Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Justice’

Supreme Justice Hits #1

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Last Sunday, June 1st, was in many respects a typical Sunday for Barb and me. We had an early lunch at the Riverside Café, Barbie did yard work and sunned, and I worked on a Mike Hammer chapter. We had supper at the Peking Restaurant, and watched the first two episodes of PENNY DREADFUL (did not care for it, despite some fine actors). She went to bed early to read, and I went back to helping Mike Hammer kill thugs for a couple of hours.

Two things made June 1st special. First, and of secondary importance but pleasing, SUPREME JUSTICE became available to Amazon Kindle readers a month early and quickly rose to #1 on the Kindle bestseller list. As I write this, it’s still there. (I only knew this because my co-author Matt Clemens gave me a call while Barb and I were grocery shopping) (left that off the list of events above).

By the way, that means anyone who received an advance copy of SUPREME JUSTICE can post a review any time now. The reader reviews so far have been great, with the exception of several (including comments) from conservatives who dismiss the book as “liberal drivel.” Most of them proudly admit that they haven’t read the book, and are responding to Amazon’s description of it. This only proves my theory that are plenty of idiots on the far right to along with my corollary theory that there are plenty of idiots on the far left. (The latter often review my Mike Hammer novels as right-wing drivel or words thereabout and, yes, without reading them.) Since the detecting team of Reeder and Rogers spend the entire novel trying to save the lives of conservative justices from a leftist attempt to re-stack the Supreme Court, these rightist reviewers just may be misguided. Call me crazy, but I think you should at least try to read the book itself before posting a review on it, negative or positive.

The really important thing about June 1st is that Barb and I celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary. As you may have guessed, we did not actually celebrate on the 1st, choosing instead to take Friday the 30th off so that we could go to two of our favorite restaurants that aren’t open on Sundays. Those restaurants are Lagomarcino’s in the Village of East Davenport, a home-made candy store that has been around forever and serves great lunches (any place with Green River at their soda fountain is jake by me). For supper we went to an old favorite, the French bistro Le Figaro, which began decades ago in Muscatine as Rachid’s. We’re talking serious food here – Dover Sole for Barb, Veal Oscar for me. Whether the goofy smile on my mug is for the veal or my beautiful wife, I leave for you to decide. Whatever you come up with, you’ll be basing it on more evidence than certain nincompoops writing Amazon reviews.

MAC and Barbara 40th Anniversary

“Nincompoops” was one of my late father’s favorite words, by the way, and I find I use it more and more because (a) it reminds me of him, and (b) there really are a lot of them out there.

Speaking of SUPREME JUSTICE, this blog announces the book and uses our editor’s Alan Turkus’s nice take on why he bought the novel.

The film version of ROAD TO PERDITION continues to make the lists of best comic-book movies. Here’s just one of the recent ones.

Finally, this straight review of the film shows how PERDITION is only gaining in stature with the passing years.

M.A.C.

Supreme Giveaway

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

[Note from Nate: This just in — M.A.C. is on The Huffington Post with a new article (and a very cool video list): “The Case of the Aging Sleuths and the Dying Detectives.”]

Supreme Justice

Yes, the time has come to offer up a dozen advance reading copies of SUPREME JUSTICE, the political thriller Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer will be publishing in June…I mean, July…I mean…

Okay, here’s the deal as I understand it. Members of Amazon Prime will have the opportunity to select SUPREME JUSTICE from an offering of four new novels on Kindle, a month before official publication. Prime members can pick one book free and order any others of the four at a vastly reduced price. I’m very lucky to have SUPREME JUSTICE selected for this program, because books in it have tended to do very well. It sort of jump-starts them.

What this means is a couple of things. First, if you’re in Amazon Prime, you can get the book on Kindle as early as June 1. (If you aren’t, you have to wait till July 1, when “real” books become available.) It also means that reviews for SUPREME JUSTICE can appear as early as June 1, if you’ve received one of these twelve advance reading copies.

All I ask is that you post a review at Amazon if you are one of the dozen getting these ARC’s. Reviews elsewhere and on blogs are also appreciated. These tend to go quickly. [Note from Nate: And they’re gone! Thanks for your support!]

This will likely be the last of these giveaways this year. I know some people have the idea that I write a novel a month or something, but the reality is closer to four novels a year, which I admit is a fair amount. But keep in mind a number of these books are collaborations. I work from Spillane manuscripts on the Hammer novels, and with Barb on the ANTIQUES mysteries. SUPREME JUSTICE is a collaboration with Matthew Clemens, although his name isn’t on the cover (he gets a full page credit inside, however).

But because each of these books is for a different publisher, they put them out when they feel like it…and now and then a cluster of novels comes out. ANTIQUES CON, KING OF THE WEEDS and SUPREME JUSTICE are within a couple of months of each other, and THE WRONG QUARRY wasn’t that long ago, either. This tends to discourage reviewers at places like Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus, and Library Journal from reviewing all of them.

