Posts Tagged ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’

A Buck-Twenty-Five A Movie

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

If any of you are interested, THE BLACK BOX, the boxed set DVD collection of my indie movies – MOMMY, MOMMY’S DAY, REAL TIME: SIEGE AT LUCAS STREET MARKET and SHADES OF NOIR (which includes the original, longer cut of MIKE HAMMER’S MICKEY SPILLANE as well as the Brian Keith “Mike Hammer” pilot from 1954) – is on sale at for $4.98. That’s a savings of $30.

I want to thank all of you who sent supportive comments (sometimes as private e-mails) after my post last week, complaining about various aspects of the writer’s life, now that I am officially old enough to be a complaining coot. I am considering putting a rocking chair on the porch and writing further updates there on a laptop.

For the record, it took four work days to put ASK NOT back together (also for the record, my editor at Forge was completely on my side and reinstated everything I requested). To give you an idea of how extreme the ASK NOT copy edit was, I also dealt this week with the copy-edited manuscript of the upcoming thriller WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU from Thomas & Mercer. It took one work day.

Dead Man Down

We saw an interesting crime movie that I am going to recommend, though it is not perfect: DEAD MAN DOWN. It’s directed by Niels Arden Oplev, of the original GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, and stars the “girl” herself, the indelible Noomi Rapace, probably my favorite actress working today. I used to not care for Colin Ferrell, but as his star has faded somewhat, his acting has improved immeasurably – he’s terrific here in a subtle, understated performance as a guy who is anything but subtle and understated. It’s a revenge film, with a great premise, but I sometimes felt the foreign director didn’t entirely understand the English language script – it’s a little too long, and some things don’t quite track. But the central romance between two damaged souls and the outlandish shoot-‘em-up finale are well worth the time of anybody interested in crime movies. It has one of the great screen Mike Hammers, Armand Assante, in a small but pivotal role.


The reviews for SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT continue to roll in, in a very positive way. Let’s start with something I rarely do – customer reviews at Amazon, which includes one from Bookreporter. By the way, if you want to help out your favorite authors (including, I hope, me), a great, easy way is to post a brief four- or five-star review at Amazon, assuming you like what you’ve read. Those reviews really, really count.

Here’s a cool one from the International House of Geek (the fantastic blog names just keep coming).

And here’s a great one from Mystery People.

A somewhat horror-tinged positive review appears here, at The October Country (R.I.P., Ray Bradbury).

Here’s a patronizing but ultimately positive review from the UK’s Telegraph.

Here’s Comic Buzz on SEDUCTION. I’m very pleased that so many comics blogs have picked up on the book.

And what author doesn’t love getting an A+, as happens here at Fandom Post.

Publisher’s Weekly is getting cranky in its old age, but this review of the upcoming ANTIQUES CHOP is pretty good.

PW also isn’t much impressed with the upcoming Mike Hammer, COMPLEX 90, considering it more of the same. First of all, if somebody gives you a hot-fudge sundae when you order one, do you complain that it’s more of the same? Second of all, this is the book where Mike Hammer goes to Russia. Not more of the same – one of the most distinctive books in the series, in my opinion, one of Mickey’s most unusual, even unique plots.

Scroll down for a tardy but fantastic review of THE CONSUMMATA.

And finally Pop Cults weighs in with a late but lovely LADY, GO DIE! review.


Bittersweet Edgar Noms

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

The Edgar nominations were announced last week, and I was pleased to see two books I contributed essays to were chosen in the Best Critical/Biographical section: BOOKS TO DIE FOR and IN PURSUIT OF SPENSER (Matt Clemens co-authored the essay in the latter, dealing with the Spenser TV series). I admit to my disappointment that Jim Traylor and my MICKEY SPILLANE ON SCREEN didn’t get a nod. I am never surprised to be absent in Edgar fiction categories – that’s the biggest crap shoot on the planet – but I felt we had a decent shot in this smaller, more specific category. There’s always the Anthonys….

Today I doing a final pass on a Mike Hammer story, “So Long, Chief,” developed from a particularly strong ten-page Spillane fragment. It will likely appear in The Strand, and I am gradually completing enough Hammer stories to see the possibility of a collection glimmering on the horizon.

