Posts Tagged ‘The New Adventures of Mike Hammer’

Hammer Sounds

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Quarry's VoteThis is going to be a brief update this week, because Nate has a busy week in Japan.

This week’s cover from Perfect Crime’s reprint series of the first five Quarry novels is QUARRY’S VOTE. The original title of this one is PRIMARY TARGET, a title I like and actually prefer; but we needed to make the patterning of the titles consistent, and especially with the new Hard Case series entries, Quarry seems to have found his way into the titles.

I recently heard the final mix of THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER Vol. 3: ENCORE FOR MURDER, and could not be more pleased. Stacy Keach, Mike Cornelison and Tim Kazurinsky (among other talented thesps) (I don’t think I ever typed “thesps” before) did great work. The audio stuff – both Carl Amari’s radio-style dramas and the readings of the new Spillane/Collins novels by Stacy Keach – are attracting some attention and awards. Here’s a nice write-up on Mike Hammer as one of the classic tough guys available on audio. And here’s a link to a brief, fun interview with Stacy on the same subject.

We will very soon have the new CRUSIN’ CD available, probably right after Nate gets back from Japan. Because it’s a promotional item, I can’t sell it, but I am reserving around 50 of the 200 run to give away as free bonus items with the sale of another, related item. I’ll be more clear about that later….


Better Late Than…

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

A terrific QUARRY’S EX review came in from Daniel Luft – very insightful and a real pleasure to read. Too bad the book didn’t come out last month as promised. On the other hand, and I can say no more, it looks like EX really will be out some time next year…possibly a year late, but…

Mystery File shared two Top 100 Lists by top-notch fan/critics, dating to 1993. I don’t remember this – maybe never saw it – but both lists have Nate Heller novels on ‘em. As you know, I despise such lists…unless I am included. In which case their validity is unquestionable.

I do wonder, when I see such lists, just how much tastes-of-the-moment are in play. In 1993, STOLEN AWAY was getting a lot of attention, rave reviews, a Shamus nod, etc. There hasn’t been a Heller since 2001, so I wonder how many lists today would fail to include one of those novels. We’ll see if BYE BYE, BABY gets Heller back on the radar.

Blood Money NEL EditionThere’s a very interesting look from a UK site about the first two Nolan novels and how they were published with very cool Dali-esque covers over there. If you’ve never seen these covers, it’s worth a trip (to the site, not the UK) (but I’m always up for a UK trip). I left a couple of comments that you may find of interest.

Barb and I listened to a rough cut of the new Mike Hammer audio novel (THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER VOL. 3: ENCORE FOR MURDER) in the car on a Chicago getaway this weekend. Producer/director Carl Amari did a great job, with Stacy Keach just batting that ball out of the park as his signature character. But the rest of the cast is terrific, too – with Mike Cornelison as Pat Chambers (in my opinion, the best Chambers ever), Tim Kazurinsky as a Broadway producer, and all kinds of Chicago talent. This will be out next March. By the way, I play a role in ENCORE FOR MURDER – a small but significant one – and I got the best review possible from Barb: she didn’t realize it was me! This either shows that I did an incredible acting job, or that I don’t make much of an impression, even when you live with me for 40 years.

Also on the trip, we listened to the second pass on the new Crusin CD – CRUSIN’ LIVE – ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HAPPENED – and after just one tiny tweak, we’ll be ready to press the suckers. I’m doing about 100 copies for promo purposes, and a limited edition available here at the site – these will probably be given away “free” when you purchase another item (TBD). This is not a national release because it’s designed to show potential clients what the band sounds like, and includes covers of material that we can’t afford to license. We may be able to offer downloads of the original songs from the album (there are seven, including a blistering “Psychedelic Siren,” first live recording of that we’ve ever issued).

While in the Chicago area, I saw Nate’s book SUMMER, FIREWORKS & MY CORPSE in the science-fiction/fantasy section of Borders! He has arrived!

I would like to mention two of my favorite writers, briefly. First, Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay for the Facebook film THE SOCIAL NETWORK is a stunner – beautifully constructed and the dialogue crackles. Don’t miss this film.

