I'm a huge fan of Max Collins, specifically his Chicago PI Nate Heller. And I'm not even a huge detective novel guy!
I've followed the character Nate Heller from 1930s Chicago to 1960s Hollywood...and never doubted for a minute that Collins' characters WEREN'T involved in the crimes he has investigated. The work is THAT good! For me, it's all about the historical facts presented in a remarkably readable way.
In Neon Mirage, the reader follows the beginnings of early Las Vegas. The mobsters, the movie stars, the politicians are all there--fleshed out and totally believable. If you're at all interested in the FACTUAL history of the mob or how Bugsy Segal turned the desert into America's 'sin city', I highly recommend Neon Mirage. It--like ALL of Collins books-- is a great way to study history, while immersed in a great detective novel. When you finish, you realize, "Hey, I didn't know THAT!!"
Here's the reason for the title of this review:I've gone through all Collins' Nate Heller books, and I wish I COULD find another writer who can weave history with fiction as well as Collins does. Each time I read a Nate Heller book, I've not only been thoroughly entertained, I've come away with so much factual information! If any of you has a favorite author/series/character that does that for you--would you be kind enough to add a comment pointing me in the right direction?
Meanwhile, grab a copy of Neon Mirage. Or, better yet, start with "True Crime" or one of the earlier Nate Heller books...and work your way through the series. If you're a history buff, you'll like them for the information. If you're a mystery/detective buff, I think you'll be happy to meet Nate Heller!