Posts Tagged ‘The First Quarry’

Supreme Satisfaction

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
Clemens/Collins

Matt Clemens and Max Collins, in younger days….

Today I sent out the manuscript of SUPREME JUSTICE to my editor at Thomas & Mercer. It always feels a little odd to e-mail a manuscript after so many years of spending a work day running off copies for the editor, my agent and often my researchers, then wrapping packages and running to the post office or Fed Ex, trying to get there before closing. But done is done, and I’m glad to have that project under my belt.

The writing went very well. The idea was one I’d put together as a proposal probably five years ago, but never sent it around because my plate was too full – it’s an ambitious subject having to do with the Supreme Court. A while back I brought Matt Clemens on board, and together we fleshed the proposal out into a more complete document. SUPREME JUSTICE is now the second novel of a two-book contract for Thomas & Mercer (WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER being the first).

Matt did virtually all of the research, and he and I broke the story down into chapters over one of our typical lunch meetings. His story treatment is essentially a short rough draft and he did a really fine job. The book took longer than it should have because my work got interrupted by several trips, most recently Bouchercon. I hate to travel in the midst of writing – it screws up my momentum terribly.

In some respects, the novel is a departure for me. It probably most resembles the CSI novels that I did with Matt, and our two J.C. Harrow novels for Kensington. But the political subject matter and backdrop is new – well, it is cut out of somewhat the same cloth as my movie tie-ins, AIR FORCE ONE and IN THE LINE OF FIRE – and the book has a very dialogue-driven, fast-paced manner. I don’t want to say anything about the plot, because it’s very much a high concept and I’d just as soon not have somebody “borrow” it.

I will be anxious to see how my editor and agent respond to the book. From this vantage point, SUPREME JUSTICE feels very good. Of course, as the old saying goes, so does your head when you stop beating it against the wall….

ASK NOT is attracting some nice reviews, like this one in the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

This is a rare positive Kirkus review for my work, but it’s odd. Really strange. Check it out and see for yourself.

Book Reporter provides an ASK NOT write-up (but not review) here.

Scroll down at Awards Circuit and find a brief but really nice TARGET LANCER review.

And here’s another of those odd but positive Alpha 60 reviews of various Quarry novels, this time THE FIRST QUARRY.

M.A.C.

Quarry on Cinemax

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

The QUARRY pilot, recently green-lit by HBO/Cinemax, has been cooking for about a year. I was never involved as a writer, but Graham Gordy and Michael D. Fuller, the two writers who wrote the pilot – and are developing a first-season story arc – began by spending two hours on the phone with me. I was hugely impressed not only by their intelligence and creativity, but by their excellent taste – they love the QUARRY books. Their familiarity with the material, and the way they “got” it, made me feel I was in good hands. They asked all the right questions.

I have been promised two scripts per season, if the pilot is picked up. I’ve read and given notes on the pilot script, and I’m very happy – the writers solved problems that I knew they would face, and did so in ways that hadn’t occurred to me. I was thrilled (though surprised) to find out that the series would be set in “period” – that is, the early seventies. As I’ve said elsewhere, you know you’ve been around a while when something that was contemporary when you wrote it is presented as a period piece by filmmakers.

QUARRY (and that was my original title for the novel, not THE BROKER) was begun at the University of Iowa in 1971. It did not get a particularly warm reception in Workshop (the instructor, William Price Fox, was dismissive, but then that was typical) though two or three in the class thought it was great. I completed it after graduation, in 1972, after selling BAIT MONEY and NO CURE FOR DEATH. It took three or four years for QUARRY to sell, and I’d almost given up on it. When it sold, I immediately got a contract to write three more.

At the time, I thought it was the most original thing I’d done. It took a step past the Richard Stark “Parker” books that had so influenced “Nolan,” by challenging the reader with a killer (not a thief) in a first-person (not “safe” third-person) narrative. I still think Quarry is one of my two major contributions to the mystery genre, the other being Nathan Heller (and the combination of history and noir). I would put the PERDITION saga in next position, and MS. TREE right after that.

I am very hopeful that QUARRY will become a series, and a really good one – it can be done (see JUSTIFIED). I know that both HBO and its sister Cinemax wanted to do it – that Cinemax, because it’s in the midst of a major re-branding with an action/adventure slant, wound up with it. If the casting goes well (one of the key aspects), QUARRY should be in good shape. They have a terrific director (John Hillcoat) lined up, and the producers are also top-notch. I will probably have some kind of producing capacity myself, which will be essentially creative consulting. That’s still being negotiated.

The news was all over the Net last week, and you can read the first story that came out right here.

I will not post every re-hash of that information, but here’s a typical example.

And I was happy to see Jeff Pierce include the news at the Rap Sheet.

I’ve done only one interview on the subject, for a local paper, the Quad City Times, written by David Burke (who was on the ROAD TO PERDITION junket!).

* * *

I am working on ANTIQUES A GO GO. Barb gave me a great first-draft, very funny with great NYC color (it’s set at a comics con in Manhattan). I’m having a blast.

We went to two entertaining movies this weekend: a really strong 3D conversion of JURASSIC PARK, which actually improves the movie, and a respectful re-boot of THE EVIL DEAD. The latter is not really a comedy, despite what some reviews say, and harkens more to the first grim EVIL DEAD than the overtly comic EVIL DEAD 2 and ARMY OF DARKNESS. If you are an EVIL DEAD fan, as Barb and Nate and I are, you will want to sit through the credits for a nice surprise.

