Posts Tagged ‘Short Stories’

Bang Bang

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

J. Kingston Pierce over at the great Rap Sheet site has a fun discussion (with plenty of comments, including from me) about the relative merits of the USA and UK covers of THE BIG BANG, the second Spillane/Collins “Mike Hammer” collaboration. But the key piece of news here is that THE BIG BANG trade paperback is out this week, and if you didn’t pick up the hardcover, now’s your chance to get the Best Private Eye Novel of the Year (according to Sons of Spade).

Big Bang Paperback

Another book that’s out is the TOP SUSPENSE anthology, designed to be an e-book but also available in a very nice trade paperback, too. Here’s the pitch:

Don’t forget the blistering anthology TOP SUSPENSE is now available for $2.99 on Kindle and a mere $11.99 in trade paperback. Our authors at the peak of their powers in thirteen unforgettable tales. This pulse-pounding anthology – packed full of cold-blooded killers, erotic tension, shady private eyes, craven drug dealers, vicious betrayals, crafty thieves, and shocking twists – is only a taste of the thrills you will find in the breathtakingly original ebooks by these authors at www.topsuspensegroup.com.

So sit back, bite down on a piece of strong leather, and prepare to get hit by some gale-force suspense and writing so sharp it will draw blood.

CLICK TO BUY YOUR COPY NOW!

Top Suspense includes:

Unreasonable Doubt by Max Allan Collins
Death’s Brother by Bill Crider
Poisoned by Stephen Gallagher
Remaindered by Lee Goldberg
Fire in the Sky by Joel Goldman
The Baby Store by Ed Gorman
The Jade Elephant by Libby Fischer HellmannThe Big O by Vicki Hendricks
The Chirashi Covenant by Naomi Hirahara
El Valiente en el Infierno by Paul Levine
A Handful of Dust by Harry Shannon
The Canary by Dave Zeltserman
The Chase by Top Suspense Group

Press release over, and M.A.C. back again: this is a terrific bunch of writers, all of whom have work well worth sampling, making this a worthwhile purchase (the e-book price is damn near a gift). Several of the Top Suspense Group writers are good friends of mine, but one is among my best friends – Ed Gorman. This week Ed was nice enough to give my Eliot Ness series a push (and me in general). If you haven’t read Ed’s work yet, you are missing one of the great contemporary voices in crime fiction – funny, wry, sad, innately Midwestern.

Here’s an excerpt from a piece about Ed that I wrote a while back, dealing in part with the notion some people had (early in Ed’s mystery-writing career) that he was a penname of mine – a mistake that arose because (a) Ed is an Iowan but never attends conventions and rarely does book signings, and (b) there are at least superficial similarities in our style and approach:

I am proud to have Ed Gorman’s writing mistaken for mine – having him viewed for a time as the Ed McBain to my Evan Hunter was pretty cool, actually. And, for years, when I would tell people that I had, no kidding, really met Ed Gorman, multiple times, it all seemed to be part of my master plan to put this pen name across.

Of course, this mistaken identity couldn’t last – Ed Gorman is too distinctive a writer, with a laconic, wry voice that is his alone, whether in first- or third-person. But it was fun while it lasted….

Ed’s distinctive voice and style are an outgrowth of his interests. He is an endless resource of arcane information and informed opinion about popular storytelling in the 20th Century. That’s why I spent so many hours on the phone with him – we could do half an hour on why Rex Stout was, line for the line, the best wordsmith of all; forty-five minutes on why we both loved Hammett and Chandler but considered the former superior; or an hour on why certain highly regarded crime writers of our day were worthy of Emperor’s New Clothes awards. It’s Ed’s ability to analyze what works in the fiction he reads that has made him such a skillful writer himself.

No writer of the late 20th and early 21st century has mastered so many genres – Ed is equally adept at mystery, crime, horror, science fiction and western. He is a screenwriter and a columnist. He respects and understands these genres and forms, much as he respects and understands his job as a professional storyteller.

Read more about Ed Gorman here (cue the NBC “More you know logo”):

http://topsuspensegroup.com/authors/ed_gorman.php

M.A.C.

Free E-Book! Plus Decoder Ring

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Well, no decoder ring. But I’m sanctioned to offer 25 copies to potential reviewers/bloggers of the new TOP SUSPENSE collection. I’ll let my buddy Lee Goldberg explain:

Hold on tight for a literary thrill-ride into the wickedly clever, frightening, and exhilarating world of Top Suspense, a sizzling collaboration of twelve master storytellers at the peak of their powers in thirteen unforgettable tales…Max Allan Collins, Bill Crider, Stephen Gallagher, Joel Goldman, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Naomi Hirahara, Vicki Hendricks, Paul Levine, Harry Shannon, Dave Zeltserman, and yours truly.

This unforgettable anthology – packed full of cold-blooded killers, erotic tension, shady private eyes, craven drug dealers, vicious betrayals, crafty thieves, and shocking twists – is coming out on APRIL 1 and is only a taste of the thrills you will find in the breathtakingly original ebooks by these authors at www.topsuspensegroup.com.

Top Suspense

The early reviews are excellent, with a lot of attention being paid to the hard-to-find Nathan Heller story, “Unreasonable Doubt,” that leads off the anthology. Yes, my story was chosen for that prime slot! Oh, all right…the authors are arranged in alphabetical order. And speaking of reviews….

As regular readers of this update know, I’ve run a couple of reviewer giveaway offers here already. So let me remind you that the point of this exercise is less about getting free books into eager hands and more about getting reviews posted on the net. Amazon is particularly important; Barnes & Noble, too. I’ve sent out about 20 copies of NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU, but only three reviews have been posted at Amazon. It’s particularly important to get four and five star reviews posted because those who don’t care for a book almost always post a one-star review, which brings the overall score way, way down.

