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Starred Review: Ask Not by Max Allan Collins

October 9, 2013 Leave a comment

“A master at thoroughly believable historical re-creations of unsolved or covered-up crimes, Collins is the perfect fiction writer to tackle the JFK assassination, and he does so brilliantly, working the edges of the story by focusing on the little-known raft of questionable suicides—all documented in the historical record… Even readers who aren’t conspiracy theorists will find themselves utterly drawn into the story and convinced by Collins’ version of what happened. And, best of all, it’s a terrific detective novel, compelling and well constructed even without the historical connection.”

Max Allan Collins’ Ask Not got a starred review in Booklist!*

Here’s the full review, from the August issue:

 The third in Collins’ trilogy of Nathan Heller novels about JFK, this one jumps from a few weeks before the assassination (Target Lancer, 2012), when a planned attempt on the president’s life in Chicago was aborted, to several months after the events of November 22, 1963. Heller becomes involved when he and his son are nearly run down as they leave a Beatles concert. Recognizing the driver as one of the Cubans involved in the Chicago plot, Heller sets out to take his family off the assassins’ radar and soon finds himself even deeper in hot water, as he follows the trail of a host of spurious suicides by witnesses of the shooting in Dallas whose versions of what happened conflict with the official, “one-man, one-shooter” version being promulgated by the Warren Commission. Teaming with TV star and investigative reporter Flo Kilgore (read Dorothy Kilgallen), who is on the verge of exposing the cover-up — and its ties to several LBJ cronies — Heller ruffles feathers at the CIA, in the Mob, and possibly even in (or very near) the White House. A master at thoroughly believable historical re-creations of unsolved or covered-up crimes, Collins is the perfect fiction writer to tackle the JFK assassination, and he does so brilliantly, working the edges of the story by focusing on the little-known raft of questionable suicides — all documented in the historical record — and making great use of the Kilgore/Kilgallen character, who was herself one of the unlikely suicides. Even readers who aren’t conspiracy theorists will find themselves utterly drawn into the story and convinced by Collins’ version of what happened. And, best of all, it’s a terrific detective novel, compelling and well constructed even without the historical connection. — Bill Ott

Ask Not will be published on October 22nd.

*Booklist is a subscription-only publication.

New Releases: 11/27/2012

November 27, 2012 1 comment

New Releases: 5/22/2012

May 22, 2012 1 comment

New Releases: 08/16/2011

August 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Bye Bye, Baby receives a starred review in Publishers Weekly

June 13, 2011 1 comment

“Set in 1962, Collins’s excellent 13th novel featuring Chicago PI Nate Heller (last seen in 2002’s Chicago Confidential) finds Heller–who’s investigated such high-profile crimes as the Lindbergh kidnapping and Huey Long’s assassination–looking into the death of Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe.”

Bye Bye, Baby by Max Allan Collins has received a Starred review in this week’s Publishers Weekly!

Below is the full review:

“Set in 1962, Collins’s excellent 13th novel featuring Chicago PI Nate Heller (last seen in 2002’s Chicago Confidential) finds Heller–who’s investigated such high-profile crimes as the Lindbergh kidnapping and Huey Long’s assassination–looking into the death of Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe. The book’s first half covers the movie star’s last two months, as she tries to deal with attacks on many fronts–by the movie studio that fired her; by her abusive ex-husband, Joe DiMaggio; and by the Kennedys. By the time a drug overdose claims her, there’s no shortage of people who wanted her dead. Heller, Monroe’s sometime lover, who refuses to buy the official line that she committed suicide, steps on powerful toes with his usual tenacity and stubbornness to reach the truth. Collins convincingly portrays the real-life players in the drama, who include Jimmy Hoffa and Frank Sinatra. Readers with a taste for hard-boiled roman à clef will hope that more Heller is in the offing.” (Aug.)

Bye Bye, Baby will be on-sale August 16th, 2011.

Goodreads First Reads: Bye Bye, Baby

June 3, 2011 1 comment

Enter for a chance to win a copy on Goodreads!

About Bye Bye, Baby: It’s 1962, and Twentieth Century Fox is threatening to fire Marilyn Monroe. The blond goddess hires Nate Heller, private eye to the stars, to tap her phone so she will have a record of their calls in case they take her to court. When Heller starts listening, he uncovers far more than nasty conversations. The CIA, the FBI, the Mafia—even the Russians—are involved in actions focused on Marilyn. She’s the quintessential American cultural icon, idolized by women, desired by men, but her private life is… complicated…and her connection to the Kennedys makes her an object of interest to some parties with sinister intentions.

Not long after Heller signs on, Marilyn winds up dead of a convenient overdose. The detective feels he owes her, and the Kennedys, with whom he busted up corrupt unions in the 1950s. But now, as Heller investigates all possible people—famous, infamous, or deeply cloaked—who might be responsible for Marilyn’s death, he realizes that what has become his most challenging assignment may also be the end of him.

PI Nathan Heller returns in his first new novel in a decade, as Max Allan Collins brings to life a vivid star-studded cast, from JFK and RFK to Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford, from Jimmy Hoffa and Joe DiMaggio to Hugh Hefner and Sam Giancana. Bye Bye, Baby is a Hollywood tale you never thought could happen…but probably did.
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