Posts Tagged ‘The Consummata’

Mike Danger Loses A Friend

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

For those of you out of the comics scene loop, I’m sorry to report that Eduardo Barretto passed away recently. Eduardo was the initial artist on the MIKE DANGER comic book, drawing the first six issues, and while other good artists followed, nobody came close to his classic approach. He also drew my Eliot Ness/Batman graphic novel, SCAR OF THE BAT, providing the best Bat-art I ever got.

My collaborations with Eduardo were long distance, and we only met once, briefly, at a San Diego Comic Con. He was about to go into a meeting with an editor, and we pretty much passed like ships in the night. But I loved his work and regret I didn’t get a chance to work with him again. He was on the very short list of artists I suggested for ROAD TO PERDITION.

There were a lot of nice write-ups about Eduardo in the wake of his passing, but here’s a nice representative one.

Crimespree 44

I am pleased and honored to be a cover boy again, this time on CRIMESPREE 44. The interview, conducted by editor Jon Jordan himself, has some glitches and typos but is otherwise a particularly good one, I think, thanks to Jon’s questioning. If you can’t pick up a copy at a mystery bookstore, you can just pay $6 through Paypal to, or send a check for $6 to:

Crimespree Magazine
536 South 5th St
Milwaukee WI 53204.

It’s also available as an e-book from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble online.

My pal Leonard Maltin called recently to say how much he liked BYE BYE, BABY. He even included it in his seasonal wrap-up on new and notable Hollywood-oriented books.

At, several regular reviewers were asked to present best 10 books of the year, and Tom Callahan included BYE BYE, BABY on his.

We also received some Best of 2011 honors at the cool Sons of Spade site.

I was asked to write about one of my favorite authors, Ed McBain, for Amazon, and you can find my piece (and others) right here. If you like my work and McBain’s, you’ll want to take a look.

A nice CONSUMMATA review popped up here. That little book has generated nice online buzz (and was recently part of a Titan giveaway promotion at Ain’t It Cool News); no link, ‘cause the contest’s over….

You may find this review of the graphic novel ROAD TO PERDITION of interest. It’s quite insightful, but has the unusual perspective of a reviewer who likes the book but does not like the film. I like the film a lot, but I am always up for hearing from people who like the book better….

That gifted comics scribe John Ostrander said some nice things about CHICAGO LIGHTNING.

Finally, let me wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas this week, and a happy holidays in general. This has been a rough year in many ways – the loss of Eduardo Barretto is a reminder of other losses, including Chuck Bunn from Crusin’ and my longtime film collaborator Mike Cornelison. My mom at her nursing home no longer recognizes Barb and me. I have always gotten misty-eyed at that line in “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” that says we’ll all be together “if the fates allow.” The fates have been kinder in other years.

Still, I am remarkably blessed. I have a beautiful, funny, talented, supportive wife in Barb – did I mention beautiful? – and a talented, funny, supportive son in Nate (I would call him “handsome,” but as much as we look alike, that would be inappropriate). My career manages to roll along nicely despite a marketplace that resembles a back-alley in Iraq. I have so many friends, many of whom collaborate with me – like Jane Spillane, Matt Clemens and Phil Dingeldein, among many others (you know who you are, or anyway I hope you do) – who make my life a particularly full and happy one. Among those friends are the readers who support my work and stop by this weekly update. I raise a rum-spiked glass of egg nog to you all.


Sneak Peak At The New Hammer

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011
Lady, Go Die!

Titan has a wonderful new take on doing Spillane/Hammer covers, as this advance look at LADY, GO DIE! reveals. I’m a little concerned that I seem to be getting top billing here, but Mickey’s name at the bottom of the image is somewhat larger and I’m assured will catch the eye first. (The official billing, as always, puts Spillane in first position.) But it’s a striking design, isn’t it?

Speaking of Spillane, THE CONSUMMATA continues to garner fine reviews, like this widely circulated one at Blogcritics. Funny thing about this one – the presence of a comics reference (specifically Batman and Catwoman) convinces the critic that I wrote that particular line. Apparently he’s unaware of Mickey’s affiliation with (and affinity for) comics – Batman was a favorite of Mick’s, and he claimed to have written some stories for the feature, though we’ve never been able to confirm that (Mickey worked for Funnies, Inc., and a lot of his stuff was at Timely/Marvel).

The Simon & Kirby Crime Comics book that I introduced has continued to rack up great notices, often with kind words about my intro. Check out this one, and this one.

My friend and collaborator Terry Beatty and I began work on SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT over the weekend – I plotted it and provided him with script for his chapter intros and the Ellery Queen-style “Challenge to the Reader.” Terry gave an interesting interview here.

I made a mid-week Chicago day trip with another frequent collaborator, Matt Clemens, to continue preliminary work with sports radio star Mike North. Matt and I are prepping to write an “as told to” autobiography for Mike. We met with a publisher and confabbed at the great restaurant Gibson’s (on the site of Mr. Kelly’s!), and made the Sun Times. Usually me having lunch doesn’t rate major media attention….


Honor To Be Nominated

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
Road to Perdition
Road to Perdition 2: On The Road
The Romantic Times Awards nominees have been announced, and I’m pleased to report that BYE BYE, BABY is among the nominees for Best Historical Mystery, as seen here.

