Posts Tagged ‘Target Lancer’

The “D” is Silent

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

I have just wrapped up my first original novel for Thomas & Mercer (i.e., Amazon), WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU. It’s a thriller that my Harrow series collaborator Matt Clemens worked on with me – our usual pattern of me coming up with the idea, the two of us co-plotting, and Matt writing a story treatment (sort of a short rough draft) out of which I develop the novel. I was behind deadline, which means I worked through the holidays on it. The story has to do with a Victims of Violent Crimes support group, some of whose members team up to go after the serial killer who targeted all of their families. With its young female lead, it’s at least vaguely an American take on THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. It’ll be out late this year.

My favorite (and least favorite) movie list got a lot of play on the Net last week, with plenty of people disagreeing with me on the DARK KNIGHT RISES, but otherwise generating quite a bit of agreement. If you’re wondering why DJANGO UNCHAINED didn’t make either list, it’s because I hadn’t seen it yet.

Well, I have now, and it would have rated high among my favorites. It took me a long time to warm to Quentin Tarantino – I found RESERVOIR DOGS and PULP FICTION full of themselves, and didn’t like the KILL BILL movies, either. I knew all of the references and cringed when too-familiar music was used in his cobbled together soundtracks (the IRONSIDE theme…really?). But JACKIE BROWN, with the underpinning of a real Elmore Leonard story, was terrific, and INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, with its inherent love of film and hatred of Nazis, made me a fan. Now the world’s most famous know-it-all video clerk has hit a grand slam with DJANGO UNCHAINED. As with BASTERDS, the writer/director does better within the confines of period dialogue (not that anachronisms don’t crop up, but unlike the earlier movies, it doesn’t sound like QT is just talking to himself). DJANGO is a witty, wonderfully over-the-top tribute to both the MANDINGO Southern gothic genre and Italian westerns (with the patched-together score working extremely well with this appropriate music, familiar but using the sources not specific enough to distract) with bold jagged red credits, camera zooms and grainy flashbacks, plus many wonderfully familiar faces (Bruce Dern among them). You also get to see QT blow himself up real good (worth the price of admission). This is the first movie in a very long time that I would like to see again on the big screen.

I would also recommend the Danish crime series THE KILLING, the third season of which has just appeared on DVD and blu-ray in England. A great, gritty series with a strong female detective and unusual emphasis on politics as well as the cost of crime upon a victim’s family. Each season explores one case (Barb and I watched the ten-hour third season in one excessive Sunday marathon). This is advertised as the third of a trilogy, though the ending is a cliffhanger of sorts. I have never seen the American version of this show.

Here’s a nice review of TARGET LANCER from Richard Katz of Milwaukee’s great mystery bookstore, Mystery One.

Over at CRIMESPREE magazine, editor Jon Jordan has included TARGET LANCER on his memorable reads of the year list.

Here’s another Best Books of the Year list TARGET LANCER made (ranking high among thrillers).

Jeff Pierce’s indispensable Rap Sheet has a preview of coming attractions that includes both SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT and the forthcoming MIKE HAMMER comic strip collection.


A Tale of Two Christmas Eves

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Here’s a piece about my two most memorable Christmases that I wrote recently for Bookreporter. Happy holidays, everyone, and thank you for your interest and support in 2012.

My ambition, from junior high school onward, was to be a mystery writer, specifically to write and publish the kind of hardboiled fiction people are calling “noir” these days.

I had written four novels in high school and a number of short stories, spending my summers creating the manuscripts that I would send out during the school year. I had any number of encouraging responses, but no sales.

At the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, I was blessed to have Richard Yates — the great mainstream author of REVOLUTIONARY ROAD — as my mentor. He helped me shape my pulp fiction into something that strove to be something more, even if it didn’t always. He got me an appropriate agent in New York, a crusty ex-paperback editor named Knox Burger, who said of my Raymond Chandler/Mickey Spillane-inspired work, “I’m afraid young Mr. Collins has learned to be a blacksmith in an automotive age.” Yates had told Burger that he thought I was another Dashiell Hammett. Burger said, “No — W.R. Burnett maybe.”

