Monday 18 March 2013


Synopsis/blurb.... part review from somewhere on the web......

In Bait Money, Nolan is on the run from the mob, having left the organization after killing the brother of higher-up mafioso Charlie and making off with his money. Aging and looking to retire from his life of crime, Nolan attempts a deal with one of his remaining mob connections, and Charlie makes him a bargain: pay $100,000 in under a week. So, to pay off Charlie, Nolan sets off on the quintessential Last Big Heist, along with Jon, the nephew of his info contact, and some other amateurs. It’s a wonderful experiment in watching crime happen, with some great planning and a lot of lead-up. Normally, this can be a seriously tedious exercise, but Collins manages to make it work through some reoccurring characters and a cast of trouble: an ex-football star turned Mafia hitman, the angered doorman of Nolan’s last contact, and a lot of sex, drugs, and drama between the amateurs.

I’ve read a lot of Richard Stark’s excellent Parker books through the years. This offering from Collins written back in the 70’s was written as part homage to Westlake’s alter-ego creation. That said by the time he knocked out another 5 or 6 Nolan books, he had wilfully transgressed into rip-off territory; something he himself readily admits.

I can see similarities between the two characters, though for me Parker usurps Nolan in the tough guy stakes – leaner and meaner; more prone to viciousness without an ounce of compassion or any regrets.

The book was fast-paced, with a fair amount of violence and to be truthful I enjoyed it more than I anticipated having previously read a few reviews and comments from some fellow crime fiction aficionados on Goodreads.  I enjoy the variety of sub-genres within the crime fiction field and a decent heist book makes a change from police procedurals and PI novels. Nowhere near the best book I have ever read, but it was also far from the worst.

3 from 5.

I bought this double edition from Amazon website last month so will hopefully read the second instalment Blood Money next month.   


  1. I couldn't agree more about how nice it can be from time to time to read something a bit different to one's usual fare. I'll confess I'm not usually one to reach for a book that features a 'lean, mean ex-Mob machine' kind of protagonist. But heist stories can be absorbing and as you say, it's an interesting alternative to PI/police novels. Thanks for highlighting this one.

  2. Margot, thanks for stopping by. Yes it was enjoyable and a bit of a change. I don't necessarily feel that every book I read needs to rock me, sometimes its enough to feel entertained without being shaken or stirred. This one ticked that box for me.