Top positive review
Big MAC Meal
on 11 August 2017
MAC wrote two characters in separate noir series - Quarry and Nate Heller. I have read all of Quarry, but this is my first Heller. It won't be my last. Collins writes with ease and fluidity and tells a mean tale. This novel, his last of three related Heller stories about Frank Nitti is absolutely top drawer.
The only qualms I have about it are MAC's habit of name dropping - featuring well known characters like Eliot Ness and Barney Ross as best friends of Heller. But other than that, this tale is engrossing, complex, rewarding and more eye opening. In a way, it is like a plainly written James Ellroy story, quite a bit like LA Confidential. It is the tale of how Frank Nitti was brought down in wartime Chicago, and our hero's role in the drama. It has a dazzling opening section featuring our hero and Barney Ross as Marines in the Pacific theatre of war. Then it settles back into more comfortable Chicago mob territory.
MAC displays a tight grip on the history (like Lehane in Boston and Ellroy in LA), and tells his story with the usual economy and skill. Probably not the best place to start Heller, but a damn fine noir. One of the best I've read.