Book Review: Quarry’s Cut by Max Allan Collins


Quarry’s Cut is the fourth book in the Quarry series by Max Allan Collins. This one is an interesting installment in the series, but we will get to this in a minute. This story starts with pure coincidence…or is it? Quarry is eating dinner at his favorite local restaurant, when he looks out the frosted window to see his ex-partner getting gas. When he finds his ex-partner, Turner, is renting a room that has a view of Quarry’s little A-frame home on the lake, Quarry thinks he is Turner’s next hit. Though this might be enough for a short, under 200 page novel, you would be wrong.

Quarry soon enters a porn shoot and things seem to degenerate into a classic 70’s or 80’s slasher movie plot. In fact this book was originally titled Slasher. On reading this I figured Collins was inspired by movies like Halloween and the slasher films that followed, but since this book was published in 1977, a year before the release of Halloween, I would be wrong. Maybe he was inspired by the Italian giallo films of the early 1970’s and threw his hitman Quarry in the middle of one of these film plots to stir things up?

Collins hits on a number of topics in this book, like a homosexual romantic triangle, a serial killer, the porn industry and let’s not forget hired hitmen. This is a bit weaker book then the first three Quarry books, but no less entertaining and worth reading. It is a fun pulp noir that probably was a lot fresher back in 1977. A must read for Quarry fans and I can not wait to start a new Quarry book soon and looking forward to the new television series!

Book Review: Quarry’s Deal by Max Allan Collins


Thanks to the new Cinemax TV series and Hard Case Crime, the first 5 books in the Quarry Series is becoming available again. This is the third book in the series and the fourth one I have read so far. This book has just recently been re-released and the next one will come out next month.

This book is as all of the Quarry books is told in the first person from Quarry’s point of view. It is fun to learn what is going on as our hero does. Quarry is a professional hitman who used to work for the Broker. If you have read the first two books you know what happens there. The last book is called Quarry’s List, and without giving away any spoilers, Quarry’s List leads him to a woman that goes by Ivy or Lu or Glenna. Lu is a professional assassin as well and Quarry has tracked her down to a swinging singles apartment complex in Florida. Soon it looks like Lu is on her way to the Mid-West and Quarry is on her tail to see what her assignment is. Does Lu know Quarry is also a professional killer? Will Quarry figure out who her partner is and who her target is? Will he stop her?

Max Allan Collins does it again with this book. This book is pure 60’s pulp fun! With all the pop culture references and Collins’ great turn of words makes for a fun read with a good story. Lu is a bit of a femme fatale, or is she? Her friend Ruthy is definitely a man eater.

I truly love all the Quarry books so far and cannot wait to start the next one. I hope the television series is as good as the books. If it is, I believe a lot of people will discover this series and even prompt Collins to write more of these books.


Book Review: Quarry’s List by Max Allan Collins


Quarry is coming to Cinemax in the form of a new television series! Because of this, Hard Case Crime is re-issuing all the classic books by Max Allan Collins. These books are from the 1970’s and follow the exploits of Quarry, a Vet who has returned from Vietnam, but some of Vietnam has stayed with him. Not able to get a regular job, Quarry has become a professional hitman.

This book, the second in the series, takes place 4 or 5 month after the events of the first book. Because of those events Quarry is relaxing at his lake house when two professional hitmen come to his house to kill Quarry. Quarry of course survives, but he needs to find out who sent these killers and why. An old partner of Quarry’s is the only lead he has.

This book has a beautiful blond, is she a femme fatale? We also get one of Quarry’s ex-partners that is an entertaining character, I hope he shows up in future books. There is also a mob lawyer who seems to have a piece to the puzzle Quarry is trying to solve. This is another fun book in this enjoyable series. A series worth checking out for any noir fiction fan.

I highly recommend you read Quarry, the first book in this series, before you read this one. This is a direct sequel to that book and knowing the events of the first book will make this book that much more enjoyable. Here is my review of Quarry:

I must say, I am loving this series so far and look forward to continuing to read the books and also looking forward to the new T.V. series coming soon.


Favorite Tidbit: The new edition of this book by Hard Case Crime has an afterword by Collins where he talks about when these books where first printed, the publisher picked the titles.  Quarry was titled The Broker and this book was titled The Broker’s Wife(the title is a bit of a spoiler). He never liked these titles and re-named them with the titles they go by today on subsequent printings.


Book Review: Quarry


Quarry is the first book in the Quarry series by Max Allan Collins. I got hooked on this series by reading The First Quarry. Read my full review of that book here:

The First Quarry is the 8th book in this series, but it is a prequel. After reading that book, reading this book felt like a sequel in every way. Quarry takes place quite a few years after The First Quarry and our main character is more seasoned. This book is told in the first person by Quarry. An important character, The Broker shows up in this story as well.

The story starts with Quarry having to do a hit on a man dressed as a priest in an airport. He is told to take the package the man is carrying, making the hit less then easy. Quarry doesn’t know what is in the package, but after the task is done, he finds out it is a large quantity of heroin. This not being what Quarry signed up for, he is a little upset being assigned the job by The Broker. He is soon sent by The Broker to finish up a job, his partner Boyd is already working on.