That’s one of the reasons why I have started this effort to get advance copies into the hands of readers who might post Amazon and other reviews for the books. Amazon reviews are important, as I’ve said before, because the number of reviews impacts how the books are viewed (and sold) there. Speaking of which, if you received advance copies of ANTIQUES CON and KING OF THE WEEDS and haven’t reviewed them yet, please do. Positive reviews are appreciated but not mandatory.

Also, if you are one of the unfortunate souls who don’t get a free copy and (choke!) have to actually buy one, I would be grateful to you for posting reviews, as well. I know I’m a broken record (remember those?) on this subject, but reviewing my books and those of any author whose work you enjoy is very important in this publishing environment. I talk not just of Amazon but Barnes & Noble and your own blogs.

SUPREME JUSTICE is a rare political thriller from me, although there many be more if this does well. Matt and I have a trilogy in mind for these characters, ex-Secret Service agent Joe Reeder and FBI agent Patti Rogers. We hope to do a thriller based around each branch of government. This one, obviously, is about the Supreme Court.

Advance reviews have been mostly very good, but I am sensing that my perceived liberal politics may be hurting the novel with some readers. This surprises me, because Matt and I strove mightily to keep that out of it; to hit the ball right down the center. Reeder is a sort of JFK liberal, but he spends the book trying to protect conservative justices. Where some conservative readers/reviewers appear to be having trouble comes from the novel depicting an America a few years hence in which Roe V. Wade has been overturned and the Patriot Act expanded. This was intended much less as a political statement than a plot motivation, setting up an America where something extreme might be attempted to reconfigure the Supreme Court.

First and foremost, SUPREME JUSTICE is a thriller with a modern-day Holmes at its center, and politics is the backdrop, not the point of the yarn. Now and then I get slammed over Mike Hammer’s right-wing politics from the other side of the aisle, and a writer can get whiplash that way. My politics are probably what you’d describe as center left. I say to my friends farther right and left than me: lighten up. These are just stories. And if they make you think a little bit, well, that’s just a mint on the hotel pillow, isn’t it?

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KING OF THE WEEDS continues to get some lovely reviews, like this one from Swiftly Tilting Planet.

City of Films has a nice KING OF THE WEEDS review, too.

So does Geek Hard.

And Geek Hard also interviewed me on their podcast last week.

Two weeks in a row (!) The Daily Kos “Monday Murder Mystery” reviewer has looked at one of the Disaster novels. This time it’s THE HINDENBURG MURDERS, and the reviewer likes that one, too.

Finally, a brief but nice THE WRONG QUARRY review has trailed in here (you have to scroll down a bit).

M.A.C.

New “Barbara Allan” Out This Week!

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
Antiques Con

The day this update goes live, the new Barbara Allan – ANTIQUES CON – will be available. You should be able to find it at your favorite bookstore (and if they don’t have it, ask – but Barnes & Noble has been a big supporter of the series, so that’s a safe bet). And of course you can get it on line.

Those of you who got advance reading copies can now post a review on Amazon (and elsewhere).

One of the fun things about this one (commented upon by several reviewers) is that we begin with Chapter Two. The conceit is that our editor made us drop Chapter One because that chapter – dealing with the attempt to recover the paperweight that beloved Aunt Olive’s ashes had been turned into – had nothing to do with the mystery plot.

Well, you can read Chapter One, and for free, by going to our Barbara Allan web site.

The web site is a work in progress, with lots of fun stuff to come, but for now it’s already very cool (thank you, Nate!) with individual pages for each Barbara Allan book, including BOMBSHELL and REGENERATION. Many of the books have sample chapters, for those of you who haven’t dipped into the world of Barbara Allan as yet. Check it out!

To further celebrate, read this fantastic review from one of our favorite people (and favorite writers), Bill Crider.

Speaking of great reviews, here’s one that is about to appear in Booklist for SUPREME JUSTICE:

In the near future, the Supreme Court has reversed Roe v. Wade, strengthened the Patriot Act, and dismissed the Fourth Amendment. Devlin Harrison, the second African American president, is a liberal, but the court’s conservatives plan to outlast him. Then conservative justice Henry Venter is shot and killed in a D.C. restaurant. Enter former Secret Service Agent Joe Reeder, who took a bullet while guarding a president. Hailed as a hero, he made the mistake of expressing his opposition to that president’s neocon politics and quickly became a pariah. His only remaining federal-cop friend is FBI Agent Gabe Sloan, and Sloan, valuing Reeder’s insight, adds Reeder as a consultant to the multiagency task force investigating Venter’s murder. Soon a second conservative justice is killed, and the mastermind behind the crimes may be just getting started.

Collins (Ask Not, 2013), perhaps best known for his Nathan Heller novels, has crafted a spiky thriller with a fine inside-the-Beltway sensibility. His politics are transparent enough to cost him conservative readers, but the sense is that Collins is probably OK with that.

Here’s a LAST QUARRY review – better late than never.

