THE CONSUMMATA finds Morgan the Raider on the run in Miamiâ€™s Little Havana and being chased by â€śfederal suitsâ€ť teamed with â€ślocal fuzzâ€ť who think he has 40 million dollars in stolen funds. With no place to hide, the chase seems to be coming to its inevitable conclusion, but suddenly Morgan finds himself snatched and hidden from the feds by some of Little Havanaâ€™s Cuban community.
CHOKE HOLD is novelist and former peep show girl Faustâ€™s second title for Hard Case Crime, and itâ€™s a sequel to MONEY SHOT. Faust is Hard Case Crimeâ€™s first female novelist, and if you think that means a tender, sensitive look at crime, then think again. Faustâ€™s protagonist is tough former porn star, Angel Dare, a woman who feels more comfortable giving a blowjob than extending a sympathy hug. In Money Shot, Angel, owner of an adult modeling agency came out of retirement for one last gig. Big mistake. The job is a set-up by some particularly nasty gangsters who are hunting for a briefcase full of cash. Angel, whoâ€™s raped, beaten and stuffed in the trunk of a car, finds herself on the wrong side of a prostitution ring.
Another autumn descends and another Quarry novel is on the shelf. These are good times to be a reader. With four Quarry Novels in five years, Max Allan Collins can almost be forgiven for the 20-year gap in the series from the mid 80s to the mid 00s.
This time Quarry, a former hitman for the mob who has turned freelance, is on the set of a low budget biker movie in the late 70s. Heâ€™s trying to protect the director, Art Stockwell, from an inevitable assassination attempt. He is also trying to find out who put the contract out on Stockwellâ€™s life. Among the suspects are a Chicago mob boss and Stockwellâ€™s nearly-estranged wife who also happens to be Quarryâ€™s fully-estranged ex-wife. This situation proves to be the first socially awkward moment in the hitmanâ€™s career.
As a long-time fan of Donald Westlake, I was very sad to read of his sudden death from a heart attack on December 31st, 2008. So naturally I was surprised to hear that there was a previously unpublished Westlake due to be released by Hard Case Crime in March 2010. When I learned that this was a book that Westlake wrote in the 60s, well I was intrigued.
MEMORY has to be one of the bleakest, darkest novels written by Westlake in the course of his long, outstanding career.
In HONEY IN HIS MOUTH from pulp author Lester Dent, Walter Harsh is a nomadic, small-time grifter who makes a tenuous living selling photographs. Partnering with whichever woman he happens to be involved with, and working under the guise of National Studios of Hollywood, Harsh moves from town-to-town hustling customers to buy more photographs than theyâ€™d planned to when they “won” the free 8×10 portraits. Itâ€™s a low rent, sleazy operation, but itâ€™s a living. Unfortunately, Harsh ripped off a supplier to the tune of $720 for photographic supplies. So when the supplier spots Harsh in a gas station, heâ€™s out–not just for his money–but revenge too on the â€śthieving bastardâ€ť who took him for an idiot.
Writers are always telling each other to steal, but cover your tracks. So itâ€™s funny that Max Allan Collins, in his new novel QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE, has decided to blatantly admit his inspiration by way of three epigrams at the beginning of the book. The epigrams are quotes from Dashiell Hammett, Akira Kurosawa and Sergio Leone, one novelist and two film directors who each told stories about lawless men who played one gang of criminals against another in the hope of getting paid by each. Perhaps Collins thought his rip off was too blatant and it was better to display rather than hide his appropriations. This was unnecessary because QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE stands very well on itâ€™s own and merely nods to the works of these other artists.
October 27, 2009
Â· Judi Clark Â· One Comment
Tags: 1980s, Hard Case Crime, hitman, Interview, Job-centered, Max Allan Collins Â· Posted in: Noir, Thriller/Spy/Caper, US Midwest, y Award Winning Author