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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.
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on 27 January 2012
I'm working my way through all the Nate Heller novels and so far not one dud. I do like the way Max Allan Colins interweaves a fictional account in a factual backdrop, no one does it better. If you like Dashiel Hammett or Raymond Chandler these are the books or you.
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on 25 August 2005
What a gem. I don't know how a copy found its way onto my bookshelves - don't remember buying it - and I picked it up out of sheer desperation for something to read. Lucky me, because this is a superb little quasi-historic novel in the of the snap-brimmed fedora genre with added dimensions which were quite unexpected. Oddly enough there isn't really a case to be solved by our heroic private eye, but no matter. The book is so well plotted and written it's worth reading for the joy of the prose.
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on 15 February 2013
Pleasure reading this book...and the relation with the "unions". The war background very realistic and humane. Will go and buy another one right away!
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on 3 October 2013
This was written in prose that transported and dropped you right back into the middle of that era. All the characters felt as if they were your friends or associates and that you knew them personally! A very good trilogy; so be sure to check that you read them in order.
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on 26 January 2014
A good read with real life links to the past in the days of gangsters and the mob in Chicago cleverly linked with a detective agency.
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on 8 July 2016
Yep definitely one of the best books I've read. The author takes you to the scene and leaves you there to watch the events unfurl.
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on 24 November 2013
The book starts of slowly but builds up the more you read. It is based on the prohibition period and has that feel when reading
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on 30 December 2013
I did not find it inspiring or interesting. Too many mafia type boring and repetitive characters. Sorry! Not my type of novel.
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on 3 January 2014
A bit too mixed up for me. The story changed track too often and I kept getting lost. Not really my book.
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