My radio play version of REINCARNAL is available for a limited time FREE at Fangoria’s website. Producer Carl Amari did a great job on this! So much so that I’ve written a screenplay based on the original story and the radio play.

RETURN TO PERDITION continues to get some very nice attention, in particular a USA TODAY article that got picked up all over the Net.

Among the mostly favorable reviews, my pal Bill Crider – a terrific mystery writer (and blogger) – gave one of the most insightful.

The LA Times even picked RETURN and the two new reprints of the early ROAD graphic novels for their comics-oriented gift book section.

Barb and I continue to listen to the new Nate Heller audios as read by Dan John Miller. Audio File Magazine agrees with me that he makes a great Heller. Check out this review.

A guy named Ed who is not Gorman has nice things to say about THE CONSUMMATA.

And I did a lengthy phone interview with Bryan Young that he split up in a couple of places, first at Big Shiny Robot and more at his own site. This is a warts-and-all transcription, and not the smoothest of reads, but we get into some interesting topics.

Finally, happy Thanksgiving to all of you. There have been some tough losses this year (Chuck and Mike in particular) but I remain thankful for my great wife and son, and those of you kind enough to read my books. You provide the feast.


On The Road With Vanilla Fudge

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
Return to Perdition

The final (chronological) entry in the ROAD TO PERDITION saga, RETURN TO PERDITION, is available now. So are handsome new editions of ROAD TO PERDITION and ROAD TO PERDITION 2: ON THE ROAD.

I’m very pleased with how RETURN TO PERDITION has come out, and my longtime MS. TREE collaborator Terry Beatty has done a great job capturing a ‘70s feel for the final blood-and-sex-drenched chapter in the O’Sullivan saga.

Response so far has been great. Publisher’s Weekly gave us a fine review and so did Ain’t It Cool News.

Craig Clarke has nice, smart things to say, too.

And we’re turning up at various comics (and other pop culture) sites with write-ups like this one at Criminal Complex, this one at Bloody Disgusting, and IGN, too.

THE CONSUMMATA continues to get strong reviews, like this one.

And that talented writer Mike Dennis likes QUARRY’S EX.

The Simon and Kirby CRIME collection I wrote the intro to is getting some attention, as well.

CHICAGO LIGHTNING, the new Heller collection, got a great write-up here, though what I have to do with “faith fiction” is a mystery to me.

And BYE BYE, BABY rates a smug dismissal from a guy at Huffington Post, who spends a lot of time on a book he feels superior to. He starts out saying he can’t understand why anybody would still be interested in Marilyn Monroe, qualifying as an idiot right out of the gate. He claims I don’t give a solution to the mystery of Marilyn’s death, which of course I do, and says my writing – like the sex scenes in my book – are “gratuitous and mechanical.” Okay, well, unless you’re making babies, all sex is gratuitous, and let’s have more of it, sez I. It’s also by definition mechanical, as in INSERT A into B – STIR. He appears to have listened to the audio, not actually the book, and I include this here mostly because he’s smart enough to acknowledge what a great job Dan John Miller is doing reading the new Heller audios.

Vanilla Fudge
Vanilla Fudge on stage at Vipers Alley.

Last Thursday, Barb and I went to a place called Viper’s Alley in Lincolnshire, Illinois (Chicago area) to see my favorite American band from the Sixties, Vanilla Fudge. These guys were incredibly influential, really the fathers of Metal, but what I loved were the over-the-top, melodramatic symphonies they conjured out of songs like “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” “Shotgun,” “Some Velvet Morning,” and “She’s Not There.” B-3 organist and lead singer Mark Stein was my musical idol back in the day (really, still is), and had an enormous influence on both my singing and keyboard playing.

Vanilla Fudge
Chatting with legendary guitarist Vince Martell.

The Fudge was only together for a few years, and around ‘68-‘69, I missed several opportunities to see them at the Col Ballroom in Davenport because my own band had a conflicting gig. In recent years, the Fudge have begun to appear (and occasionally record) again, at first without Stein, but more recently with him. Great bassist Tim Bogert has stepped down from touring (health problems, I believe) but the other three – Stein, guitarist Vince Martell, and drummer Carmen Appice – are still appearing with a strong fill-in bassist, who does Bogert’s distinctive parts perfectly.

Vanilla Fudge
Chatting with one of rock’s great drummers, Carmen Appice.

Anyway, they were fantastic. The venue was intimate for this kind of thing, and the band was very unpretentious for as wonderfully bombastic as their playing is. They did their entire first album, which has recently gone platinum (“Took long enough,” Stein said) and then selectively material from later albums like “Season of the Witch” from the classic Renaissance and “Dazed and Confused” from their recent Led Zeppelin tribute album (Zeppelin first toured opening for the Fudge). Appice, as rock fans out there know, is one of the three or four greatest drummers in the history of rock, and did an amazing drum solo. And yes, they did all the high harmonies, awash in Stein’s B-3 organ with its Leslie speakers distorting just enough.

Vanilla Fudge
With Mark Stein, the lead singer and keyboard of Vanilla Fudge.

Afterward, I was able to meet the band members and get CD’s autographed. They were gracious and very down-to-earth.

I didn’t get to see Bobby Darin live, or the Beatles, but the other group on that very short list has been finally checked off (I’ve already seen Weezer…twice).