Posts Tagged ‘The Big Bang’

They Say It’s Our Birthday

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Yes, we’ve made it for just over a year of weekly updates. I haven’t missed once, and my son Nate has only rarely had to get after me about it. Thank you for checking in once a week or so. I remain in awe of my pals Bill Crider and Ed Gorman (among so many others) who manage to post every day. (You guys should get a hobby. Maybe you could write in your spare time.)

THE BIG BANG continues to rack up some lovely write-ups. We are going to get some great coverage from January Magazine’s Rap Sheet very soon (I’m in the midst of a Spillane-centric interview with J. Kingston Pierce his own self). There will be a give-away of copies of the book, celebrating the Rap Sheet’s anniversary, so for you cheap bastards who haven’t bought the book yet, you’ll soon have a chance to snag a free ride.

I was also asked to write a special piece about my relationship with Mickey for Amazon. I only had around 300 words to work with, and I culled the new piece from a much longer one that I did for the LA Times when Mickey passed. This is posted at the Amazon page where you can buy THE BIG BANG, so feel free to do that while you’re there.

Craig Clarke, at his Somebody Dies review site, has done a terrific BIG BANG review. Craig is always worth reading.

Here’s a very nice review from a woman who had never read Mike Hammer before, but came up with a reasoned, thoughtful response to her first meeting with him. Thanks, Mary!

Crusin’ is starting to work on our concert sets for Great River Days in Muscatine in July. It’s going to be a very big deal, with us sharing the stage with the other band from our region that made it into the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame – the incredible XL’s.

Finally, here’s a new band photo taken by our bass player Chuck Bunn’s daughter, Lara. This is Crusin’ right now….

Left to right, M.A.C., Chuck Bunn, Steve Kundel, Jim VanWinkle


Bang Bang Bang Bang!!!!

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
The Big Bang
In Stores Now!

THE BIG BANG continues to attract attention, but first things first…

…Barb, Matt Clemens and I are appearing on Saturday May 8 at a book fair in Davenport. We are doing a panel on collaboration at 1:30 P.M. at the River City Music Experience, talking about the new books YOU CAN’T STOP ME, ANTIQUES BIZARRE and THE BIG BANG. Here’s more info.

THE BIG BANG has had some wonderful cyber write-ups in recent days. Writer Brian Drake gives us a great, insightful write-up.

Writer Ron Fortier (he collaborates with Terry Beatty’s MS. TREE collaborator Gary Kato on the very, very fun comic MR. JIGSAW) has a great site (PULP FICTION REVIEWS) where he, too, provides insightful comments about “the Lost Sixties Mike Hammer Novel.” But is “heroine” a pun or a typo? You decide.

Here’s another really good BIG BANG write-up. So great to see so many reviewers in the blogosphere (yuck) really digging Mike Hammer and “getting it.”

And my pal Ed Gorman gave THE BIG BANG lots of space both for a review and a re-cycle of some stuff I wrote a few updates ago, generating a lively discussion that (of course) I got into. Turns out Robert B. Parker is a major writer and that I am apparently minor. That’s what I get for being Max Allan Collins, Jr. But do check it out – the great reviewer Jon Breen stops in.

Speaking of Ed, he briefly came out of his bunker at the undisclosed Cedar Rapids location to do a two-man “conversation” in front of a dozen nice people at a pleasantly trendy winery in Coralville, Iowa, for a library fund raiser. At his most excellent blog, he said nice things about me, including that I should run for governor. That is a nice thing to say, isn’t it?

John Kenyon was moderator at the event, and he did his best herding cats, but it was a hopeless task. He wrote about it, too, at his fun site.

M.A.C. and Ed Gorman
M.A.C. and Ed Gorman at the Iowa City Public Library Fundraiser
Photo by John Kenyon, Things I’d Rather Be Doing

Finally, Bookgasm – the gold standard of internet book review sites – didn’t much care for the new anthology CRIMES BY MOONLIGHT, but he likes the Collins/Spillane story, “Grave Matter.”

