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The First Quarry
Max Allan Collins
Hard Case Crime 2008
204 pages paperback

Hard boiled crime novel writer Max Allan Collins also has a sense of humor. The novel about the first quarry of Quarry, his hit hit man character, is titled The First Quarry. Add to this the killer’s first … target is a Creative Writing professor at the U of Iowa and there is something about a crime story manuscript. You do not have to be familiar with the Quarry series to enjoy this crime novel.

Quarry is a recent Vietnam vet at loose ends when a sharp-dressed man, the Broker, comes into his life. Fifty grand up front for services to be rendered ensures Quarry will work for the operation. The Broker promises each hit will have been well-researched by an advance man so as to make things as risk-free as possible. Of course, it that were the case, there would be no crime novel. There also has to be a dame, or two, or three, and Max Allan Collins has come up with a solid leading gal for this story though he keeps her in the wings for a while.

I appreciate thrillers whose pages turn themselves and all a reader has to do is go along for the ride. The First Quarry is one such book. Quarry is an immediately interesting character and Collins wastes no time giving a reader the feeling he is in good hands. Even when things get a bit complicated and events take surprising turns, as they must, Collins, unlike some recent mystery novels that have crossed my path, doesn’t muddy the water so everything is easy to track.

The only problem with The First Quarry by Max Allan Collins is it will make you want to read the other hardboiled crime novels in the series.