Posts Tagged ‘Spillane On Screen’

Bittersweet Edgar Noms

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

The Edgar nominations were announced last week, and I was pleased to see two books I contributed essays to were chosen in the Best Critical/Biographical section: BOOKS TO DIE FOR and IN PURSUIT OF SPENSER (Matt Clemens co-authored the essay in the latter, dealing with the Spenser TV series). I admit to my disappointment that Jim Traylor and my MICKEY SPILLANE ON SCREEN didn’t get a nod. I am never surprised to be absent in Edgar fiction categories – that’s the biggest crap shoot on the planet – but I felt we had a decent shot in this smaller, more specific category. There’s always the Anthonys….

Today I doing a final pass on a Mike Hammer story, “So Long, Chief,” developed from a particularly strong ten-page Spillane fragment. It will likely appear in The Strand, and I am gradually completing enough Hammer stories to see the possibility of a collection glimmering on the horizon.

Matt Clemens and I met this week and put the finishing touches on WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU. The book definitely reflects my interest in the wave of Nordic mystery fiction, which I’m mostly familiar with via foreign TV adaptations. Barb and I watched a new Varg Veum film last night, for example, and have gone through all of the available Wallanders (as well as the Brit version). The longer TV cut of GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is superior to the films (apparently it’s not uncommon for TV movies and series to have limited theatrical releases in that part of the world, before expanded television versions are aired). While it’s dangerous to look at a country’s output of crime fiction as a genre unto itself, I am fascinated by the Nordic mix of political intrigue and social ills. WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU doesn’t reflect the political side in a major way, but does (I think) represent a move away from the CSI-oriented forensics thrillers that Matt and I have previously explored.

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A nice review of the 2007 Ms. Tree prose novel, DEADLY BELOVED, has turned up on the web.

My friend, the fine writer Ed Gorman, wrote a very generous piece on SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT.

Here’s a so so review of SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT, a patronizing piece from my point of view. It also quotes a PW review from a reviewer who doesn’t know the meaning of the word “parody” (hint: not interchangeable with pastiche).

More SEDUCTION reviews are available at Goodreads.

And here’s a nice, insightful review of “A Little Faith,” the story Matt Clemens and I did for the anthology DARK FAITH INVOCATIONS.


Lightning Strikes

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
The Simon & Kirby Library: Crime

CHICAGO LIGHTNING did very well on its Kindle Deal of the Day 99-cent sale – something like 8000 copies. For a short story collection, that’s amazing, even at the discount. If you prefer a real, physical object (it’s called a book), you should pick this up. Also, the audio version read by Dan John Miller really is fun.

The Simon and Kirby CRIME comics collection from Titan hit the New York Times list, another amazing accomplishment, for which I can take zero credit, though my intro is getting some nice comments in reviews.

I am wrapping up SPILLANE ON SCREEN (I’ll ship it out this week) and starting serious work on SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT, the Jack and Maggie Starr novel for Hard Case Crime. I am delighted to be returning to this series. The cover is by Glenn Orbik (can’t share it yet, but it’s an eye-popper) and Terry Beatty will do interior chapter illos and a fake EC-style cover as a frontispiece.

Thanksgiving here was low-key and very enjoyable, with Nate and his girl friend Abby joining us (as well as our granddog, Toaster) and Barb cooked a fantastic traditional turkey dinner. We watched lots of movies, also episodes of AUCTION HUNTERS (a good rival to STORAGE WARS), saw the very good ARTHUR CHRISTMAS (after suffering through an abysmal Justin Bieber video that almost ruined a good movie), and did very minimal Black Friday shopping (picked up some cheap Blu-rays at Walmart, mostly for Riff Trax purposes).

On Saturday night, at the VFW Hall in Lone Tree, Iowa, for an anniversary party, Crusin’ had its first gig with new bass player, Brian Van Winkle, who did a fine job. It’s going to be a very good version of the band.

See you next week with less personal stuff, apologies for which are mitigated by the holiday season.


Cover Boy

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
Deadly Pleasures

Seeing my face on the cover of the current DEADLY PLEASURES (Summer 2001, issue 66), is gratifying if frustrating – I’d have looked better twenty or even ten years ago. But it’s nice to see Nate Heller get this kind of attention – editor George Easter told me I’d get the DP cover when I wrote another Heller (this was during the drought between CHICAGO CONFIDENTIAL and the current BYE BYE, BABY). And he kept his word.

The issue is an embarrassment of riches, because editor Easter reviews/discusses seven of the books I have out this year (he skips ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF, either not knowing about “Barbara Allan” or just not liking the cozy stuff). Ted Fitzgerald in the same issue provides a rave review of BYE BYE, BABY as well, and Roger M. Sobin does retro coverage of FLYING BLIND, comparing it to the 2009 film “Amelia” (which I thought was dreadful…the film, not Sobin’s solid discussion).

When Jon Breen retired from regularly writing the review column in ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE, “The Jury Box,” I thought I was cooked. Jon was a big booster of my stuff and reviewed me regularly. I figured the new guy, Steve Steinbock, would have more sense. Fortunately, he doesn’t, as the new EQMM (December 2001) gives generous “Jury Box” attention to a slew of my novels, leading off with a four-star BYE BYE, BABY review.

This kind of coverage is so important. For those of you who think my ego is out of control, when I mention such things, well, you’re probably right…but the real appeal of it to me is that the books get attention and gain more readers. That’s not really an ego-driven desire. It’s on the most basic level a desire to keep the lights on in this joint. I can’t stay in business if the books don’t sell, and I have never been a success on the level of a Harlan Coben or Lee Child. I remain a freelance writer desperately avoiding getting a real job.

Here’s a great write-up on the Nate Heller series worth checking out.

And here’s one specifically about the new Heller collection, CHICAGO LIGHTNING.

Oddly, this is a nice review of DEAD STREET, reacting as if the book just came out. The comments below the smart review reveal the level of idiocy that Spillane can elicit in apparently intelligent readers.

This week the new Titan collection of Simon and Kirby crime comics comes out, with my introduction. USA TODAY interviewed me about the book and about S & K.

Work continues apace on SPILLANE ON SCREEN as Jim Traylor and I keep the words flying between Iowa and Georgia. It’s a McFarland book and will be horrendously expensive, no doubt, but it’s gonna be worth it.