Posts Tagged ‘Seduction of the Innocent’

First One’s Free

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

First, let me address a concern a number of readers have expressed – Amazon is listing COMPLEX 90 as not yet available on Kindle. I don’t have an answer yet, but I’m assured by Titan that this is just a glitch and that it will be straightened out, and soon. The novel is available on Nook. We’ll post here and at Facebook and on Twitter when the book is available on Kindle.

I hope you’re admiring the cover of WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER, the new thriller that will be published by Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer line in mid-September. Do I have a deal for you….

I have ten advance galley proofs of WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER that I will make available to readers of this blog who pledge to write an Amazon review. (That review need not be favorable, but if you hate the book, and don’t care to comment on it, that would be okay, too.) It’s very important to get some advance buzz going and some Amazon reviews would help greatly. E-mail me at and request a copy, including your e-mail address.

If you have a regular reviewing blog, or just write occasional reviews in a more general blog, you can request a copy, too.

These are rather generic-looking books (the snazzy cover isn’t on this advance galley) and there are typos and a few minor revisions have been made since. But it’s the book and will suffice for reviewing purposes. I’m particularly anxious to have readers who haven’t sampled my thriller work (like the books I did with Matt Clemens at Kensington – Matt worked hand-in-hand with me on this one, too) give WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER a try.

Additionally, we have half a dozen extra hardcovers of the new ANTIQUES mystery by “Barbara Allan” – ANTIQUES CHOP. If you are interested in posting an Amazon review, we will send you one of those. Because of the limited number of copies, we’d prefer you ask for one or the other of these, though it’s also okay to suggest order of preference (i.e., if we’ve run through the ANTIQUES CHOP copies, that you’d be interested in receiving WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER).

[Nate here: All out of books this time around! Thanks for the fantastic response! If you have a regular review column or blog, you can still contact Max and he will try to get a review copy sent by the publisher. @Friday, 8:00AM]

Again, if you have a reviewing blog or a blog where you occasionally write reviews, I can get a copy of CHOP to you on request.

This is an experiment, and again we aren’t fishing for good reviews other than posting this offer at a site where presumably readers inclined favorably to my/our work might drop by.

I do repeat that any author whose work you admire – any book you enjoy – you are aiding by posting even a very brief positive Amazon review.

* * *

Speaking of “Barbara Allan,” Barb and I celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary on June 1st. We traveled to the Chicago area for two days of reckless abandon (food, shopping, and none-of-your-business). Along the way we saw an entertaining if implausible film, NOW YOU SEE ME, and took in the Trey Parker/Matt Stone musical THE BOOK OF MORMON in the Loop. We go back to the beginning of SOUTH PARK as fans – actually before that, because my pal Phil Dingeldein had shared “The Spirit of Christmas” with me prior to the series – and Barb and I enjoyed the energetic, funny, profane performance a great deal. It’s very much in the vein of REEFER MADNESS and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (the musical versions, that is), and to us that’s a good thing.

It’s a very expensive show to go to, however, and we sat it in a theater filled with limited and obstructed seating; but we were in Chicago and were able to bribe an usher to get better seats.

* * *

Casting continues on the Quarry pilot, with lots of attendant Net attention. Here are a couple of examples.

http://www.deadline.com/2013/05/noah-taylor-cast-in-cinemax-pilot-quarry/

http://www.denofgeek.us/tv/quarry/124934/game-of-thrones-noah-taylor-cast-for-cinemaxs-quarry

The NPR interview with me about COMPLEX 90 got incredible Net response. See Nate’s mini-update below for a link.

And the favorable COMPLEX 90 reviews continue to roll in, like this one at Geek Hard Show.

Here’s another cool COMPLEX 90 review from Retrenders.

And one from Team Hellion.

And SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT continues to get nice attention, as in this write-up.

The lovely Hermes Press collection of the MIKE HAMMER comic strip gets a fine write-up here. A pity this isn’t getting more press.