The story continues over at

And here are pics from my appearance at Centuries and Sleuths in Forest Park, Illiniois, doing a Q and A at the Midwest MWA Christmas party on Dec. 16.

Before I sign off, here are a few links you might like to check out.

Here’s an interview I did about the Disaster series, in support of the current reprint program from Thomas & Mercer.

This is a well-done “get to know” me and my work from the fun site Mystery People.

The private eye-centric blog Sons of Spade has a nice TARGET LANCER review.

And here’s a very much appreciated positive review (and more) from the great Bill Crider about the forthcoming (February) SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT.


Collect ‘Em All, Kids!

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Last week, Amazon offered for sale the new Thomas & Mercer trade paperbacks (and corresponding e-books) of fourteen of my novels, including two by Barb and myself appearing for the first time under our “Barbara Allan” byline (REGENERATION, BOMBSHELL).

These are outstanding packages, with outstanding covers, really just beautiful. I’m thrilled that these novels – all out of print, some out of print for years – are available again. It’s any author’s dream to have his or her work perpetually available, and one positive aspect of the changing world of publishing is that that dream has come true for many writers, myself included.

The five Mallory novels and the six “disaster” mysteries make up the bulk of the list, with the Barbara Allan titles and the standalone eco-thriller MIDNIGHT HAUL rounding it out. Virtually everything of mine is in print now – Perfect Crime has the Nolan and Quarry series, and Speaking Volumes has Eliot Ness.

The new Thomas & Mercer titles are priced very reasonably, and look for great promo deals from Amazon after the first of the year. I have done interviews on both Mallory and the disaster books, and Barb and I did a “Barbara Allan” interview, and I’ll let you know when and where those are going to show up. [Note from Nate: Click each cover for links to purchase Kindle, trade paperback, and audiobook editions at Amazon, major booksellers, as well as local independent booksellers via Indiebound]

Barb and I appeared at Centuries & Sleuths in Forest Park, Illinois, on Sunday. This was a great event – lots of fans, plus we were generously made a part of the Midwest chapter of the Mystery Writers of America’s Christmas party. In fact, my Q and A was the entertainment. It was a treat seeing so many wonderful writers, particularly my friends Bob Goldsborough and Raymond Benson, who are with me in the very small club of writers being chosen to continue great series (Nero Wolfe, James Bond and Mike Hammer respectively). Centuries & Sleuths, with its history and mystery theme, is one cool bookstore. The book tour has one last stop, in nearby Davenport’s BAM! on Dec. 22.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy, be prepared for books, comic books, video games, rap music, movies, and other popular culture to be served up as a safe, convenient scapegoat. This is a very old, sour tune that our society just can’t get enough of – just like it can’t get enough of violent entertainment. Personally, I would like to see the assault rifle ban reinstated, and a campaign of education to advise people of the risks taken by owning a hand gun in a home where mentally disturbed and/or depressed people live. If you have a troubled loner son, maybe taking him to the shooting range to “learn responsibility” isn’t such a great idea.

The second of three installments of Dan Luft’s in-depth look at the Nolan series has just appeared. Smart stuff.

Take a look at this incredible TARGET LANCER review.

And speaking of censoring pop culture, here’s another nice advance review of SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT.


Road to Heller

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

This is a brief update, as Barb and I are on the road with the TARGET LANCER book tour. We have already done Iowa City (Prairie Lights), Scottsdale AZ (Poisoned Pen), and Houston (Murder by the Book), and will have done Left Bank Books in St. Louis by the time you read this. Check the above listing of a few other appearances.

M.A.C. discusses TARGET LANCER at Left Bank Books, Central West End, St. Louis

Great reviews for TARGET LANCER continue to appear, like this very smart one of Scene of the Crime.

Mystery People continues to give us great TARGET LANCER coverage at their web site and now with a You Tube video.

And the very first SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT review has popped up by terrific writer Ron Fortier. The book comes out next February, which suddenly isn’t so far away.

Quick recommendation: HITCHCOCK with Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren, playing art houses mostly (at the moment anyway).

More next week.