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.”
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.”
I’m delighted that this Saturday I’ll be taking part in the Word of South Festival in Tallahassee. Best of all, I’ll be in conversation with the fabulous Jeff VanderMeer, author of Annihilation, Borne, and Hummingbird Salamander.
Word of South Festival Tallahassee, Florida In Conversation with Jeff VanderMeer April 9, 2022 3:15 PM to 4:15 PM Flamingo Magazine Stage
If you’re in the neighborhood, I’d love to see you at the festival.
The Dark Corners of the Night, Book 3 in the UNSUB series, is published today in paperback. If you haven’t read it yet — or if you have and want to read it again with this cool new cover, or want to give copies (yes, copies, multiple, of course) to friends — here’s a reminder about what people have said about the novel.
“Don’t miss it. This is a great one!” — Stephen King
“Kickass.” — Los Angeles Times
“Brilliantly written. An unforgettable story. Stunning.” — Don Winslow
“Gardiner’s writing is lyrical and cinematic, and the final result is her best novel to date.” — Associated Press
Thursday, February 18, I’ll be in conversation with Amy Gentry about her fabulous new thriller Bad Habits. It’s a virtual author Q&A, hosted by A Mighty Blaze. It will be available on Facebook Live and YouTube. Join us!
Authors in Conversation Amy Gentry + Meg Gardiner Thursday, Feb. 18, 4PM EST YouTube Facebook
It’s been a minute since I checked in here. I’ve been busy, I’ve been isolated, I’m writing, I’m urging everyone to register to vote and make your voice heard. And I’ve been reading. Here’s a recent crop of fantastic novels I’ve enjoyed.
What are you all up to? What’s on your reading list?
BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival INTO THE MIND OF A PSYCHOPATHIC KILLER Meg Gardiner in conversation with LA Larkin FRIDAY JULY 17 5PM Pacific / 7PM Central / 8PM Eastern / SATURDAY JULY 18 10 AM Sydney, Australia The event is free, but click the link to register for the video via Zoom.