If you’re in the Eastern Iowa area, come to the Book Fair in Davenport. This is only the second event Clemens and two Collinses have either done together (not counting poker).


ANTIQUES Tomorrow, BIG BANG Today!

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Barb and I will be doing at least three more ANTIQUES “Trash ‘n’ Treasures” mysteries for Kensington after the end of our current contract. This is three books beyond the recently completed ANTIQUES KNOCK-OFF (which will be out about a year from now), taking us all the way into 2014. I give the lion’s share of credit to Barb, whose unique vision and sense of humor makes these books so special.

Quarry's Ex

THE BIG BANG, which I did not expect to see on sale until mid-May, is available now from Amazon, and I’ve seen it at a Border’s, as well, so I am assuming you can find it whether you buy your books, whether in cyber space, a chain outlet or an indie bookshop. Strong sales on this one are key for me to be able to turn the remaining trio of Spillane/Hammer manuscripts into finished novels. (KISS HER GOODBYE has been delivered and will be out next year.)

Also on the Spillane/Hammer front, this weekend I did final revisions on the next NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER radio “novel,” ENCORE FOR MURDER. The basis is a one-page outline of an unwritten novel by Mickey Spillane. The notes from producer Carl Amari and star Stacy Keach were minimal, and the script is put to bed. We record it in Chicago next month.

I also read the galleys for QUARRY’S EX, doing final tweaks and corrections. This will be published in October by Hard Case Crime. Whether there will be any further Quarry books remains to be seen.

There were several nice mentions of my work on the internet this past week.

Here’s a nice blog review of THE BIG BANG by a longtime Spillane fan.

There are been several nice mentions on the net about my history-of-hardboiled-short-fiction intro to BLOOD, GUTS & WHISKEY, the Thuglit anthology. This one’s that terrific writer, Tom Piccirilli.

Also, there’s a nice ANTIQUES FLEE MARKET review on another blog.

Finally, here’s a nice little write-up about STRIP FOR MURDER, the second of the two Jack and Maggie Starr mysteries. It’s available at a bargain price at Amazon right now — $5.60.

Short update this weekend — have to devote my time to the new Harrow novel, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU.

Check out my Facebook Fan page! I post almost every day.


Love for Mike Hammer

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

This time around, it’s pretty much strictly links and a few review excerpts. Speaking of which, my essay on the “lost” Mike Hammer novels got picked up all over the place, including such key websites as January Magazine, Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Magazine, and Paul Bishop’s Bish’s Beat.

I am planning a “Lost” Mike Hammer Novels Part Two that will explore why Mickey left so many unfinished works behind, but my webmaster Nathan Collins (currently visiting us with his crazy loveable Australian Blue Heeler, Toaster, in tow) has advised me to post that piece closer to the release date of the novel (MAY 14).

Over the years, I have had many, many terrible reviews from the notoriously tough Kirkus. Well, boys and girls and moms and dads, Hell has frozen over :

The Big Bang
Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / May / 9780151014484

Expect Mickey Spillane’s stock to go up, up, up—bang! bang! bang!—when The Big Bang hits in May. Co-written with Max Allan Collins, author of Road to Perdition (2002), this latest Mike Hammer caper should earn Spillane a place in the pantheon of thriller writers. Sentences are packed with gritty detail, action scenes have more kicks and slams than a championship karate playoff and the plot—Hammer takes on the narcotics mob on the eve of a big heroin shipment to Manhattan in the mid-’60s—is tight.”

You will have to scroll down to the Mysteries section to read the entire review, which includes a few quotes from an exclusive interview I did with the Kirkus reviewer.

