I’m finding myself in a bit of a fan girl moment right now. I’ve just finished reading Lady, Go Die!, the long lost sequel to popular 1947 detective thriller I, The Jury by Mickey Spillane, completed by Max Allan Collins.
Now I admit, I’ve never read I, The Jury and only know Spillane his reputation and work in film adaptations of his books. My fan girl moment is coming from an opportunity to interview Max Allan Collins.
It was 1990. I was ten years old and in the height of my Madonna obsession. She had just starred in Dick Tracy as femme fatale bombshell, Breathless Mahoney and I was hungry for anything Madonna and anything Dick Tracy. I was given a copy of the film novelisation for my birthday, written by Max Allan Collins. I read it over, and over, and over again – the pen marks still visible on the back cover where I circled “Breathless” and “The Blank”, obviously the characters I was most invested in. I was also given a copy of Madonna’s I’m Breathless album on cassette. Not strictly relevant here I s’pose, but I thought you’d like to know.
The image here is a scan of that same copy of Dick Tracy. If only there was a way I could digitally transfer that awesome dusty paperback smell the book has developed!
But aside from the Madonna obsession, one I’ve not yet recovered from (and since upgraded I’m Breathless to CD), that novel had another lasting effect, sparking my interest in pulp style detective thrillers and the film noir genre.
I remember, around the same time, bashing out the beginning of my own pulp dick novel on an H.G Palmer typewriter. I blatantly ripped off the opening scenes of Dick Tracy (forgive a ten year old her plagiaristic violations!), and didn’t write much more than a few pages. I wrote a child character flip the middle finger and swear – thanks to Dick Tracy‘s The Kid doing the same thing – and I vividly recall getting into a whole host of trouble from my mother who apparently wasn’t prepared for her ten year old girl to be writing gritty P.I tales, even loosely plagiarised ones. Ah, crushed by such an early critique!
Now, 22 years later, I’m awed to be able to interview a writer who had such an influence on me at such a young age and having just spent the weekend with my nose stuck in the pages of another good old pulp detective novel from the pen of Max Allan Collins (ok, co-authored pen), I’ve suddenly an urge to have another crack at that noir thriller. And use as many swear words as I like! (maybe a go easier on the blatant plagiarism though).
Keep an eye on Vivid Scribe for the interview with Max Allan Collins and my review of Lady, Go Die!