nominees. Everybody reading this probably knows I am an Obama man, and usually adore Michelle, but the First Lady giving out the Best Picture Oscar came off weird and gratuitous. The sock puppet (you read right) version of “Flight” was, by the way, much more entertaining that the actual film, which was a lousy, poorly paced Made-for-TV movie about substance abuse, designed to give Denzel Washington an Oscar-worthy part. By the way, has any actor as good as Denzel Washington ever made so many dreadful films?

While the Academy Awards were recording, Barb and I watched Richard Burton, Roger Moore and Richard Harris in the 1978 adventure movie THE WILD GEESE. We’d never seen it before, and it was terrific. At a theater this week, we took in SNITCH, a very uneven crime film in which nobody seemed worth rooting for. We also watched the last season (three movies) of the great MORSE follow-up LEWIS, on DVD from Britain. As you may gather, I had a fairly lazy weekend.

* * *

The blog tour for SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT appears to be winding down. I have an article to write today for the Playboy site, Smoking Jacket, about controversial comics. My Huff post piece on the same topic, with 10 controversial covers, should be up some time this week. So will any number of interviews I’ve done.

Reviews, mostly very favorable, have been rolling in for SEDUCTION. Check out this Book Reporter rave.

And here’s another great one at Fearnet.

Another fine one popped up at The Book Bag.

Comic Hype has this review.

Here’s one from Cult Geek. I love that younger reviewers, at hip cites like this, are digging the book.

Same goes for this review at Geek Hardshow.

And this fun one from (wonderful blog title) Just a Guy That Likes to Read. I wonder if any porn review site out there is called Just a Guy That Likes to…never mind.

Comics Crux has this write-up.

The very interesting, unusual site Noir Whale looks at SEDUCTION in some depth. Cool approach.

Then there are the interviews. I have endeavored to repeat myself as little as possible. Helping me toward that goal are the interviewers, who have come up with their own takes on the book and their own approaches – they are the saving grace of all my yammering.

Here’s one from Comic Book Movie, and if you scroll down to look at the comments, you’ll learn that I appear to resemble Elton John (no, really?) and that I should play “Doc Ock” in the next Spider-Man Movie. Having bought every issue of Ditko’s SPIDERMAN off the stands back in the ‘60s, I am flattered.

Here’s another interview, this one at Gamma Squad.

And a somewhat horror-themed interview at Dread Central.

Here’s another at Terrible Minds.

And now a change of pace – Woody Haut looks at BYE BYE, BABY and TARGET LANCER. He has to strain himself working his suspension-of-disbelief muscle (poor baby), but he seems to like both of ‘em.

And now my favorite web appearance of the week. At the Writing Reader, the first sentence of a novel of mine has been chosen the First Line of the Week. Please check this one out – I’m making you go there to find out what it is.

M.A.C.

Seduction of the Innocent on Shelves Now!

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Seduction of the Innocent hits bookshelves real and virtual today. If you already pre-ordered your copy, take this reminder to go pick it up, or alternatively, to call in sick and wait by the mailbox, and skip on down to the regularly scheduled update from Al below. And if you haven’t (for shame!), this is for you…

Part noir, part pulp, and part comic book, Seduction is a detective thriller a la Rex Stout and inspired by the real-life 1950s witch-hunt against Tales From the Crypt publisher EC Comics. With an insider’s view of the history of comics, more than a dozen brand new illustrations in the classic EC style by comic book legend Terry Beatty, and a killer, Hard Case Crime-worthy cover by the great Glen Orbik, Seduction of the Innocent is not to be missed. But maybe I’m biased, so for you jaded Internet-savvy readers out there, here’s what everyone else has to say:

“Truly a breath of fresh air.”—Ron Fortier

“Thoroughly entertaining…Be on the lookout; you don’t want to miss it.”—Bill Crider

“Superior storytelling”—Ed Gorman

“A wonderful, fun, frothy mix of genres… a fast, exciting read, well worth carting along for moments-between or sitting down with for some self-indulgent reading.”—The Geek Girl Project

“Permeated with a sense of, well, joy. Murderous, sexpot, hard-drinking, gun-totin’ scandelous joy.”—pornokitcsh

“Ingenious…great fun, whether or not you are an aficionado of the comics of that era.”—Crime Time

“A must read for crime and comic fans alike.”—MysteryPeople

Seduction of the Innocent is marked by careful plotting, sharp dialog, and a mastery of genre conventions…”—Nerds of a Feather

“Everything I like in one handsome little package”—Books and Writers

Convinced? Buy Seduction of the Innocent today!

Paperback: | E-Book:

Audio CD: | Audio MP3 CD: | Audible:

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