Craig Zablo has posted a pic of Mickey and me. I wonder if he knows it was shot outside the Tower of London?

Here’s an interesting love/hate evaluation of series fiction in the mystery genre, with a brief but nice QUARRY mention.

MAC Iowa City Literary Walk

Speaking of Quarry, our images this week include shots of the structure honoring me as one of the authors on Iowa City’s Literary Walk (I am part of the Northside Marketplace expansion). This is particularly sweet to me, since as many of you know, I was kind of a black sheep at the Iowa Writers Workshop because of my insistence on writing crime fiction. Quarry was created when I was in the last semester of my MFA work at the Workshop, and the opening three chapters were “workshopped” to mixed reviews, mostly negative, including my instructor. My champion at the Workshop was the great mainstream writer Richard Yates – and his pedestal with quote was added to the walk at the same time as mine…how sweet is that? Writing well is the best revenge.

MAC Iowa City Literary Walk

M.A.C.

Cover Story

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014
Supreme Justice

Over the last two weeks, Matt Clemens and I have been going over potential covers for the upcoming SUPREME JUSTICE, coming out June 1.

Thomas & Mercer, Amazon Publishing’s mystery/suspense line, has been very good about making me – and Matt, because he contributed so mightily to both novels – part of the book cover process for both WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER and SUPREME JUSTICE. This is hardly common in publishing – in fact, it’s the opposite of common.

What often happens is that I’m asked for my opinion – in the context of how important that opinion might be, given my background in visual arts like comics and film – but rarely has my input been given much if any consideration.

That’s been improving in recent years. Our editor at Kensington always asks Barb and me for ideas for the covers of the ANTIQUES books, and those ideas have been used for the most part.

Titan is careful to run covers past me, and I had considerable input on the Mike Hammer mass market editions, where initially the depiction of Hammer was wrong. The publisher of Titan himself, Nick Landau, enthusiastically presented the hardcover Hammer dust-jacket art over drinks at San Diego Con a few years ago.

At Hard Case Crime, Charles Ardai often discusses what artists might be available for my next book – obviously the first thing out of my mouth is, “How about McGinnis?” But I essentially chose the cover artists for THE WRONG QUARRY (Tyler Jacobsen) out of three or four Charles showed me examples by. And THE WRONG QUARRY seems to be universally regarded as one of (if not the) strongest of my Hard Case covers.

As I may have mentioned here before, those covers are usually done before I’ve written the novel, with just a paragraph precise of the unwritten book for the artist to go by. That means I often have to work to get the cover image into the book.

On the other hand, I provided Forge with lots of input into BYE BYE, BABY’s hardcover jacket that was eventually ignored, due to worries that the Monroe estate would sue. I hate that cover (though the mass market paperback is much better). Where both TARGET LANCER and ASK NOT were concerned, however, I was given the opportunity to give my two cents, and was listened to. Often I write the cover copy, even the front “reading lines” (blurbs), when what is submitted to me seems weak.

So it has improved a lot. I’ve come a long way from when I received BAIT MONEY and BLOOD MONEY in the mail in December 1972 and found fairly terrible photo covers and my name changed from Allan Collins to Max Collins, and my character Nolan given an unwanted first name (“Frank”) which to this day dogs both Nolan and me. Then there’s the day I opened a package and saw that my novel QUARRY and its sequel HIT LIST were now THE BROKER and THE BROKER’S WIFE, the latter title a spoiler for a major plot turn…again, with photo covers, though slightly better ones.

But now Thomas & Mercer has given me a chance not only to suggest cover images, but provides me with half a dozen to choose from, and does tweaks on the art that I’ve suggested. I wish I could include the SUPREME JUSTICE rejects here, because they were strong, too. But I don’t know the legality of that.

Maybe next time I do a book for them, I can put the proposed covers up here and seek your input.

For now, I am delighted with the cover for SUPREME JUSTICE.

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Brief movie report.

We liked MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN, me more than Barb. It captured the Jay Ward cartoons well and was very smart in its storytelling – a little long, though. See it in 3-D.

NON-STOP was a good thriller, somewhat stupid in the motivation of the villains, but a ride worth taking.

300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE is better than the original, and is a rousing battle picture with an eye-popping sex scene (see that in 3-D, too). But it’s fairly numbing in its more-and-more-of-the-same gory action, and at heart is a very brain-dead right-wing screed. Still, I dug it. I am, as should be evident by now, a sucker for anything in 3-D that doesn’t outright suck.

Speaking of sucking, we walked out of DIVERGENT about half an hour in. I’d read some promising reviews, but this is a really poorly thought-out imitation of HUNGER GAMES (which is a poorly thought-out imitation of BATTLE ROYALE). Really, really dumb, and also dreary and dull. We bailed when some recruits in the Dauntless faction (don’t ask) said, “Let’s do something fun! Let’s get tattoos!”

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Let’s wind up this update with a link to a very nice WRONG QUARRY review from Blog Critics.