Posts Tagged ‘True Detective’

Titanic Update

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

This week’s update will largely be devoted to another round of Bouchercon photos (courtesy of our Kensington editor Michaela Hamilton’s friend Eugene George) and some very nice links to reviews and articles.

Cinematic Titanic Farewell Tour

I’ll just briefly say that Barb and I spent a great weekend in St. Louis with Nate and Abby, taking in Cinematic Titanic whose live show was part of its “Bon Voyage” tour. The cast “riffed” a wonderfully terrible ‘70s movie called INVISIBLE STRANGLER in which such pros as Stephanie Powers and Elke Sommer are crushed by terrible direction and miserable dialogue, blissfully unaware of the outlandishly bad special effects with which they would share the screen. We are all huge fans of the two spin-off groups from MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 (the other being, of course, Riff Trax). Titanic, after half a dozen years, numerous live shows and a dozen DVD releases, is going on “indefinite hiatus.” There was a definite valedictory feel to the evening, with Joel Hodgson sharing a slide show that revealed new information about the influences and beginnings of MST3000 (3000 is not a year, for example, but a model number). We briefly met Joel, Frank Conniff, Mary Jo Pehl, Trace Beaulieu and Dave “Gruber” Allen, who was filling in for an ailing J. Elvis Weinstein. (Gruber played Counselor Rosso on FREAKS & GEEKS! Trace and Joel appeared on the show, and the absent Weinstein was a writer/producer on that great series.) Like the Riff Trax boys, the Cinematic Titanic cast is gracious, warm and witty when dealing with their many fans.

Bouchercon 2013
Max Allan Collins on panel

Bouchercon 2013
Matthew Clemens and Barbara Collins signing

Bouchercon 2013
Barbara and Max signing

Bouchercon 2013
Barbara on panel

* * *

I’m thrilled to share with you this stunning rave review from Bookgasm of ASK NOT.

Here’s an article on crime comics that gives MS. TREE her due.

And this ranking of Tom Hanks’ best six movies includes a familiar title.

Here’s a nice if brief review of the TRUE DETECTIVE audio.

I was gratified by this terrific look at ONE LONELY NIGHT from a reviewer who initially disliked Spillane and Mike Hammer (based on upon reading I, THE JURY) but tried LADY, GO DIE! at my urging and got turned around. Then ONE LONELY NIGHT sealed the deal. Read the comments below, too.

Finally, the DARK ANGEL trilogy, written by Matt Clemens and me, gets a very nice appraisal here (scroll down till you see Jessica Alba).

M.A.C.

Go Go Gone

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

As predicted, Barb and I wrapped up the eighth “Trash ‘n’ Treasures” mystery, ANTIQUES A GO GO, last week. It took through Thursday to finish it – I always take a couple of days to go over a manuscript and do a final tweak before sending it off. Still seems strange not to be packaging up an actual manuscript and instead just sending an attachment to an editor.

The book is something of a change of pace, as it takes Brandy and her mother to Manhattan, but I won’t dwell on that book, since the new one – ANTIQUES CHOP – is about to come out. I think CHOP may be my favorite of the series (the new one is too fresh in my mind for any kind of judgment beyond, “Whew! Glad to get that outa here!”). For those of my readers fearful of trying a “cozy,” this one has axe murders in it. So put on a bib and dig in.

I’ve alluded to a Kickstarter project here that would take one of my Dreadtime Stories radio plays into low-budget feature-film territory. We had a lot of great things in our favor, among them the participation of Danielle from AMERICAN PICKERS, my longtime cinematic collaborator Phil Dingeldein (a d.p. on PICKERS), Malcolm McDowell as narrator, and of course the Fangoria brand-name. But at the very last minute (we were going to meet on Sunday afternoon, with my son Nate coming in from St. Louis for Kickstarter consulting), a different Fangoria deal interceded to make ours untenable. The good news is that Phil and I will likely be involved in some aspect of this new direction. I’m hopeful we can involve Danielle, too. We’d spent a lot of time (including me doing three or four drafts of “House of Blood” as a screenplay) gearing up for the Kickstarter effort with producer Carl Amari, so there’s disappointment in the mix, but also the promise of filmmaking to come.

Speaking of films, I can recommend OBLIVION, a very smart s-f adventure with Tom Cruise. The reviews are mixed on this one, but I am solidly in the plus column. The art direction alone is worthy of your attention, but the screenplay has some nice surprises, and it’s a well-directed film in general, though a big shoot-‘em gun battle seems out of place and maybe patched-in to satisfy studio execs.

This weekend my band Crusin’ played two nights in a row – a real oddity for us, because I try very hard to avoid that. It’s more like twice a month I’m after. And I will freely admit that on Sunday, I felt like I’d fallen down a flight of stairs (I’m writing this on Monday and feel only marginally better). I continue to enjoy the band, but sometimes it’s starting to feel like that moment in the action movies where the old star says, “I’m getting too old for this shit!” You know, right before a helicopter blows up?

