Posts Tagged ‘The Last Lullaby’

Getting A Big Bang Out Of Quarry

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Big BangThe Big Bang UK edition

Some nice stuff popped up on the M.A.C. front this week on the web.

We’ve had lots of really great reviews for THE BIG BANG, but this one from top UK critic Mike Carlson, who really knows his stuff, is probably my favorite. Mike was not a big fan of THE GOLIATH BONE, so getting this rave from him means a great deal.

Jedidiah Ayres has been reading the new Perfect Crime reprints of the first five QUARRY novels (available on line at Amazon and Barnes & Noble), and he’s talked about them several places. Check out his Barnes and Noble column, and this blog entry.

I am getting great comments from readers about these new QUARRY reprints – everybody seems to find them really handsome books and Terry Beatty’s covers are getting a terrific response. Even if you have the other editions on your shelf, you’ll find these worthwhile. Plus, my new intros are worth the price of admission! Well, not really, but you’ll probably enjoy them….

Jeffrey Goodman, director of the Quarry-based film THE LAST LULLABY, showcased the new Quarry reprints on his blog.

Another of those lists of “great movies that you didn’t know came from comic books” popped up, and had this nice write-up about ROAD TO PERDITION. We seem to be number one on the list.

And THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER: VOLUME TWO, THE LITTLE DEATH, has been named one of the best audio books of the year by AudioFile Magazine (in the “Full Cast” category).

Over at the Top Suspense Group web site, we are starting a publication of a round robin story (two 250-word installments each), featuring me, Vicki Hendricks, Ed Gorman, Bill Crider, Harry Shannon and Dave Zeltserman. Check it out.


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 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.


Con Fusion

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Saner heads have prevailed, and I will not be trying to attend two panels simultaneously. I’m getting a little long in the tooth to do my Basil Fawlty impression.

So I will be reluctantly forgo the Vertigo Panel (though editor Will Dennis promises to give RETURN TO PERDITION a boost), and concentrate on the Scribes/Tie-in Panel. Here’s a reminder:

Friday, July 23:

5:00-6:30 Scribe Awards/Media Tie-in Writers Panel— Presenting the fourth annual International Association of Media-Tie-in Writers (IAMTW) “Scribe” awards, honoring such notable franchises as CSI, Criminal Minds, The X-Files, Star Trek, Stargate, Star Wars, and Dr. Who. Nominees on hand include Alina Adams (As the World Turns), Max Allan Collins (G.I. Joe), Keith R. A. DeCandido (Star Trek), Stacia Deutsch (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), Jeff Mariotte (CSI), Nathan Long (Warhammer), and Dayton Ward (Star Trek). With moderator Collins and awards presenter Lee Goldberg (Monk). Room 4

IMPORTANT NOTE: There is no autograph session scheduled after the panel. And, throughout the con, I have no autograph sessions set either in the autographing area or at a booth. But there is no panel following the Scribe Awards one, and the panelists listed above – including yours truly – will hang around to sign books you’ve brought. Before the panel, you can buy books by the panelists at Mysterious Galaxy’s booth and elsewhere in the dealer’s hall. Right after the panel, in Room 4 itself – or in the hallway, if we get chased out by officious pratts – all of us will be signing any books and other stuff you haul along.

And I’ve had another panel appearance added (you may not find it in the official con listing – I seem to be among “others” on the panel):

Thursday, July 22:

4:00-5:00 From Screen to Comics— An in-depth look at what it takes to turn big screen action into 32 pages. Join talent creators from across the spectrum, including Max Brooks, Nancy Collins, Peter David, Tony Lee David Tischman, Mike Johnson, Max Allan Collins, and Scott Tipton as they look behind the scenes at some of the biggest properties to come to comics, like True Blood, Doctor Who, The A-Team, TRANSFORMERS, and Star Trek! Room 9

The Iowa City Book Festival was great fun. What a privilege to do a panel with Nick Meyer, one of my heroes (and a fellow University of Iowa grad) and the gifted director/writer who mistakenly confused Iowa and heaven, Phil Alden Robinson. Great guys – funny, knowledgeable, and very nice. I felt very much honored to be in their presence.

The screening of THE LAST LULLABY at the Bijou Theater on Sunday afternoon at the U of Iowa student union was well-attended, and the audience seemed to really like the film. We had a spirited question-and-answer session. Among those attending were such friends and fans as Stephen Borer from Minneapolis, Brad Schwartz from Ann Arbor, and Charlie Koenigsacker from Iowa City. I hadn’t seen the film for maybe six months, and viewing a nice 35mm print was a treat. Jeffrey Goodman reports around a dozen foreign sales for LULLABY – not in the USA yet, though you can still get a copy of the limited edition “screener” DVD at

Speaking of our favorite hitman, two really great advance reviews of QUARRY’S EX have turned up on the net.

Bill Crider loves Quarry almost as much as I love Bill Crider.

And Craig Clarke has made up for not caring for YOU CAN’T STOP ME with a rave review at his excellent SOMEBODY DIES site.

And I gave two interviews that have turned up at two other first-rate sites.

Jeff Pierce of RAP SHEET fame (at his KILLER COVERS site) does a nice write-up (intended for MYSTERY SCENE) on classic gals-and-gats paperback covers, with interview stuff from me, Norman Saunders’ son and somebody called Charles Ardai.

And John Kenyon (also an attendee at the LULLABY screening on Sunday) has posted his recent interview with me at his THINGS I’D RATHER BE DOING site.

See you at the con! Check in here daily starting Thursday morning for brief con updates.


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).