Finally, an intelligent discussion at Hidden Face Crime discusses my reluctance to put the murder on the first page of every suspense novel I write.

M.A.C.

Carry On Spying

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

This week my update will be primarily links to the three articles and the several interviews I’ve done to promote COMPLEX 90, plus an encouraging round of reviews for the novel…as well as reviews for other books. With the links to the articles and interviews, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to hear me pontificate.

All I’ll say, by way of anything personal, is that Barb and I loved the new STAR TREK movie (STAR TREK INTO THE DARKNESS) and I may discuss it next week. The reviews and audience response has been great, but a small vocal minority hates the film, and somehow it’s being labeled a box-office disappointment despite being the top movie of the weekend, pulling in over $70 million. Longtime readers of this blog/update may remember that Barb and I have been fans so long that we go back to when “Trekkie” wasn’t an insult. How much did we like the new film? We went on Thursday, and we went back on Sunday. We haven’t seen a movie twice in a theater in ages. It’s a great movie, if you have any real liking for STAR TREK at all, and I would put it slightly above the first (also wonderful) film with this cast and director.

This week, I am working on the galleys of WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER and will be continuing preliminary work on KING OF THE WEEDS. I will also be doing my draft of the first chapter of ANTIQUES SWAP – we have to turn in the first chapter of each of the antiques novels early, so it can be previewed in the new book.

* * *

There are a few days left to enter the giveaway for a free copy of COMPLEX 90 at My Bookish Ways.

Here is my Huff Post piece on memorable spy films from novels. There’s accompanying video.

And here are ten memorable Cold War-era spy novels that I write briefly about.

At Military.com I wrote about “The Friends of James Bond” – really, the imitators of James Bond.

Here’s a well-conducted interview at the Geek Girl Project.

And another well-done interview (by the interviewer, anyway) at Fanboy Comics.

The reviews for COMPLEX 90 keep rolling in. Here’s a nice one at Celebrity Cafe.

Here’s another good one at City of Films.

This is a very interesting if patronizing review from a writer who gets that Mike Hammer is a characterization and not a blueprint for behavior. It’s a fun read from someone who clearly dug the book but is a little ashamed about it.

This write-up at Unreality Mag is more an article than a review, but certainly worth a look.

I particularly liked this review from a young woman who doesn’t allow her dislike of the ‘60s era male hubba-hubba view of women get in the way of having a good time.

This is from Ed’s Blog – not Ed Gorman, another smart guy named Ed. (Ed Gorman, by the way, was kind of enough to link to the Huff Post piece at his blog. Thanks, Ed!)

Here’s another smart, fun review of COMPLEX 90. Something about the book seems to inspire entertaining reviews.

This is a disappointing though not entirely negative review from, surprisingly, Bookgasm, where my stuff is generally well received. Are some reviewers getting jaded, as I deliver a new Hammer every year? Well, that’s not gonna go on forever….

Here’s a swell review of ANTIQUES CHOP from Jerry’s House of Everything.

And yes, SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT is still generating some nice reviews.

The reprints of the early Quarry novels are starting to get some attention from reviewers, as in this write-up from Just a Guy That Likes to Read.

This review links the recent Lawrence Block “Keller” novel with QUARRY. Nice company, but, uh…I was first. Ungracious of me? Don’t care.

A West Virginia newspaper has a review of the Frank Nitti Trilogy from a high school junior who does a bang-up job. You don’t know how much it pleases me to see a new generation picking up on Nate Heller.

David Williams has been reviewing the Hellers in smart, succinct fashion for a while now. Here’s a link to some of his Heller reviews, starting with the most recent of his write-ups, on ANGEL IN BLACK. He doesn’t care much for two of my favorite entries in the series, FLYING BLIND and MAJIC MAN, but nobody’s perfect.

M.A.C.

Short and Sweet

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

My son says that I am turning into “that guy at the end of 60 MINUTES” (he wasn’t sure whether that was Mickey Rooney or Andy Rooney), meaning that I am starting to make this update the home of weekly curmudgeonly rants. So this week I’ll devote myself to mostly positive short takes.