Second, we lost Stephen Cannell last week. He did a lot of TV in recent years that I didn’t care about (starting around A-TEAM time), and I have never been able to get into his novels. But he remains one of my handful of favorite TV writers (Sorkin being another). He gave us ROCKFORD FILES, TENSPEED AND BROWNSHOE, THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO (Mike Cornelison had a recurring role!), and RICHIE BROCKELMAN, PRIVATE EYE. Most important to me, he and Roy Huggins (my other favorite TV writer) came up with CITY OF ANGELS. That’s my favorite private eye show of all time, and I owe Cannell, Huggins and actor Wayne Rogers a huge debt – Nate Heller is their bastard offspring. I never met Cannell, but not long ago I sent him a foreign movie poster of a film version of the three-part ANGELS pilot, “The November Plan,” asking that he signed it. He did, and I will treasure it.


Encore For Murder

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

MAC and Stacy Keach @ Encore For Murder recording
M.A.C. and Stacy Keach at the recording of “Encore For Murder”

On Sunday May 30, I had the pleasure of working with a highly professional group who assembled to bring my Mike Hammer script “Encore for Murder” to life. Under the leadership of producer/director Carl Amari, this second “audio novel” for the Blackstone Audio series THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER again stars Stacy Keach in his signature role as Mickey Spillane’s famous private eye.

“Encore for Murder” will be volume three in the series. The first volume comprised two shorter Hammer cases (not written by me). The second, “The Little Death,” was the first conceived as an audio novel, and was my first contribution to the series, based on a short story by Mickey. This third volume is another long-form play in the classic radio format – full-cast – and is an original Hammer novel developed by me from a one-page outline in Mickey’s files. It will likely run nearly three hours.

The experience was about as creatively satisfying as they come. The studio was intimate, very warm and conducive to collaboration. The cast was smaller than the one for “The Little Death,” and that turned out to be a plus. The way the studio is set up, the sound techs, the creative team (director and writer), and the actors waiting for their turn at the mic, all sit in a lounge-like area facing the glassed-in soundproofed recording booth. Last time, the actors were kept in a sort of green room/holding area, and brought one-at-a-time-as-needed into a small, modern studio – very efficient and professional, but lacking the warmth and interactivity of this set-up.

I don’t have a cast list handy, but what a talented group they were, with several impressive names – in addition to Stacy, we had my frequent actor-of-choice Mike Cornelison as Pat Chambers, with Second City/SNL legend Tim Kazurinsky helming the major “guest star” role and popular comedian/actor David Pasquesi as the key bad guy. David appeared at the Second City reunion with his pal Jeff Garlin (and Fred Willard). Pasquesi plays a young mob boss and was incredible – both funny and scary. But the entire cast delivered and then some.

I had specifically requested Tim and David, and Carl Amari delivered them – and on a holiday weekend yet!

It’s almost impossible to overstate Stacy Keach’s contribution. We worked a very, very long day – Stacy was at the mic from 10 a.m. till almost 7 p.m. with only a couple of breaks. It was inspiring and damn near unbelievable. What a great actor, and really incredibly nice man. As Mike Cornelison said, “Stacy is who would all want to be when we grow up.”

There’s still lots of work to be done – Stacy has the voiceovers to record (and that’s about one-third of the script), which he’ll do back in LA. Stacy is also composing the music, and has delivered something like 10 CD’s of original music and isn’t done yet. There’s lots of editing to do, sound effects to add, and so on. THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIKE HAMMER Vol. 3: ENCORE FOR MURDER should be out before Christmas.

I am very proud of “The Little Death,” but I have feeling “Encore for Murder” is going to raise the bar much higher. I’m very grateful to the players for being so complimentary about my screenplay. Stacy said I’d provided him with the best Hammer voiceover he’d ever got. That’s the kind of compliment a writer dreams of.

These are great people. I came away feeling like we’d shot an entire movie in a day, and with the same warmth and camaraderie that usually only accompanies the long time put in on a film.

I have a couple of pictures to share. Unfortunately I can’t label the cast pic of “Encore for Murder” person by person (I’m the guy Cornelison is trying hard to block).

Encore For Murder Cast

By the way, Barbara Jane Mull married Max Allan Collins, Jr., on June 1, 1968. Why she did that, I’ll never know…but it’s the one thing in my life I really got right.