Friday, 17 July 2015

MAX ALLAN COLLINS - HUSH MONEY (1981)


Synopsis/blurb….

Someone is targeting crooked businessmen for death, and the Chicago Family turns to Nolan for help. Max Allan Collins's hard-boiled Nolan crime novels, steeped in Vietnam-era cynicism, are back in print with new Introductions by the author.

Back in 2013, I started reading Max Allan Collins and his Nolan series, though I got side-tracked after about 3 books. Hush Money is the fourth in the series.

Best book ever? No, but I enjoyed it.

From memory of the previous books, Nolan is a thief-cum-heister who had a falling out with the mob which led to a bit of a war and Nolan being on their hit-list for a number of years. This situation is now resolved and Nolan manages a hotel for them and is kind of living life at a slower pace though boredom is setting in.

Nolan appears about a third of the way into this book. (I was kind of getting concerned that he was going to show up at all!) Someone has been targeting a mob family and taking them out one by one, in revenge for we don’t know what at this stage.

Nolan is brought in to resolve the situation, so business can carry on as usual.

Great characters, maybe not as much action as in previous books though I could be wrong. There’s an interesting dynamic between Nolan and his young side-kick John – friendship? Probably more of a father-son, mentoring type-thing, with John the comic book collector always seeking to handle himself in ways that impress Nolan, without being too obvious about it.

Is it just me or are criminals generally more interesting people to read about than straight Joe’s?

Decent resolution, which offers interesting possibilities for the direction of the next book – Hard Cash which also appeared in the same year as this – 1981.

There's an interesting 2012 intro from the author, which sheds some light on the origins and history of the series with a tasty tit-bit mentioning some irritation and a little bit of friction from Don Pendleton who was a little bit sore about Nolan. (Nolan incidentally pre-dated Bolan, at least from a writing date, if perhaps not in print.)

Pendleton had his Mack Bolan - Executioner series on the go, in which Mack Bolan has his own holy war with the mafia. I did read the first of his books fairly recently - War Against the Mafia.

I know which of the two I prefer and which I'll be reading more from. Roll on August - Hard Cash awaits me!
Groovy man - the author a decade or two ago!

The full Nolan series is as follows: (click on any of the first three for a link to my earlier reviews)
4. Hush Money (1981)
5. Hard Cash (1981)
6. Scratch Fever (1982)
7. Spree (1987)
8. Mourn the Living (1988)
  
Max Allan Collins is the author of several zillion books including the Nate Heller series and another with an outlaw - Quarry - a hitman. The Quarry books are lined up and ready to roll-on once I've finished with Nolan.
Max Allan's website is here. He's on Twitter - @MaxAllanCollins 

Hush Money was bought for kindle a few years ago.


17 comments:

  1. Thanks for this. Nolan's first name is not "Frank," by the way. He has no known first name, like Richard Stark's Parker, to whom he and I owe much. The Frank thing started with the original publication of BAIT MONEY and BLOOD MONEY by Curtis Books in 1973, when some nameless editor added the first name to the cover copy of both books.

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    1. Wow - Max thanks for dropping by and for the correction re Frank. Just goes to show, I shouldn't believe all I read - I'll make a correction. Plain old NOLAN sounds more enigmatic by itself!

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  2. You ask an interesting question, Col, about criminals. Sometimes they really are fascinating characters. To be honest, some criminals aren't interesting at all. But there are those whose characters are well-developed, where you can really see there's more to them than just thief/hit man, etc.. Glad you enjoyed this.

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    1. Margot you're right. A specific career path be it lawful or unlawful doesn't necessarily imbue a character with qualities that make them interesting in their own right.....relationships, mind-set, decision-making, decisiveness, a certain code of behaviour....all form a part of the whole....... along with numerous other factors!

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  3. I’ve enjoyed Collins’ work, but need to catch up on a few of his books.

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    1. I've only tried the Nolan books so far, and will read Quarry also. There's too many to keep pace with, unfortunately - Nate Heller series looks good, but the series is about 18 books long and the first in it is nearly 500 pages long - I don't think I have the time!

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  4. That is one long-running, hard-working author! and I like the sound of Nolan - as you say, the bad guys are always more interesting.....

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    1. Moira - he's a writing machine. If you look him up on his website or Fantastic Fiction - he's Mr Prolific!

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  5. I am sure I have said this before, here, but this is an author I need to read. But I want to start with True Detective, and also maybe try some of the Eliot Ness series, or the Disaster series. So much to choose from.

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    1. Agreed - there's a lot of choice. I looked up True Detective - it seems very good, an interesting blend of history and fiction and real-life figures.

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  6. I haven't read any of these, alas. Guess I should get round to it.

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  7. oops, forgot to tick the liddle bawx. sub

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  8. Col, I didn't know the Nolan series pre-dated Bolan in any way and I can see the similarity between the two war machines. I'm going to look for some of Max Allan Collins' novels.

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    1. According to the intro, Max Allan wrote the first of them (Mourn the Living) in 67 and Bait Money was drafted in 68. Publication dates for both were 88 and 73, for a variety of reasons.

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