So I urge those of you who got free books – and even you hardy souls who actually coughed up the dough – please take the time to post a review. Doesn’t need to be long – just a sentence is fine. Grass roots support means a lot.

Also, if you do a blog review, please post it at Amazon and/or Barnes & Noble, too. If it’s a long review, you can do a condensed version.

For an electronic copy of TOP SUSPENSE, e-mail with your preference of ePub (most non-Kindle readers), Mobi (several readers including the Kindle), or PDF. If you don’t know which format you need, just include which device you use to read eBooks.

We’ve had some good coverage in both the mainstream media and the net this week.

One of the web’s best book review sites, Bookgasm, has published a strong review of NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU. They would rather read Heller or Quarry, but they like it.

Publisher’s Weekly loves the upcoming Mike Hammer novel KISS HER GOODBYE:

Set in the 1970s, Collins’s impressive third posthumous collaboration with Spillane (after 2010’s The Big Bang) finds “an older, ailing Mike Hammer returning to New York and finding it (and himself) changed,” though readers will see little evidence by the bloody climax that the notoriously violent PI has lost a step to age or illness. Having survived a near-fatal shooting, Hammer has been licking his wounds and lying low in Florida, returning North only for the funeral of a close friend, who shot himself to avoid the ravages of end-stage cancer. The suicide verdict doesn’t sit well with Hammer, whose search for the truth leads to more murders and a possible link with a Studio 54 stand-in. Collins’s mastery of the character demonstrates that whenever he runs out of original material to work from he would be more than capable of continuing the saga on his own.

Kirkus seems to like KISS HER GOODBYE, too:

The violent death of his old cop mentor calls Mike Hammer back to New York and more of the same death-dealing intrigue he first made his specialty in I, the Jury 64 years ago.

According to Capt. Pat Chambers, all the evidence indicates that Insp. Bill Doolan, retired and facing the end stages of cancer, shot himself in the heart. But Mike (The Big Bang, 2010, etc.) isn’t buying it, and it’s not long before new evidence bears him out. A waitress is killed in a senseless mugging only a few blocks from Doolan’s funeral. A friendly hooker who has dinner with Mike is struck by a hit-and-run driver who was obviously aiming for her companion. The waitress’s ex-boyfriend, who supposedly left town years ago, turns up dead. What can an aging private eye do? “I was older. I was jaded. I was retired,” reflects Mike. “But I was still Mike Hammer.” Naturally, he’s lionized by everyone in the Big Apple, from rookie Congressman Alex Jaynor to kinky ADA Angela Marshall to reformed crime-family scion Anthony (“don’t call me Little Tony”) Tretriano, to hot Latina chanteuse Chrome, who sings in Anthony’s club, to Alberto Bonetti, the druglord whose son Sal Mike killed in self-defense. Sal will be followed into the great beyond by over two dozen souls, most of them sent hither by Mike.

Working from an unfinished novel by the late Spillane, Collins provides the franchise’s trademark winking salacity, self-congratulatory vigilantism and sadistic violence, topped off with a climax that combines the final scenes of two of Mike’s most celebrated cases.

Mike Dennis contributes a great review of KISS HER GOODBYE, as well.

And Craig Clarke raves about the new Mike Hammer audio, THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER VOL. 2: ENCORE FOR MURDER, at his fun “Somebody Dies” blog.

The always interesting Noirboiled turns a passage from the first Quarry novel into a noir poem.

And David Marshall James offers a terrific, amusing-in-its-own-right review of ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF.

M.A.C.

Mike Hammer is Selected

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

By Hook Or By Crook
By Hook Or By Crook
Tyrus Books

I’m pleased to announce that the Mike Hammer short story, “A Long Time Dead,” which appeared last year in the Strand magazine, has been selected for the 15th edition of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s The Best American Mystery Stories 2011.

Otto Penzler selects the fifty stories that he regards as the outstanding mystery/crime stories of the year and submits them to a guest editor – this year it’s Harlan Coben – who whittles the list down to twenty.

And “A Long Time Dead” made the cut. This is the first time one of my stories has been chosen for the BAMS honor (or, for that matter, one of Mickey’s).

The story was developed from one of eight or so shorter Mike Hammer fragments in Mickey’s files. The unpublished Hammer material falls into three categories: a., substantial novel fragments of approximately 100 pages or more, sometimes including plot and character notes; b., shorter novel fragments of a chapter or two, sometimes including plot and character notes; and c., single chapters or less, (again) sometimes including plot and character notes. A previous Hammer story developed from such a fragment appeared in 2010 in the Strand (“The Big Switch,” was chosen for Ed Gorman’s rival “best stories of the year” collection, By Hook or By Crook).

It’s gratifying that these Hammer short stories are being so well-received. I hope to develop the rest of the shorter fragments into short stories in the coming years, with an eye on an eventual collection. With some odd exceptions, Mickey himself never really published a Hammer short story. The exceptions are “The Night I Died,” which I short-story-ized from a radio script of Mickey’s (the only ghosting of sorts that I did for him during his lifetime) for the Spillane/Collins-edited anthology The Private Eyes, and “The Duke Alexander,” an offbeat humorous Damon Runyon kind of thing, starring Hammer but not at all typical, which appeared in Byline: Mickey Spillane (edited by Lynn Meyers and me). I believe “The Duke Alexander” was intended primarily as a screen treatment.

Other exceptions are short story-length condensations of Mickey’s Mike Hammer novels,The Killing Man and Black Alley, both of which appeared in Playboy. I don’t know who created those condensations, but I doubt it was Mickey (it wasn’t me).

So “The Big Switch” and “A Long Time Dead” – both chosen for “best of the year” collections now – are the first actual Mike Hammer short stories in the conventional sense. And there will be more….

M.A.C.