Posts Tagged ‘The First Quarry’

Quarry’s Vote!

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

If you’re attending Bouchercon in San Francisky this coming weekend, you won’t see me there. Barb and I just had too much work and other conflicts to swing it. But if you’re a Bouchercon member, you can still say hi to me by voting for QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE as Best Paperback in the Anthony awards. The book is also up for a Barry.

QuarrySpeaking of Quarry, later this month Perfect Crime will begin its trade paperback reprint series of the first five Quarry novels (PRIMARY TARGET has been renamed QUARRY’S VOTE for consistency sake). We will preview the wonderful new covers by Terry Beatty one-a-week here on my weekly updates. This week, of course, it’s the real first Quarry, QUARRY, as opposed to the other first Quarry, THE FIRST QUARRY. Got that?

A nice write-up on THE LAST LULLABY unfortunately reminds me that we don’t seem to have a distribution deal yet for that good movie. If haven’t already, go ahead and order the DVD from www.thelastlullaby.com. It’s a nice DVD, bare bones but a very solid transfer.

Over on the Violent World of Parker site, they’ve taken notice of the Ennis Willie SAND collection, but they mistakenly call Sand a Parker imitation when the two series were concurrent. I straighten ‘em out in comments below the write-up.

People seem to enjoy hearing what I like and don’t like of current stuff, so I’ll say that Barb and I are really digging Little Steven’s Underground Garage on XM – I hope to hear “Psychedelic Siren” there at some point! We are also loving Kim Wilde’s new CD, COME OUT AND PLAY, which is a German release although I got mine through Amazon UK – she is probably my favorite ‘80s recording artist, and I believe Barb agrees with that assessment, disco vibe but a genuine rocker (her father is Marty Wilde, Brit teen idol who back in the day covered Bobby Darin’s rock hits). Some artists lose their enthusiasm and start to sound, well…old. The ever-beautiful Kim’s pipes sound better than ever, and the songs (some written with her brother Ricky Wilde) are top-notch.

We are also really, really enjoying the ELLERY QUEEN boxed set with Jim Hutton and David Wayne, and scads of guests stars. It’s somehow incredibly cool that Jim Hutton did Queen and his gifted son Tim did Archie Goodwin…I would not want to have to say who is the better actor, and QUEEN and NERO WOLFE as TV shows are about a dead heat (okay, I’d give the nod to WOLFE but these mid-1970s QUEEN episodes, with their 1947 setting, are wonderful).

On the other hand, we walked out of SECRETARIAT, in part because the kids running the Muscatine Mall theater couldn’t figure out how to get it in focus. It’s the heartwarming story of a rich Republican woman who abandons her family to race horses (which she inherits, getting even richer). You see, she has to take over from her father (Scott Glenn) who has a disease, the chief symptom of which is sitting in the dark with a bad haircut. You will be shocked to learn that this Disney masterpiece includes a shamelessly hammy performance from the normally so very restrained John Malkovich…he wears funny hats and plaid shorts…and (surprise, surprise, as Gomer Pyle used to say) there’s also a comic-relief fat lady.

M.A.C.

Second Chances

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

When I was a teenager in the thrall of Mickey Spillane and Mike Hammer, I spent many hours searching (mostly in used bookstores) for Spillane imitators who might satisfy my thirst. Few came anywhere near. One, however, hit the ball out of the park, and he worked for a small outfit in Chicago with the books packaged like softcore porn. Even then the books were hard to find. Now they are impossible.

Sand's Game
Ennis Willie’s novels – particularly the ones about ex-mobster Sand, on the run from his former bosses – were an enormous influence on my development as a writer. I encountered Sand before the similar mono-named Parker, and my character Nolan derives as much from the former as the latter. Willie, though a shameless Spillane imitator, did not write in the first-person and did not write about P.I.s – which gave him his own unique voice and place. He wrote a handful of books in the mid ‘60s wrapping up by the end of the decade, then disappearing. Guys like Steve Mertz, Lynn Myers and Ed Gorman and I tried to track him down, wondering if “Ennis Willie” was a penname or maybe a black writer (there was an African American poet named Willie Ennis).

Willie was one of my heroes, right in there with Spillane and Richard Stark, and the other day something happened so surrealistic, it rivaled my meeting Mickey. A collection of Sand novels and stories, signed to me by Ennis Willie, arrived in the mail. Knocked me out.

Okay, it wasn’t a surprise. I was involved in the collection, though the editors were Mertz and Myers; I did an introduction. Willie, thanks to the internet, had turned up, somehow getting wind of the many discussions (decades worth!) on the subject of who-the-hell-he-was. He wrote Gorman saying, “Well, I’m him. Ennie Willie.” And included his driver’s license photo!

