Okay. Ask me anything.

hitmeHow’s the new book doing?

Sales are brisk, reviews are glowing. This Sunday, March 3, Hit Me will debut in the #28 slot on the New York Times Bestseller List. Strong advance orders led the publisher to order a second printing before the first was off-press; now there’s a third printing, the result of strong sales.

But I’ve told you all this, and repeating it is hard on the veneer of false modesty I like to project. Ask me something else.

How’s the movie coming along?

It’s right on schedule. A Walk Among the Tombstones is set to begin filming in New York sometime next month. Scott Frank, who wrote the screen adaptation, will direct, and Liam Neeson will play Matthew Scudder. The casting seems to have been completed, with Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey), Ruth Wilson (Anna Karenina), and Boyd Holbrook (Hatfields & McCoys) among the players.

I haven’t read the script, and think I’d rather wait and see the film with fresh eyes. Scott Frank’s adaptations of two Elmore Leonard novels, Out of Sight and Get Shorty, set the standard of book-to-film screenwriting, and The Lookout, which he wrote and directed, is an unassuming noir masterpiece. So I’m not worried.

aaaTombstonesWhen can we see it?

Well, they have to shoot it first. It’ll be a while. But in the meantime you can certainly read the book. I did so myself when I was prepping the eBook and trade paperback, and I could see why Scott picked it. It’s the tenth book in the Scudder series, and one of the stronger ones. (And, if you’d rather give your eyes a rest and read it with your ears, Mark Hammer’s audio rendition is excellent.)

Today’s Wednesday.

Um, is that a question?

Well, is it an Orange Wednesday? I mean, are you giving anything away?

As it happens, it’s a vividly Orange Wednesday, and for the next few days here’s what I’m giving away:

keller's_therapy“Keller’s Therapy” was the story that transformed the wistful assassin into crime fiction’s least likely series character. After his debut in “Answers to Soldier,” I thought we’d seen the last of him, but then a couple of years passed and it struck me that he was just the sort of Urban Lonely Guy to wind up on a shrink’s couch. Like “Answers to Soldier,” the story was published in Playboy and shortlisted for an Edgar; this time around Keller won the Edgar outright, and one thing led to another, until it became clear that I was writing a novel on the installment plan.

“Keller’s Therapy” is a Kindle Select title, so it’s only available if that’s your eReader of choice. If not, all is not lost; you have the option of buying Keller #1, Hit Man, in which “Keller’s Therapy” is one of ten episodes. My friends at HarperCollins have put the first four Keller books on eSpecial, and Hit Man is a mere 99¢ until they come to their senses and raise the price. Meanwhile, that’s all it’ll cost you to buy the book for Nook, Apple, Kobo, or Sony Reader.

I’m not complaining, but why are you giving us “Keller’s Therapy” for free?

Uh, because I’m a generous and open-handed fellow? Well, maybe, but I’ve got an ulterior motive as well. Just as HarperCollins hopes you’ll like Hit Man enough at 99¢ to buy the others at $3.99 apiece, so do I hope a free download of “Keller’s Therapy” will prompt you to acquire Hit Me. I’ll spare you all the lists and links of where to buy the book, signed or unsigned, in print or electronic, di dah di dah di dah. It’s all in an earlier blog entry, and if you click here you can check it out in full.

I’ve been meaning to buy the Philatelic Edition of Hit Me. But I can’t find it…

Oh dear. I’m afraid you left it too long. We printed 500 of the signed-and-numbered-and-philatelically-enhanced books, each accompanied by a pair of souvenir sheets like the one shown above. And we sold every last one of them.

A handful of you will get another chance. There’s a very short run of Author’s Copies coming off-press in a month or so. We won’t be taking orders until we have copies in hand, but we’ll let you know as soon as they’re ready.

CatchAndRelease2And how about future plans? What’s coming next?

Glad you asked. There’ll be a new book in September, a collection of hitherto uncollected short fiction, published by Hard Case Crime and Subterranean Press. The title is Catch and Release, and the cover is just gorgeous:

If the title’s familiar, that’s because it’s also the title of one of the included stories. Curiously, I’ve written two stories over the years with fishing as a theme, and they both wound up as title stories of collections. (The other is Sometimes They Bite.) For a full list of the contents, and the opportunity to pre-order the book, just click here.)

Why pre-order? Publication is, after all, six months off. But Subterranean’s titles sometimes sell out rather abruptly, Hellcats & Honey Girls being a case in point. Order now and you’re sure of a first edition copy.

And that ought to do it. In a few hours I’ll find out where Hit Me will stand on the NYTimes list for March 10. It’s #28 now, but will it move up? Will it drift downward?

I can’t stand the pressure. I think I’ll go to the gym…