Where should I hang this?! A plaque commemorating HEAT 2 debuting at #1 on the New York Times best seller list — such a cool memento! My thanks for this lovely surprise go to William Morrow Books, HarperCollins, and everyone who made this possible for Michael Mann, me, and HEAT 2: Shane Salerno, The Story Factory, and above all, READERS!
I am stunned and thrilled beyond belief to say that Heat 2 has debuted at #1 on the New York Times best seller list.
I’m incredibly proud of this novel, and happy that the intense and amazing work that went into it is being rewarded. It was an honor and a privilege to write this book with Michael Mann. I’m delighted that his commitment, passion, vision, and brilliance have been put on the page with this story, and that I get to be part of it.
I am grateful to HarperCollins, William Morrow Books, and Michael Mann Books, for publishing this novel so beautifully.
I’m especially thankful to my agent, Shane Salerno, for every effort he has expended over many years to help nurture and shepherd this novel to publication.
There are no words adequate to thank my husband, Paul Shreve, for his support of my writing. Especially after our house fire, when we had to start rebuilding our home even as the book deadline loomed. Without Paul’s willingness to shoulder a huge portion of the load, I wouldn’t have been able to write. I love you!
And thanks, readers!!! You’re the ones who have truly made this moment happen. I’m gratified that Heat 2 has connected so strongly with so many of you. Happy reading!
In the days after the house fire last August, demolition and salvage crews swept through our home. The garage, attic, and roof were destroyed. Charred debris covered walls and the floor inside. Wet insulation had rained down through holes in the ceiling. Gasoline and plastic-infused smoke had filled the house, ruining most of our furniture and clothes. Shoes in our closet were sitting in an inch of filthy water and firefighting foam — which had saved the bones of the structure, but totaled a lot of our possessions.
The salvage crew swiftly, carefully, almost tenderly swept up items they thought might be saved, and took them away. That included the Barry Award for UNSUB, which was hanging on the wall in my office. I didn’t see it get packed up. I just saw the soot-blackened ceiling, walls, and bookshelves, and feared the worst.
Especially after the salvage crew dragged melted boxes down from the attic, and I found that all my actual copies of UNSUB were literally toast.
So yesterday, when we began unpacking boxes that had been stored for the last year, I was thrilled to discover the Barry Award — safe, sound, and beautiful. It will return to the wall in my newly rebuilt office, and I will look at it with relief and pride and joy, remembering how I felt when I received it.
Yes, I’m blogging more this week than I have in a long time, and yes, that’s because I want to shout out every bit of news about Heat 2. Yes, I’m wildly happy to see the novel received so well. And yes, I’m thrilled I can use the word rave to describe this review in GQ.
“[Heat 2] gave me a better understanding into how the creator of Heat saw an even bigger world, but also made me appreciate a guy whose work I’ve literally grown up on. That sort of thing doesn’t happen very often.
“There are plenty of other directors who have great vision, who understand the style of a moment and how a certain song can truly capture the mood. But Mann’s whole thing is a trust in his own vision and an absolute belief that little details are a must. The guy seems to operate on a creative level not dissimilar from the one inhabited by some of the great fashion designers, who know that new seasons require new trends, but that good taste is timeless. Being able to turn that into a great story, whether Heat on the big screen or Heat 2 in a book, is a trick few besides Mann can pull off. There’s sex, violence, cool cars, bright lights, and a whole lot of grit. It all works together. When a character is at the Beverly Hilton—where “everything gleams,” including the “Lamborghini and the Bugatti parked outside the entrance, placed like ornaments,”—I kept thinking, Man, I can see that…in a Michael Mann movie. I want to see that in a Michael Mann movie. And if that doesn’t happen, then I’m happy I read it in a Michael Mann novel.”
When a novel is published, I suspect that a lot of people imagine the author kicking back on a chaise longue with caviar and a glass of champagne, relaxing because all the work is done. Maybe wearing fluffy slippers. In reality, while publication day is wonderful — a realization of years of hard work — it means the author actually rolls up their sleeves and gets to work in a new way. Publication means it’s time to really get the word out, and hoist the novel into the public eye, and snag people’s attention. Readers’ attention. And to hope that they’ll skip off to the bookstore or library to grab a copy.
With the publication yesterday of Heat 2, that meant I did podcasts, signed copies at my local independent bookstore, and spent hours on social media urging everyone to pick up the book.
I got some good reactions. Here are a few. I’m incredibly thrilled and grateful to have heard from Stephen King, Danny Trejo, and David Duchovny. And of course I love the vivid, kinetic tweet from my co-author, the inimitable Michael Mann.
I’m thrilled that Heat 2, the novel I co-wrote with Michael Mann, is published today. The book, a standalone thriller, is both prequel and sequel to Mann’s 1995 film Heat. This has been a challenging, ambitious, exhilarating project, and I’m incredibly proud of this novel.
The Associated Press says: “Hollywood screenwriter and director Michael Mann and veteran thriller writer Meg Gardiner have achieved a rarity with their novel ‘Heat 2’: a screen-to-page sequel that stands tall on its own. . . . Slick as a Neil McCauley heist and as intense as a Vincent Hanna chase, ‘Heat 2’ is just dynamite.”