We also got a very solid review from Library Journal. I don’t have a link handy, so I’ll quote it in its entirety:

Welcome to Greenwich Village, circa the mid-1960s, complete with go-go girls, miniskirts, easy sex, and the acrid smell of hemp everywhere. Onto the scene lumbers Mike Hammer, a self-professed Neanderthal and card-carrying carnivore who happily ogles the goods on display but can’t quite heartily embrace the offerings. That’s the sorrow at the heart of this latest “collaboration” between Spillane (1918–2006) and the prolific, protean Collins (Road to Perdition), who was chosen by Spillane to inherit his incomplete manuscripts. When Mike witnesses a bicycle messenger being mugged, he characteristically retaliates by gleefully killing two tie-dye-wearing druggies and seriously wounding a third. Subsequent murders, though, seem to suggest that it’s Hammer who’s the real target. Who’s out to do in Hammer? The image of a brooding figure contemplating the decline evident all around him, along with characters done in broad strokes, invite comparisons with Batman.

VERDICT To dismiss this as bottom-drawer Spillane would mean missing out on an enormously entertaining confection with its politically incorrect views, giving fans of the Mad Men TV series as well as proponents of vigilante justice something to talk about over the watercooler.

Also, I’d like to thank Craig Zablo for giving THE BIG BANG such a nicely splashy welcome at his site.

And THE BIG BANG makes a big splash at the Murder Mystery Mayhem site, too.

YOU CAN’T STOP ME’s Kindle bestsellerdom has generated an interesting review, whose writer asked me to do a brief interview (the review comes first followed by the interview).

And Kindle has generated a smart review of A KILLING IN COMICS, from my short-lived (so far anyway) Jack and Maggie Starr series. I wanted to do at least one more with Dr. Wertham as the murder victim, and maybe someday it will happen.

The Strand Magazine has two Collins reviews in its current issue, available now at Barnes & Noble, Borders and other outlets. Here’s an excerpt from Neal Alhadef’s review of the audio book, THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER, VOL. 2: THE LITTLE DEATH:

Stacy Keach does a fine job as Mike Hammer, as does the rest of the cast. Freed from the constraints of network television, this version of Hammer is closer to what appears in the Spillane novels than anything Keach has done before. Violence, language, and sex are intensified to a Spillanian level. No attempt is made to hide the years of experience that color Keach’s voice. In fact, the story makes reference to Mike being older, much as was done in the most recent Spillane/Collins novel, The Goliath Bone….THE LITTLE DEATH is yet another strong Mike Hammer story from Max Allan Collins. As long as Collins is working on Hammer, Mickey Spillane can be sure that his readers, and now listeners, are well taken care of. THE LITTLE DEATH is highly recommended.

Neal also reviews QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE for the Strand, and here’s an excerpt from that excellent write-up:

Quarry in the Middle is an excellent addition to the Quarry series. Collins begins with a killer sentence that grabs the reader and doesn’t let go until all the twists and turns have been navigated. Like all the Quarry books, Quarry in the Middle is highly recommended.

In trolling for these reviews, I was surprised but pleased to see my name turning up in reviews for a lot of other people’s books – linking with Elmore Leonard and other greats in the genre as influences. You can’t imagine how pleased I am to still be alive to see that kind of thing….

Here’s an interesting illustrated history of the MIKE DANGER comic book character, from Mickey Spillane’s original creation of the Mike Hammer prototype to our collaborative science-fiction take on him.

The film ROAD TO PERDITION continues to grow in stature, and this write-up is a good indicator of why.


A photo of me, Mickey Mouse, Mickey Spillane, Leonard Nimoy and Neil Gaiman has been tweeted all over kingdom come. Disneyworld in the early ‘90s, when Techno Comix was getting its launch. MIKE DANGER, the Spillane/Collins collaboration, was probably the most popular of the titles and ran two full years. Regular readers of these updates know that I am a first-generation STAR TREK fan, so you can imagine how giddy I was to be hanging out with Leonard Nimoy. I had brief but lovely chat with him about Sherlock Holmes, who he played on several occasions.

Right now, I’m back to working on the script for THE NEWS ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER Vol. 3: THE LITTLE DEATH, which Stacy Keach will record next month…assuming I finish it. I’m a week away from starting my draft on the second Harrow novel with Matt Clemens.