Wednesday 22 May 2013



Max Allan Collins's professional heist man Nolan takes on a treacherous backwoods family. Classic hard-boiled Collins, back in print with a new Introduction by the author.

Short, sharp, enjoyable, interesting and entertaining.

Still wasn’t the best book I have ever read, but I’m relishing these outings with Nolan and his young-sidekick Jon. Jon is trying to close up his uncle’s antique shop, which had been successfully used as a front and control centre for the various scams and heists Jon’s uncle – Planner used to arrange. Planner was killed in the last instalment which saw Nolan and Jon unsuccessfully try to recover the $800,000 they had heisted in book 1.

 You still following me? 

Nolan’s still at peace with the Family, still hooked up with the same girlfriend, who has just gone home for the summer. He’s still managing the same Family business and he’s getting restless.

Jon’s still in the same awkward relationship with his 10-years-older than him girlfriend and her annoying son. One night, Jon is disturbed by Breen - another guy who makes his living outside the law. Breen’s been running a scam on parking meters and has been crossed by his partner, the cantankerous and dangerous Sam Comfort. Instead of his $12k cut, Comfort’s sent him on his way with a hail of lead and a couple of bullet wounds. Breen, unaware of Planner’s demise, instead finds himself reliant on Jon to assist him.

Nolan and Jon hook up again with a plan to relieve Comfort of his ill-gotten gains and improve their cash-flow situation.

In the mean-time, Collins has a separate story strand in play involving Carol and Ken, a married couple a bit down on their luck after losing their savings in a land and property scam in Florida. Ken is bitter and determined to get back on track by any means possible, which as he’s a bit of a handyman, in this case involves constructing a bomb and executing a plane hijacking  à la D.B. Cooper.

This 3rd book in the series has an exciting finale when Ken, Nolan and Jon cross paths.

More enjoyable than the first two in the series, I’m looking forward to the fourth in the series next month – Hush Money.

4 stars out of 5.

I bought this one a month or so ago on Amazon for Kindle.



  1. Col - I always respect an author who leaves enough unanswered in one book to make you want to move on to the next without leaving you frustrated. And this one sounds like an interesting mix of personal-life story arc and main story plot. Glad you enjoyed it.

    1. Margot, yes very enjoyable. This is turning into one of my favourite series, plus he gets the job done in less than 200 pages, which is a plus for me! Published in 1981 originally, when did people start writing really long books?

  2. Col, your last question about "really long books" hits a nerve. I enjoy books from about 200 pages to 300 pages, longer than 350 and I get irritated. But that is another subject.

    I just got a recent book from the Nate Heller series (Bye Bye, Baby) and have the first one so I am going to read one or the other sometime soon. And look for others to try. (Both of those are over 300, I think.)

    1. I think with anything over 350, definitely 400, I'm sort of defeated before I start. I always have the nagging feeling, I could have read 2 others in the same period of time. I will read longer books, but try and avoid them until a holiday or long weekend. I don't reckon its anything to do with a short-attention span, just a feeling that my time is limited and I want to cram the most into it.