This week I am looking at galley proofs of THE WRONG QUARRY and ASK NOT.

* * *

The three-part look at the Nolan series by Dan Luft over at the Violent World of Parker has wrapped up with a discussion mostly about SPREE. This is a nice series of articles, and with some smart commentary. Occasionally, though, Dan misses the mark fairly wide – he’s about the only reader I’ve ever encountered who disliked the use of the Comfort family in SPREE. He claims to really like the book, except for the Comforts, which is kind of like loving everything about JURASSIC PARK except the dinosaurs.

Here’s a really nice COMPLEX 90 review. Coming up soon, by the way!

This BLOOD MONEY review is basically positive, but it’s a little odd, albeit in an interesting way. It continues to be weird reading reviews of stuff I wrote forty years ago.

Here’s a very good TRUE DETECTIVE review. It’s amazing how resilient that book has been. Published thirty years ago, it sold more copies in the last year (e-book format) than in its first several.

Mel Odom, himself a hell of a writer, has some interesting things to say about BYE BYE, BABY, the first book in the Nathan Heller JFK Trilogy.

Finally, here’s yet another positive look at SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT (mine, not Wertham).

M.A.C.

February Kindle Sale: TRUE DETECIVE and BOMBSHELL $2.99 Each!

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Nate here again with a quick word on a sale before letting Al take over with his regularly scheduled update (below). All February long, Amazon is featuring Nathan Heller novel True Detective and Barbara Allan collaboration Bombshell for $2.99 each on the Kindle storefront. If you already got ‘em, skip on down. Otherwise, mandatory reading:

True Detective is the first Nathan Heller and a great, natural entry point into the series for new readers (although really, you can start with any of the Hellers and skip around). The 1984 Shamus Award Winner for Best P.I. Hardcover, True Detective earned some very impressive raves:

“There’s a special energy that powers True Detective, the raw brawling energy of 1933 Chicago. Collins’ Chicago is perfectly convincing, and so is his detective, Nate Heller. A fine piece of craftsmanship and a deeply satisfying read.” —Laurence Block

“I knew Chicago during Prohibition was supposed to be both dangerous and exciting, and now I know why. . . . A terrific read.” —Donald E. Westlake

“One of the best stories I have ever read.” —Mickey Spillane

True Detective succeeds on several levels, where other novels have failed on a single one. It is not only a fine private eye novel, but a damned good mystery, and interesting historical novel, and a well-crafted suspense novel.” —Robert Randisi

And Bombshell is a Barbara and Max Allan Collins collab freshly back in print under their joint pseudonym, Barbara Allan. I highly recommend this to Heller fans who want more Marilyn after reading Bye Bye, Baby, or to Trash ‘n’ Treasures fans looking for more Barbara Allan while they wait for Antiques Chop to hit the shelves. And if you’re not really either of those? Well, how’s this sound for a plot:

In an attempt to soothe growing Cold War tensions between America and Russia, Premier Nikita Khrushchev visits the US to see all that his “enemy” has to offer. Top of his to-do list? A trip to Disneyland and an introduction to sexual icon Marilyn Monroe.

Thanks to the impossible security requirements, Disneyland is out of the question. Marilyn, on the other hand, jumps at the chance to put on a show for the Russian official. During her appearance, she overhears the details of an assassination plot designed to spark an atomic holocaust and devastate both superpowers. When the Secret Service refuses to believe her, Marilyn risks everything to whisk Khrushchev away to safety—in the happiest place on earth.

With US agents and the KGB hot on their trail, Marilyn and Khrushchev enjoy the thrills of the amusement park while fighting to stay one step ahead of the assassins and prevent the horrors of an unprecedented war that would annihilate millions.

“[Barbara Allan has] taken an event based in history—Khruschev’s U.S. visit—and shaped it with wonderful characterizations (Nikki and Marilyn have never been more interesting) to re-create an era within the context of a delightful comic adventure (a cold-war variation on Roman Holiday).” —Booklist

“Fanciful conjecture indeed, but told with warmth, attention to historical detail, and serious tone.” —Library Journal

Don’t forget that these books are also available in handsome physical editions at all major online retailers as well as your local bookseller through indiebound.org. Stay tuned below for your regularly scheduled update.

True Detective on Amazon

Bombshell on Amazon

Short and Sweet

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Very brief update today. Barb and I are still in St. Louis (on Monday) and will be heading back to Muscatine today. Nate and Abby’s wedding (and the entire wedding weekend) went beautifully and was hugely fun. We will have pics next week. Other than a couple of links I want to share, I’m giving Nate the week off from Update type duties.

Here’s a fun “Skin” review. If you’re a Spillane fan, don’t miss this short story.

And here’s a mostly good TRUE DETECTIVE review. Check out the comments, because the blogger and I have a discussion about the pros and cons of the second chapter (the historical background of Heller and his family).

M.A.C.