Last week was spent writing a long Mike Hammer short story (almost 12,000 words) for Otto Penzler’s series of mini-books with a bibliophile theme. Otto sells these in his legendary Mysterious Bookshop in NY. Otto says he will publish the mini-book, entitled IT’S IN THE BOOK, late summer. We’ll provide a link when the time comes.

Speaking of Mike Hammer short stories, you’ll find “So Long, Chief” in the new issue of The Strand. These Mike Hammer short stories are developed from fragments in Mickey Spillane’s files, usually five or ten pages. I’ve worked up half a dozen short stories so far (two more fragments await) with an eye on an eventual Hammer short story collection.

Last week something delightful happened – Harlan Ellison called to say how much he liked SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT (mine, not Dr. Wertham’s). Harlan is one of my two favorite science-fiction writers (the other being Ray Bradbury) and one of my favorite writers, period. He was a huge influence on me as a young writer. I admire not only his prose but his passion, and his willingness to fight authority. That he likes my work means more than I can say, and that he occasionally takes the time to call me up and say so just flat out amazes me. It’s an honor to be sharing a publisher with him – Hard Case Crime has just brought out a new edition of his first novel, WEB OF THE CITY, which I bought back when it was called RUMBLE. Thank you, Harlan.

Our local Blockbuster went out of business and had a blow-out sale that to this Blu-ray/DVD collector was like Black Friday times ten – the final two days, Blu-rays and DVDs were a buck a piece. I am just starting to plow through my finds ($150 or so of ‘em), but already I have found a real gem, a Jackie Chan movie from 2010 that I’d never heard of: SHINJUKU INCIDENT. Some of you know that I used to have a regular column in Tom Weisser’s great Asian Cult Cinema magazine, and this film would have rated a rave and a full column there. Jackie plays a Japanese illegal in China in the ‘90s, a good-hearted soul shaped by circumstance and necessity into a crime boss. This is unlike any Jackie Chan movie I’ve ever seen, and it really is an Asian take on SCARFACE, as the DVD cover promises, right down to the shocking violence.

On a wholly different note, I have been watching Warners Archives’ new Wheeler and Woolsey collection. I like a lot of vintage comedy teams that other people (like everybody in my family) find irritating and/or revolting. For example, I am a fan of the Ritz Brothers (do you own a sign photo by the team?) and Olsen and Johnson (if you have a signed photo by them, I’ll buy it). But, yes, I also like the more accepted teams, from the Marx Brothers to Abbott and Costello and of course Martin and Lewis. Wheeler and Woolsey arguably belong in this last group. They were very popular (21 films in the late twenties and thirties for RKO) but because of Woolsey’s death in 1938, they were prematurely over…and Wheeler was unable to shape a film career on his own. Woolsey wears horn-rimmed glasses and smokes a constant cigar, sort of a combo of Groucho and George Burns (who lifted much of his schtick from Woolsey), and is a wiseguy con man character, while Wheeler is a lovable simpleton constantly eating an apple or a banana. Neither is the straight man, and both sing and dance, with Wheeler playing the romantic leads, often with Betty Boop-ish cutie Dorothy Lee. They are very much in the Marx Brothers theater of the absurd wheelhouse, and often share that team’s writers (of both scripts and songs). Some of their early movies are very creaky (DIXIEANA is worse than a trip to the dentist), and their later ones range from okay (HIGH FLYERS) to dreadful (SILLY BILLIES). But at their best, they are terrific, as in HIPs, HIPS HOORAY and COCKEYED CAVALIERS (both with Thelma Todd, a onetime Nate Heller squeeze). HIPS is in the Wheeler-Woolsey collection, and so is the very good mystery comedy THE NITWITS, and of the early ones another comedy crime entry, HOOK, LINE AND SINKER, is fun. The collection is mostly good, and on single discs or double features the Archive has such wonderful Wheeler and Woolsey titles as PEACH O-RENO, KENTUCKY KERNELS (with Spanky from Our Gang), and the crazed political satire DIPLOMANIACS (co-written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz). Their pre-code stuff is extremely racy, by the way (when a dish asks Woolsey if he’s looking at her knees, he says, “Oh, I’m above that”).

