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Showing posts by: Max Allan Collins click to see Max Allan Collins's profile
May 25 2016 3:00pm

Nate Heller & Mike Hammer

Read this exclusive guest post from Max Allan Collins, author of Better Dead, comparing his own Nate Heller series to finishing Mickey Spillane's posthumous Mike Hammer manuscripts, and then make sure you're signed in and comment for a chance to win a copy of his newest Nate Heller thriller!

I have been writing about my fictional P.I. Nate Heller for over thirty years. During that time, he’s solved some of the greatest unsolved crimes of the 20th Century, mostly in the 1930s and ‘40s, though more recently, I skipped forward to the 1960s for novels about Marilyn Monroe’s death (Bye Bye, Baby, 2011) and the JFK assassination (Target Lancer, 2012; Ask Not, 2013). The only ‘50s novel was Chicago Confidential (2002), set at the beginning of that decade.

In the world of crime fiction, the private eye who ruled the 1950s was Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer. Hammer’s first half dozen cases (starting with I, The Jury, 1947) remain the bestselling private eye novels of all time. The character was wildly popular, but also extremely controversial, even vilified. The left attacked Spillane for Hammer’s vigilante ways, and the right pilloried him for what was the then extreme sexual content of the novels.

[Read more from Max Allan Collins...]

Apr 26 2016 9:00am

Better Dead: New Excerpt

Max Allan Collins

Better Dead by Max Allan Collins is the 15th Nathan Heller Thriller (Available May 3, 2016).

It's the early 1950's. Joe McCarthy is campaigning to rid America of the Red Menace. Nate Heller is doing legwork for the senator, though the Chicago detective is disheartened by McCarthy's witch-hunting tactics. He's made friends with a young staffer, Bobby Kennedy, while trading barbs with a potential enemy, the attorney Roy Cohn, who rubs Heller the wrong way. Not the least of which for successfully prosecuting the so-called Atomic Bomb spies, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. When famous mystery writer Dashiell Hammett comes to Heller representing a group of showbiz and literary leftists who are engaged in a last minute attempt to save the Rosenbergs, Heller decides to take on the case.

Heller will have to play both sides to do this, and when McCarthy also tasks Heller to find out what the CIA has on him, Heller reluctantly agrees. His main lead is an army scientist working for the C.I.A. who admits to Heller that he's been having misgivings about the work he's doing and elliptically referring to the Cold War making World War II look like a tea party.

And then the scientist goes missing.

[Read an excerpt from Better Dead here...]

Nov 23 2012 12:00pm

Target Lancer: New Excerpt

Max Allan Collins

Target Lancer by Max Allan CollinsAn excerpt of Target Lancer by Max Allan Collins, the 14th book in the historical private eye Nathan Heller “P.I to the Stars” series (available November 27, 2012).

Long before November 22, 1963, Nate Heller knows that a conspiracy is in the works. Several years earlier, he had been involved with the Kennedys, the Mob, and the CIA in the early stages of a plan to assassinate Fidel Castro. Shortly after, Heller’s Mafia contact was murdered.

After being interrogated by gangsters and contacted by U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Heller realizes that he may be the one person who can prevent a devastating political assassination. Only he knows all the players; only he knows why a web of conspirators has targeted the man known to the Secret Service as “Lancer”: John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Chapter 1

Do you remember where you were when President Kennedy was killed? Even if you weren’t alive at the time, you surely know that a sniper in a high window was waiting for JFK to ride by on that infamous day in November. In Chicago.

Friday, October 25, 1963

The city’s oldest, most famous strip joint was just a storefront with 606 CLUB emblazoned in neon over its lighted-up canopied walkway. Another, smaller 606 neon sign crooked its summoning finger into the street, while windows promised delight by way of posters of Lili St. Cyr, Ann Corio, and Tempest Storm, none of whom was appearing right now.

[Read the full excerpt of Target Lancer by Max Allan Collins]

May 9 2012 9:30am

Where’s the Love for—and in—Hardboiled?

Serie Noire novelYou don’t see the term “hardboiled” much any more. “Noir” has supplanted it, co-opted from the French film critics who intended it for the American crime films made during and shortly after World War II. Those critics had co-opted the term from Serie Noire, the black-covered paperbacks from publisher Gallimard that reprinted the likes of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, and Mickey Spillane.

Hardboiled, as early as twenty years ago, became a dirty word in publishing. Cozy mysteries were outselling hardboiled, and likely still are. So the appropriation of “noir” was a hipper, more elegant-sounding way to rebrand the tough stuff.

[A dead rose by any other name is just as black, er, noir . . .]

May 3 2012 12:00pm

Lady, Go Die!: New Excerpt

Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins

Lady, Go Die! by Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane, the lost Mike Hammer novelAn excerpt of Lady, Go Die!, the lost Mike Hammer novel, a private detective thriller by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (available May 8, 2012).

Mickey Spillane’s lost 1940s Mike Hammer novel, written between I, the Jury and My Gun Is Quick and never before published! Completed by Spillane’s friend and literary executor Max Allan Collins, Lady, Go Die! is finally making its way into print almost 70 years after its inception!

When Hammer and Velda go on vacation to a Long Island beach town, Hammer becomes embroiled in the mystery of a missing well-known New York party girl who lives nearby. When the woman turns up naked—and dead—astride the statue of a horse in the town square, Hammer feels compelled to investigate.

Chapter 1

Pulling the trigger had been easy. Living with it had been hard. Crazy rage got replaced with a joyless emptiness. No emotion, no feeling. I felt as dead as the one I’d shot.

I had evened the score for a friend but the cost had been high—a woman I loved was dead, and the bullet that sent the killer to hell had along the way punched a gaping hole in my soul. I tried to fill it with booze, or at least cauterize the damn thing, spending most of my evenings at Joe Mast’s joint, trying not to fall off a bar stool and usually failing. But it hadn’t worked. Nothing worked.

[Read the full excerpt of Lady, Go Die! by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins]

Aug 3 2011 12:00pm

Bye Bye Baby: New Excerpt

Max Allan Collins

Bye Bye Baby by Max Allan Collins

It’s 1962, and Twentieth Century Fox is threatening to fire Marilyn Monroe. The blond goddess hires Nate Heller, private eye to the stars, to tap her phone so she will have a record of their calls in case they take her to court. When Heller starts listening, he uncovers far more than nasty conversations. The CIA, the FBI, the Mafia—even the Russians—are involved in actions focused on Marilyn. She’s the quintessential American cultural icon, idolized by women, desired by men, but her private life is... complicated...and her connection to the Kennedys makes her an object of interest to some parties with sinister intentions.

Not long after Heller signs on, Marilyn winds up dead of a convenient overdose. The detective feels he owes her, and the Kennedys, with whom he busted up corrupt unions in the 1950s. But now, as Heller investigates all possible people—famous, infamous, or deeply cloaked—who might be responsible for Marilyn’s death, he realizes that what has become his most challenging assignment may also be the end of him.


Chapter 1

The naked actress was laughing, splashing, her flesh incandescent against the shimmer of blue, now on her back, then bottoms up, her happy sounds echoing, as if she were the only woman in the world—and wasn’t she?


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