With his trust with The Broker on the rocks and his relationship with his partner, Boyd strained. Quarry is looking for a change. When what looks to be a simple hit turns into the death of his partner Boyd, things really heat up.


In the Hard Case Edition of this book, there is a nice afterword from Collins. He talks how he started writing this book in college. It is a pretty great book from a very young author. This being published in 1976 and The First Quarry being published much later, in 2008, you can see some progression in Collins’ writing style. I particularly enjoyed the humor in the newer book. Not that Quarry doesn’t have humor in it, it just isn’t as well timed and polished as the newer work. In this Afterword, Collins talks about his mentor Donald E. Westlake and how he used the Parker character of Westlake’s books written as Richard Stark as inspiration.

I can definitely see the similarities between Parker and Quarry, but a different classic noir book came to mind while reading this. With Quarry feeling like he must find and avenge his partner, even though he doesn’t like his partner, reminded me of the plot line of The Maltese Falcon. Though Quarry and Sam Spade are very different in many ways, they also have some similar attributes. Both are tough as nails and loyal to a fault. So if a hitman that feels like a mix of Sam Spade and Parker with some amazing pulp writing from the 1970’s sounds like a great idea, you are right and this is the book for you. With the new television series starting soon, I look forward to reading more books before the pilot airs.


Book Review: The First Quarry by Max Allan Collins

The First Quarry by Max Allan Collins is not the first Quarry book in the series, I know, that don’t make any sense. This book was published in 2008, the first book, simply titled Quarry was published in 1976. This book is actually the 8th book in the series, but is a throwback in time to Quarry’s first assignment. It is a kind of origin story if you will. This was published by Hard Case Crime, a publishing house which has brought back forgotten classics as well as new books from some of the best authors in the noir and crime fiction genres.

Even though this is not the first Quarry book, it is the first one I have read. I usually don’t like to read books out-of-order, but this was on sale and I could not pass it up. I figured since it is Quarry’s first case, it would be all new to me anyway and wouldn’t hurt the enjoyment of the book. Boy was I right! This book is pure pulp noir goodness!

This story starts with a young man coming back from ‘Nam and finding his wife in bed with another man. This man goes to visit his wife’s lover and finds him working under his car. The car falls on the man killing him. Soon this young man is contacted by The Broker who gives this young man the name Quarry. The Broker sets Quarry up as a paid assassin and assigns Quarry his first job. He must kill a fairly famous author who is also a professor at a Mid-West college. This is not a simple hit, he must also destroy all copies of the book the professor is currently working on after killing him. It gets even more complicated as Quarry runs into a number of people who get in the way of his job.

The only thing I was previously familiar with of Max Allan Collins’ work was from watching Road to Perdition based on Collins’ graphic novel of the same name. I thoroughly enjoyed that film and have been looking forward to enjoying his work since, I just wish I didn’t wait so long to do it. Here is my review of that film:

This book was a fun read with some great humor and an amazing story with a character I cannot get enough of. I cannot wait to start reading this series from the beginning. I think if Raymond Chandler was writing today, it would read a lot like Collins. I highly recommend this book for people looking for some fun modern pulp and you will soon be seeing my review of the first book in the series, Quarry. I hope to get as many of these Quarry books read before the new television series starts on Cinemax next year and look forward to watching the 8 episode first season.

Re-watching the Classics: Road to Perdition


Road to Perdition started as a graphic novel by noir author Max Allan Collins.  Max Allan Collins has written many books and worked on television shows and movies over the years.  The film is directed by Sam Mendes and is his second film, after American Beauty and is currently directing the James Bond movies, also starring Daniel Craig.  I haven’t watched this film since it was in theaters, it was the only Paul Newman film I ever saw in a theater sadly.

This was Conrad L. Hall’s last film, he won an Oscar for this film as well as 2 others.  He was nominated for another 7 films through out his career, his career included a number of classic neo-noir films. This has a lot of great classic noir shots thanks to Hall. This is also historic for being the last film Paul Newman starred in.  Newman plays John Rooney and Craig plays his son Connor Rooney.  The Rooney’s are based on real life gangsters by the name of Looney.  This story is also based loosely on actual events of an enforcer going rogue on the Looneys.

Tom Hanks plays that rogue enforcer, Michael Sullivan.  Who goes on the run after his son Michael Junior played by Tyler Hoechlin witness a gang land slaying.

Jude Law’s character used a lot of famous photographs from famed crime scene photographer Arthur ‘Weegee’ Fellig.  Fellig is portrayed by Joe Pesci in the film “The Public Eye”(I have not seen this film yet) and his first book of photographs inspired the classic film-noir “The Naked City”(great film and hope to re-watch this classic and post about it in the future) and its subsequent television series.

Stanley Tucci plays real life mobster Frank Nitti.  Nitti was the right hand man of Al Capone, though Capone is mentioned numerous times in the film, he never makes an on-screen appearance.

Road to Perdition is about 2 sets of fathers and sons, I recently noticed that the father-son dynamic is something more prevalent in today’s noir and not that common in the classic era of film-noir.  Has anybody else picked up on this theme? I loved this movie when I seen it in the theater 13 years ago and still love it.  If you haven’t seen it, search it out, if you haven’t seen it in a while, re-watch it again.