Barb and I went to the new GI JOE movie at the fancy new theater in town, and it’s entertaining enough, though it makes OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN look like a Ken Burns documentary. Mostly I’m just glad I didn’t get hired to turn it into a novel. The previous GI JOE was the only time I wrote a movie novel and felt I hadn’t been able to transcend a poor script (as I did with DAYLIGHT and I LOVE TROUBLE, for instance). With GI JOE, I just fought the thing to a draw. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that I haven’t had a movie novelization gig since….

Today I start on my draft of ANTIQUES A GO GO – Brandy, Vivian and Sushi in New York at a comic book convention.

* * *

Bill Crider, whose website is one of my favorites, and who is a terrific writer his own self, has delivered a COMPLEX 90 review that is, in the author’s immodest opinion, spot on. One of my favorite reviews ever.

M.A.C.

“Veronica Mars” and Kickstarter

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

It’s been all over the place – not just the Net – that the “Veronica Mars” movie has been funded via Kickstarter. The two-million dollar goal was reached in ten hours (and I contributed, thanks to Nate giving me a heads up). Last time I looked they were at $3.5 mil. “Veronica Mars” is a huge favorite among the Collins clan, and I rate it as probably the best private eye show of all time (make it a tie with “City of Angels”). So this is very good news. No, I did not contribute enough to get a speaking part….

Just as this is happening, serious discussions are under way to do an M.A.C. Kickstarter project. We are looking at doing a “Fangoria/Dreadtime Stories” film here in the Midwest, and the goal will be considerably less than $2 mil. Carl Amari, Phil Dingeldein, Nate Collins and I will be meeting very soon to put together our plan of attack. A draft of the script is written – “House of Blood” – and you can access the radio show version, free right here.

Stay tuned for developments.

Warm Bodies / Oz the Great and Powerful

Barb and I saw two very good movies this weekend – the zombie romance “Warm Bodies” and “Oz the Great and Powerful.” The former initially didn’t grab me, as I think I’m zombied out; but it quickly showed itself to be very much its own quirky animal, clever and funny with a surprisingly good heart. The latter we saw at the new 10-screen cineplex in Muscatine, a lavish movie palace that I can’t believe is in our little home town – we’ve had four shabby screens for so long, I feel like I’m hallucinating. “Oz” is something of a return to “Evil Dead” form for director Sam Raimi, and James Franco is charming and funny as the charlatan at its center. We saw this in an IMAX-style theater in 3-D – excellent, eye-popping 3-D, Raimi really taking advantage of the medium – and it was enormous fun, a valentine to L. Frank Baum and the original MGM musical. It’s not perfect – the pacing can be sluggish and ten or fifteen minutes of trims would have made this a near masterpiece. On the other hand, we walked out of JACK THE GIANT SLAYER a few weeks ago (starring Nicolas Hoult, who has the odd honor of having the lead in both the excellent WARM BODIES and the dreadful JACK at the same time).

* * *

SEDUCTION reviews continue to pop up, like this great one at that stellar book-review site, Bookgasm.

Here, at Books and Writers is a brief interview that covers some new ground.

My old pal Mike Gold – whom with George Hagenauer of course, was instrumental in the research of the first five Nate Heller novels – weighs in with a clever review at Comic Mix. Lovely words, although I do think he sells the band Seduction of the Innocent rather short.

We interrupt these SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT reviews to bring you a swell LADY, GO DIE! one from Popcults.

Meanwhile, back at SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT, Spinetingler has a review that couldn’t have been much better if I wrote it myself.

Finally, here’s another excellent review, this time from the American Culture.

M.A.C.