Matt Clemens and I met this week and put the finishing touches on WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU. The book definitely reflects my interest in the wave of Nordic mystery fiction, which I’m mostly familiar with via foreign TV adaptations. Barb and I watched a new Varg Veum film last night, for example, and have gone through all of the available Wallanders (as well as the Brit version). The longer TV cut of GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is superior to the films (apparently it’s not uncommon for TV movies and series to have limited theatrical releases in that part of the world, before expanded television versions are aired). While it’s dangerous to look at a country’s output of crime fiction as a genre unto itself, I am fascinated by the Nordic mix of political intrigue and social ills. WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU doesn’t reflect the political side in a major way, but does (I think) represent a move away from the CSI-oriented forensics thrillers that Matt and I have previously explored.

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A nice review of the 2007 Ms. Tree prose novel, DEADLY BELOVED, has turned up on the web.

My friend, the fine writer Ed Gorman, wrote a very generous piece on SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT.

Here’s a so so review of SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT, a patronizing piece from my point of view. It also quotes a PW review from a reviewer who doesn’t know the meaning of the word “parody” (hint: not interchangeable with pastiche).

More SEDUCTION reviews are available at Goodreads.

And here’s a nice, insightful review of “A Little Faith,” the story Matt Clemens and I did for the anthology DARK FAITH INVOCATIONS.


The “D” is Silent

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

I have just wrapped up my first original novel for Thomas & Mercer (i.e., Amazon), WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU. It’s a thriller that my Harrow series collaborator Matt Clemens worked on with me – our usual pattern of me coming up with the idea, the two of us co-plotting, and Matt writing a story treatment (sort of a short rough draft) out of which I develop the novel. I was behind deadline, which means I worked through the holidays on it. The story has to do with a Victims of Violent Crimes support group, some of whose members team up to go after the serial killer who targeted all of their families. With its young female lead, it’s at least vaguely an American take on THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. It’ll be out late this year.

My favorite (and least favorite) movie list got a lot of play on the Net last week, with plenty of people disagreeing with me on the DARK KNIGHT RISES, but otherwise generating quite a bit of agreement. If you’re wondering why DJANGO UNCHAINED didn’t make either list, it’s because I hadn’t seen it yet.

Well, I have now, and it would have rated high among my favorites. It took me a long time to warm to Quentin Tarantino – I found RESERVOIR DOGS and PULP FICTION full of themselves, and didn’t like the KILL BILL movies, either. I knew all of the references and cringed when too-familiar music was used in his cobbled together soundtracks (the IRONSIDE theme…really?). But JACKIE BROWN, with the underpinning of a real Elmore Leonard story, was terrific, and INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, with its inherent love of film and hatred of Nazis, made me a fan. Now the world’s most famous know-it-all video clerk has hit a grand slam with DJANGO UNCHAINED. As with BASTERDS, the writer/director does better within the confines of period dialogue (not that anachronisms don’t crop up, but unlike the earlier movies, it doesn’t sound like QT is just talking to himself). DJANGO is a witty, wonderfully over-the-top tribute to both the MANDINGO Southern gothic genre and Italian westerns (with the patched-together score working extremely well with this appropriate music, familiar but using the sources not specific enough to distract) with bold jagged red credits, camera zooms and grainy flashbacks, plus many wonderfully familiar faces (Bruce Dern among them). You also get to see QT blow himself up real good (worth the price of admission). This is the first movie in a very long time that I would like to see again on the big screen.

I would also recommend the Danish crime series THE KILLING, the third season of which has just appeared on DVD and blu-ray in England. A great, gritty series with a strong female detective and unusual emphasis on politics as well as the cost of crime upon a victim’s family. Each season explores one case (Barb and I watched the ten-hour third season in one excessive Sunday marathon). This is advertised as the third of a trilogy, though the ending is a cliffhanger of sorts. I have never seen the American version of this show.

Here’s a nice review of TARGET LANCER from Richard Katz of Milwaukee’s great mystery bookstore, Mystery One.

Over at CRIMESPREE magazine, editor Jon Jordan has included TARGET LANCER on his memorable reads of the year list.

Here’s another Best Books of the Year list TARGET LANCER made (ranking high among thrillers).

Jeff Pierce’s indispensable Rap Sheet has a preview of coming attractions that includes both SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT and the forthcoming MIKE HAMMER comic strip collection.