Rolling Stone calls it “a genuinely exhilarating expansion of the movie’s world, complete with. . . some truly jaw-dropping, bullet-filled set pieces.”
The Film Stage says: “Stunning. . . . an intoxicatingly relentless gem. . . . a novel to be devoured more than once.”
Entertainment Weekly calls it a “propulsive universe-expansion. . . . reading this novel, and its cliffhanger ending, definitely leaves you wanting another book set in the same world.”
CrimeReads dedicates itself to the thoughtful discussion crime novels, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and more. So I’m especially grateful that it has named Heat 2 one the best books of August.
“Heat 2, which combines the feeling of both prologue and coda to the iconic Michael Mann 1995 film, deepens our understanding of the original world and simultaneously upends it with new wrinkles of mania and humanity. It’s a novel about the growing complications of global crime and about individuals pushing deep into that moral abyss. Mann’s brooding moments of sublime isolation are there in abundance, combined with Gardiner’s deft touch for modern thrillers. The result is an intensely satisfying crime story. –Dwyer Murphy, CrimeReads editor-in-chief“
That’ll make my day.
And, if you want to dig into the story behind the story, here are a few recent pieces:
“Of all the things in the world of entertainment that might get me excited, ‘a new Michael Mann project’ tops the list…
The story is quintessential Mann. We are introduced to a world reminiscent of the criminal empires that he created in his films Miami Vice, Collateral and Blackhat, with an emerging international dark economy fueled by narco-states, rogue oil kingdoms, criminal syndicates and brilliant gentleman thieves doing deals with the highest bidders. Mix in mercenaries and a corrupt defense contractor and you get a sense of what you’re in for with this novel…
Heat 2 retains a cinematic quality in its structural leaps from 1988 to 1996 to 2000 and back again, keeping the reader guessing where it is heading before full circle in a way you don’t see coming. And, perhaps cunningly, it leaves the door open for yet another sequel… If you’re a fan of the crime genre, you can only hope we get more from him and his crew soon.”
“Nearly three decades after his 1995 instant-classic L.A. crime thriller Heathit theaters, writer-director Michael Mann is back with a prequel/sequel in novel form. Co-written with Meg Gardiner, Heat 2 takes us to 1988 Chicago, where methodical crook Neil McCauley and obsessive cop Vincent Hanna—opposing forces perhaps more alike than not—nearly cross paths years before their fateful L.A. encounter, as a sociopathic killer slips past Hanna and into McCauley’s blind spot. Fast-forward past L.A. and cut to South America: Chris Shirhelis, McCauley’s surviving crewman, is rebuilding his life and a new operation, unaware he’s on a collision course with old enemies. Told in a style as propulsive and cinematic as the film, Heat 2 is an exciting and engrossing tale that leaves the door open to a third installment.”
On August 1 a year ago, we had a major disaster. A car fire set our house ablaze. Austin firefighters were amazing, and saved much of the structure. But with the destruction of the garage, attic, and roof, and enormous smoke and water damage throughout the house, we lost a large portion of our belongings and had to strip the place down to the studs.
Today, one year on, we’re finally home.
Thank you to all our friends and family who have reached out with love and support. We can’t tell you how much we appreciate it.
We wouldn’t be here without the grit and determination of my husband, Paul Shreve, who oversaw demolition and construction while I was working dawn to dusk on my upcoming novel (even with a house charred and covered in sooty debris, deadlines loomed). It’s been a challenging year. We don’t have much furniture yet, and construction isn’t finished, but we are back in the place we love and thought we’d lost. It feels great.
DEBUT Edgar Award–winning thriller author Gardiner (“UNSUB” series) and award-winning writer and director Mann (writing his first novel) explore the background and future of characters from Mann’s classic 1995 film Heat. How did McCauley, played by Robert DeNiro, end up on a heist team with Shiherlis, played by Val Kilmer? How did Hanna, played by Al Pacino, become the focused cop? Prepare for an epic journey of the seven years before the bank heist that would change all of their lives and the events that unfold afterward, bringing in a new cast of riveting characters. The world of international drug cartels and crime syndicates has never been so gripping. Heat was a cinematic spectacle, and this sequel manages to create the same immersive experience in written form. The opening details the 1995 film, so prior knowledge is unnecessary, though interest should also spike for that film.
VERDICT This novel takes time to tell the story while slowly ratcheting up the suspense to nearly uncomfortable levels. Gardiner and Mann are legends, and this book will be a best seller that leads the cry for a film version.
The first review of Heat 2 is here, and I’m wildly happy that it’s a *starred* review from Booklist.
“As in The Godfather, Part Two, Mann and Gardiner’s riveting thriller functions as both a prequel and a sequel. . . . The best thing about this innovative tale is the way the fully fleshed human stories support and even transcend the often-breathtaking action.”
Well, that was amazing. On Friday I was privileged to attend a reunion screening of Heat at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. The film was preceded by a panel discussion featuring the stars of the film, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.
I was thrilled that Heat 2, the upcoming novel I’ve written with Michael Mann, was mentioned. And yes, when Pacino was asked who could play Vincent Hanna in a Heat 2 movie, he said, “Timothée Chalamet.” Which made the news.
What a night.
And I gotta remind you: Heat 2 will be published August 9. Pre-order!