I have a couple more links to share, starting with this nice inclusion of DEADLY BELOVED and THE FIRST QUARRY on a Hard Case Crime “essentials” list.

And the reprint of KILL YOUR DARLINGS has elicited this nice review.

M.A.C.

Morgan The Raider #2: 44 Years In The Making!

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

I have just completed THE CONSUMMATA, the Morgan the Raider novel of Mickey’s that I finished for Hard Case Crime. It just went out via e-mail to editor Charles Ardai a few hours ago. I’m very pleased with it, but it was a tricky one. Mickey had completed 108 double-spaced pages, but this time I had no plot or character notes. Even the evocative title itself (which had been announced by Signet Books many years ago) went unexplained. It required really getting inside the manuscript, and Mickey’s head, to figure out where he was headed…and I think I pulled it off.

So finally, the sequel to THE DELTA FACTOR, the second Morgan the Raider novel (Signet Books announced modern-day pirate Morgan as Mickey’s new series character with great fanfare), will appear…with Mickey’s fans only having to wait 44 years.

My technique I’m sure would dismay purists. I expanded and revised Mickey’s hundred-plus pages, weaving my own scenes and thoughts and style in and around his, so that his material appears deep into the book, nine of its thirteen chapters. (I created no new characters, however, and my plot strictly flows out of things he put in motion.) I get a lot of praise (much appreciated) for the seamlessness of these collaborations, but it’s because I treat them as collaborations – and don’t just “pick up where Mickey left off” that they are able to achieve what they do.

This is going to be an extremely big year for me, at least in terms of how much stuff will be out there. I will do a post on that subject either next week or soon thereafter.

The First Quarry Audiobook
The First Quarry Audiobook

One thing that is out right now is the audio book of THE FIRST QUARRY. I haven’t heard this yet, but it’s the same reader (Curt Palmer) who did THE LAST QUARRY, and he’s excellent. This company, Speaking Volumes, will be doing more Quarrys – all the Hard Case titles and perhaps the early books, as well. It’s only $19.95, very reasonable for an audio book.

Vince Keenan considers THE BIG BANG one of the best books of the year. Hey, Vince – me, too!

The Sons of Spade website went even farther, calling THE BIG BANG the best P.I. book of the year.

This is very gratifying, and we showed up a few other places, too, but mostly were overlooked. This is the first year in a while that Bookgasm hasn’t listed me on the best books of the year. As I have made clear here before, I despise these lists, and give them absolutely no credence…unless I am on them.

There’s a lovely post about THE GOLIATH BONE, which posits a movie version and presents a dream cast. Very much worth checking out, plus I posted a comment you may find of interest.

There is a very interesting piece about the BATMAN character Two-Face and the similar Haf-and-Haf character in DICK TRACY, discussing my work on the latter and referencing my BATMAN work in general. I provided several comments and you may find the back-and-forth interesting.

Finally, the contest remains open for anyone who can identity my two sections of the Top Suspense Group “Round Robin” short story (see below for details). So for nobody has won. Well, almost nobody…my son Nathan pegged ‘em. Nice going, Nate! Too bad you don’t need any M.A.C. books….

M.A.C.

Top Suspense Mini-Contest

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

As part of the Top Suspense Group, I participated in a Round Robin short story that has recently been completed. I wrote two of the twelve segments, though authors are not identified, and in fact Top Suspense is running a contest for readers who can figure out who wrote what. Check out the contest rules and the story right here.

I think it’s going to be tough for anybody to figure out all six contributing authors, so I’m going to offer free books to the first four followers of my updates who i.d. my two mini-chapters. Write me at macphilms@hotmail.com – don’t post your entry here! I will have free books for the winners. Though Top Suspense is designed to promote e-books, these prizes will be “real” books. I haven’t picked anything out and will probably give the winners a choice between a number of things.

My friend Ed Gorman, who is also part of the Top Suspense Group, has always been a big supporter of my Quarry character. The first time we spoke, on the phone, back in the ‘80s, was about his love for those books. Since Ed is one of the very best writers in the genre, this has always meant a lot. He was kind enough recently to showcase the new Perfect Crime trade paperback reprints of the first five Quarry novels at his terrific blog.

And, oddly, a review of the forthcoming KISS HER GOODBYE has turned up on the web, and gotten fairly wide coverage. Since this book doesn’t come out till May, it’s a tad early, but it’s a near rave review, so…okay.

I am working right now on THE CONSUMMATA for Hard Case Crime. This is the long-awaited sequel to THE DELTA FACTOR, the second Morgan the Raider novel. It’s going very well, and since DELTA FACTOR was always one of my favorites among the 1960s non-Hammer Spillanes, a great deal of fun for me. Who or what is the Consummata? More later….

I wish everyone a great Christmas and happy holidays. For the record, here are the only Christmas movies worth watching (not including the original I, THE JURY):

1. Miracle on 34th Street (original)
2. Scrooge (with Alistair Sim)
3. It’s a Wonderful Life
4. A Christmas Story
5. Christmas Vacation

In that order. Accept no substitutes.

M.A.C.