Max Allan Collins is a prolific American mystery writer who has been called "mystery's Renaissance man". He has written novels, screenplays, comic books, comic strips, trading cards, short stories, movie novelizations and historical fiction. He wrote the graphic novel Road to Perdition (which was developed into a film in 2002), created the comic book private eye Ms. Tree, and took over writing the Dick Tracy comic strip from creator Chester Gould and one of the Batman comic books for a time. He wrote books to expand on the Dark Angel TV series. He has also served as the creative consultant for a number of major productions, and has written CSI novels and comics based on the TV series franchise. More recently, he has written a book, Buried Deep, based on the TV Series Bones.
He has also written two novel sequels to Road to Perdition, Road to Purgatory and Road to Paradise. In addition to these, he also wrote three more graphic novels starring the characters from Road to Perdition. These graphic novels, called collectively On the Road to Perdition, form the basis of the film.
He also co-founded the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers with Lee Goldberg. The IAMTW is an organization for writers of tie-ins and novelizations.
Collins studied at the University of Iowa.
Mallory and NessEdit
His other works include his Mallory series about a mystery writer in Iowa that solves crimes. There are five books in this series, the best of which might be A Nice Weekend for a Murder. He also wrote a series based on the real-life "Untouchable" Eliot Ness' career as Director of Public Safety in Cleveland. The best of these might be Butcher's Dozen, a fictionalized account of the investigation of the Cleveland Torso Murderer.
His longest running series and arguably his best known work is his Nathan Heller series. Heller is a Chicago private investigator who gets involved in famous crimes and meets famous people of the 1930s and 1940s, including Orson Welles, Frank Nitti, and Sally Rand. The first novel in this historical fiction series, True Detective, won the 1984 Shamus Award for Best P.I. Hardcover from the Private Eye Writers of America. Collins won his second Shamus in 1992 for the Heller novel Stolen Away, an account of the Lindbergh kidnapping. His 1999 novel Flying Blind sees Heller investigate the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, along the way becoming romantically involved with her. The most recent book in this series, Chicago Confidential, moved the action into the 1950s. Collins has recently announced that he is working on a new entry in the series.
Movies and MusicEdit
In addition to his work as a writer, Collins has also written and directed four movies: Mommy, Mommy 2: Mommy's Day, Real Time: Siege at Lucas Street Market, and Eliot Ness: An Untouchable Life (based on his Edgar Award–nominated play). All four were produced independently on location in Collins' hometown of Muscatine, Iowa. The first three are available on DVD--separately or in the Black Box set--from Troma Team Video, and the Ness film is distributed by VCI Entertainment.
Collins has also written and performed music with his rock band, Cruisin'.
Collins has written the following Criminal Minds novels: