Friday, April 25, 2008

Morning Thoughts, Deadly Beloved-- Max Allan Collins-- Review

Right now, I am looking at the Advanced Uncorrected Proofs for Chalice by Robin McKinley. It has the standard statement, not for resale on the front cover. There is also something else interesting on the inside front page.

"In quoting from this book, for reviews or any other purpose, it is essential that the final printed book be referred to, since the author may make changes on these proofs before the book goes to press."

I think that this means the publishers would like me and other reviewers to not review the book before the review comes out. Something irks me a lot is at the convention they didn't include review sheet with a return address in the advanced uncorrected proofs. What I am supposed to do with this is read and said comments back to the author or editor about mistakes in the book before the final printing.

I am looking at Adam Nimoy, My Incredibly Wonderful Miserable Life An Anti-Memoir. On the back cover is a similar quote. (PLEASE DO NOT QUOTE FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT CHECKING AGAINST THE FINISHED BOOK)

There is also a box on the copyright page of My Incredible Wonderful Life with the following statement. Do not quote for publication until verified with finished book. This advance uncorrected proof is the property of Simon & Schuster. It is being loaned for promotional purposes and review by the recipient and may not be used for any other purpose or transferred to any third party. Simon & Schuster reserves the right to cancel the loan and recall possession of the proof at any time. Any duplication, sale, or distribution to the public is a violation of the law.

I think this is standard boiler plate which goes into the front of most advance uncorrected proofs. Some bookstores sell these things to their customers even though they are not supposed to. Also, if the author is a major author like Stephen King, the Advance Uncorrected Proofs can become quite valuable. They are usually printed in a shorter run with less distribution than the book when it comes out.

Sometimes we get the offical books before their publication date. We cannot let patrons check these books out before their official publication date. Libraries have been fined for copyright violations for doing this.

Today I am in quandrous mood. I am not even sure there is a dictionary entry for quandrous. I checked but could not find it. I am not going to dig any deeper.

I was reading Bananas How The United Fruit Company Shaped The World by Peter Chapman. I have been reading it on and off for about a week. I managed to get to page 120 and I am thinking there are better books than this. If I was really into the evils of an international megacorporation that caused wars in Honduras and Guatemala so we can have our fruit, I might continue reading it.

There is something mildly absurd about this book. Carmen Miranda and Chiquita Banana as symbols of oppression are kind of surprising. This book does demonstrate how cruel people can be. If you want to understand how a corporation can act badly in the era of globlization this book describes it beautifully. United Fruit essentially created the background for the term "banana republic."

Another book which I am having some trepidation about is Deadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins. This book is not written like other detective novels. It is pure pulp in its style with a graphic novel feel to it. If you like hard hitting dark violent noire, or like to read graphic novels you will love this book. However, it is written in the tradition of the pulps so many people will not like it because the language is stilted violent and cartoonish. It is not a literary book in any way. I love the line in the book, I used the secret kind of kung fu I knew, first I kicked him in the ass, then I kicked him in the balls.

It is filled with the classic cliches of noire. The man who gets shot in the stomach by an assassin as the detective comes into the mans office. The nurse with the poison needle. The cop secretly involved in a dark conspiracy. The trailer park fight. The murder at the seedy hotel with a prostitute and a business man. This has all the classic film noire elements. The book reads like a cross between a graphic novel and a movie.

In creating Ms. Tree, the detective in the story, Max Allan Collins says it beautifually, I took Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer's love interest Velma paired her with the detective, then killed Mike Hammer. Velma is Mike Hammer as a woman in Max Allan Collin's mind. After reading the book, I should correct that, she is more violent than Mike Hammer ever was. She also has training as both a detective and a police woman. She also dresses nicer in Gucci, silk, and beautiful clothes and drives a Jaguar. In other words, Ms. Tree has more class than Mike Hammer ever had. She also is sexier, smarter, and crazier.

Some of the devices which the author uses are interesting. Ms. Tree visits a psychiatrist to discuss her personal problems with violence. She also feels sympathy for the crazy woman who killed her accountant husband. However, as you read the book, you realize that the criminals who she interacts with her are often terrified of Ms. Tree,they are worried correctly that they may die, and think Ms. Tree is crazy.

While there is sex in the book, it is not described. Instead the author describes the physical body, much like you would a pin up calendar or cheesecake images. This has a rather odd effect making it even more noirish.

Ms. Tree is the longest running detective comic book. It ran from 1980 to 1992. If there was a comic book censorship craze again, this book would be pulled from the shelves for its morality. It is quite dark.

Max Allan Collins is the author of Road to Perdition which was turned into a graphic novel and a film. This is what he wrote before Road To Perdition. I think the Ms. Tree comics would make a better television show than a film.

This book is part of the Hard Case Crime series. It is a series of paperbacks written in the Gold Key style of old fashioned noire.

I actually bought this book at the New York Comic Con. Dorset Publishers had a booth there. They were displaying a horror paperback series, a historical romance paperback series, and the Hard Case Crime series. I suggested that they might ask Omar Tyree as a possible author for a Hard Case Crime book. I would call their books trashy, but well written fun.

I was originally a bit hesitant to put a picture of the book up on this website because of the almost cheesecake quality to the cover. Terry Beatty, the illustrator for the Ms. Tree comic book created the cover.

Thi is an example of the comic book. I think Frank Miller worked on this particular issue.


DineometerDeb said...

Ah, so many books, so little time. I guess I should be glad that my local library doesn't have any of those books, since I have a backlog of books to read. We have had budget cuts and it is now only open three days a week. Bummer.

Sparks was excellent!

Book Calendar said...

Budget cuts are affecting everyone. I rely on interlibrary loan to get most of the books I want. Even this is becoming threatened because of the high cost of gas. I am beginning to think they may cut back on the number of days the trucks are going to run between different branches.

Libraries are about communities. They are a source for finding jobs for people. That is why we have been so focused on the Job Information Center lately. They also provide support for the local schools for assignments.