Anyway, the book from Ramble House is getting some attention. You can order it here in various editions. If you like Mickey Spillane, Richard Stark and/or M.A.C., you will not be sorry.

And Bill Crider wrote about it here.

One of my characters, influenced by Willie’s Sand, is a guy called Quarry. My pal Leonard Maltin did a terrific, high-profile write-up on THE FIRST QUARRY that just blew me away. Check it out.

I’ll be appearing at the Iowa City Book Festival on Saturday July 17 with Nicholas Meyer. I was told they’ll be screening THE LAST LULLABY, but I don’t see it on the schedule yet. At any rate, I am anxious to meet Nick Meyer, who was a student at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop a few years ahead of me; he’s a writer and filmmaker I admire very much.

The fun funky site Davy Crockett’s Alamack posted a nice piece on the first of the two volumes of MIKE HAMMER comic strips I edited back in the ‘80s. I’m hoping we can get a single volume collection out there one of these days (though I am still missing one Sunday).

Second City Class of '79 Reunion
Jim Belushi, Mary Gross, Tim Kazurinksy at Second City 1978.

Barb and I spent several days in Chicago (over her birthday, which is June 18), kicking it off by seeing the Class of ‘79 Reunion benefit show at Second City on June 17. That we were able to get tickets to this big-deal event was thanks to my pal Tim Kazurinsky. Appearing with the always hilarious Tim were Nancy McCabe-Kelly, Bruce Jarchow, Danny Breen, Bernadette Birkett and (at the piano) the legendary Fred Kaz. Oh, and some guy named George Wendt.

This is the Second City company that Barb and I followed religiously in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Among other talents from that era (not in attendance) were my friend Larry Coven (who appears in MOMMY’S DAY and REAL TIME: SIEGE AT LUCAS STREET MARKET), Mary Gross, Lance Kinsey, and Jim Belushi (whose son Robert was a guest star at the reunion show, a talented, charismatic addition to that famous clan). Breen and Jarchow are particular favorites of mine (and reminded me why with their genius turns), and they were very nice chatting with us afterward. Also – and this is a big deal to Barb and me – we got to meet and talk with Bernie Sahlins, one of the founders of both Second City and SCTV.

Here’s a nice write-up about the show.

Barb said it was a pretty good birthday. Pretty, pretty good (as Larry David would say).

M.A.C.

 

100,000 Served!

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Here at FOMAC (which does not stand for F**cking Old Max Allan Collins) we are celebrating. We are over 100,000 visitors to our humble site. Thank you to the Friends/Family/Fans of M.A.C.

QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE has been nominated for a Best Paperback Novel “Anthony,” which will be presented at Bouchercon in September.

It’s unlikely Barb and I will be attending the con, so the odds of winning this one are long indeed. Voting is done by attendees at the con, and writers who aren’t in attendance don’t often win. It’s a popularity contest, but then so is the writing game in general.

But this is a very nice honor. THE FIRST QUARRY was nominated last time. Keep in mind I’ve only had five Anthony nominations in my entire career (George Hagenauer and I won for MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES). So I’m very grateful, particularly to those of you who voted for the book in the preliminary round.

Last Quarry Audiobook

Speaking of Quarry, there is an excellent, reasonably priced audio book of THE LAST QUARRY from Speaking Volumes Audio, nicely read by actor Curt Palmer. You can buy it at Amazon or other of the usual suspects, or at Speaking Volumes’ own website.

There are more Quarry audios on the way from Speaking Volumes, including the early out-of-print books. I hope Curt Palmer is asked to read those, as well, because he does a nice, understated job. According to Curt’s site, he is going to do THE FIRST QUARRY and at least one more.

Also, Stacy Keach’s reading of THE BIG BANG is out from Blackstone Audio, and Barb and I are listening to it in the car now – another terrific job from everybody’s favorite Mike Hammer actor. Again, you can get it from various online sources, including directly from Blackstone Audio. But Amazon seems to have the best price.

Back to Quarry, I received a handful of bound galleys from Hard Case Crime. If you are an internet reviewer, and aren’t regularly receiving Hard Case Crime reading copies, write me at macphilms@hotmail.com, and I’ll send you a copy (until my supply is gone).

I am working on the JFK Heller – still researching/plotting. I am considering titles for the book, and would love to get your opinions.

Among current candidates:

IDES OF TEXAS
SMOKING GUNS (or SMOKING GUN)
SHADOWS IN SUNSHINE
LONE GUNMAN
MAGIC BULLET

Thoughts?

M.A.C.

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
$25.00

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.

MAC
http://twitpic.com/1cowb7

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.

M.A.C.