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Ask Not (Nathan Heller) Hardcover – October 22, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The third in Collins’ trilogy of Nathan Heller novels about JFK, this one jumps from a few weeks before the assassination (Target Lancer, 2012), when a planned attempt on the president’s life in Chicago was aborted, to several months after the events of November 22, 1963. Heller becomes involved when he and his son are nearly run down as they leave a Beatles concert. Recognizing the driver as one of the Cubans involved in the Chicago plot, Heller sets out to take his family off the assassins’ radar and soon finds himself even deeper in hot water, as he follows the trail of a host of spurious suicides by witnesses of the shooting in Dallas whose versions of what happened conflict with the official, “one-man, one-shooter” version being promulgated by the Warren Commission. Teaming with TV star and investigative reporter Flo Kilgore (read Dorothy Kilgallen), who is on the verge of exposing the cover-up—and its ties to several LBJ cronies—Heller ruffles feathers at the CIA, in the Mob, and possibly even in (or very near) the White House. A master at thoroughly believable historical re-creations of unsolved or covered-up crimes, Collins is the perfect fiction writer to tackle the JFK assassination, and he does so brilliantly, working the edges of the story by focusing on the little-known raft of questionable suicides—all documented in the historical record—and making great use of the Kilgore/Kilgallen character, who was herself one of the unlikely suicides. Even readers who aren’t conspiracy theorists will find themselves utterly drawn into the story and convinced by Collins’ version of what happened. And, best of all, it’s a terrific detective novel, compelling and well constructed even without the historical connection. --Bill Ott


“Collins has not only devised an original take on what may well be the most-written-about crime in history but also made Heller's role in the case plausible.” ―Publishers Weekly on Target Lancer

Target Lancer brings us a different, fact-based assassination scenario, eerily paralleling the Dealey Plaza nightmare.” ―Kirkus Reviews on Target Lancer

“Collins spins a fascinating tale with appearances by Jack Ruby, Jimmy Hoffa, and Bobby Kennedy. Gripping from the get-go, this will satisfy both Heller fans and assassination wonks ever eager for a new spin on the story.” ―Booklist on Target Lancer

“Noir meets the History Channel―Collins effortlessly weaves his historical material into a fast-moving narrative.” ―Booklist on 'Bye Bye, Baby'

“Max Allan Collins can lay claim to being the master of true-crime fiction. . . a seamless juxtaposition of narrative cunning and historical cross-referencing.” ―Chicago Magazine

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Product Details

  • Series: Nathan Heller (Book 14)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1 edition (October 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076533626X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765336262
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,066,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Max Allan Collins is a New York Times bestselling author of original mysteries, a Shamus award winner and an experienced author of movie adaptions and tie-in novels. His graphic novel ROAD TO PERDITION was made into a major motion picture by Tom Hanks's production company, Playtone.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Max Collins has made a career of bringing conspiracy theories to life through the eyes of his creation, Nathan Heller: private eye to the stars.

Beginning in the 1930 and now into the 1960s, Nate Heller has found himself drawn into events transcending notable actions like the Lindbergh kidnapping, the Bugsy Siegle murder or even the Kennedy assassination. Collins' skill lies in connecting known facts and people and subsequently intertwining Heller and his associates among them.

In his most recent story, Heller jumps the recent killing of Kennedy to other issues the were percolating at time-- this time, the relationship of Lyndon Johnson and big money and that connection/relationship to JFK. Collins never openly declares that LBJ was involved directly in the president's murder, but "indirectly"...who is to say!

Here's what you can be assured of in a Collins-Heller novel: a fast-moving, historically connected tale; a well-written story that summarizes and leads you thru a labyrinth of actual events with a plausible conclusion; and characters and locations you can easily relate to. As a suggestion, this is the third story in a JFK trilogy Collins planned It's not necessary to have read "Bye, Bye Baby" or "Target Lancer" the other books around the Kennedy murder, but it simply helps with your understanding of how Heller gets involved in this historical situation.

The bottom line is this: Colin's is One of the best writers ever in this genre... Give yourself a treat and get acquainted.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It’s 1964. Beatlemania is sweeping the nation, and Chicago private eye Nate Heller is taking his son to see the group live onstage. Heller is working security for the group, and as a result, he gives his son one awesome birthday present when he brings him to meet the group and they sign a napkin for him. All in all, it was a terrific evening, even if the Beatles’ screaming fans threatened to permanently damage Heller’s hearing.

But I suppose something worse could happen. For instance, a car might try to run Heller and his son down, and damn near succeed at ridding the world of the feisty P.I. once and for all. But Heller’s son is too quick for the driver, and succeeds at getting his dad out of harm’s way. But Nate Heller got a look at the driver, and he’s pretty sure he recognizes him. It’s somebody that he dealt with almost a year ago, a Cuban who was connected with the plot to assassinate John F. Kennedy… in Chicago. The plot, described in detail in 2012’s "Target Lancer", was ultimately foiled, but didn’t do much good: Kennedy met his death in Dallas a few weeks later, and the supposed assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was killed two days later by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby.

The Warren Commission is about to conclude that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone assassin, an anti-Kennedy, pro-Castro maniac who decided to kill the President and managed to do so. But due to his involvement in foiling the Chicago attempt on Kennedy’s life, Heller knows that the truth is far more complicated. He suspects that, due to his knowledge, some people in power might consider him a “loose end” that needs to be tidied up. He investigates, and discovers that all sorts of “loose ends” are being cleaned up.
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Format: Hardcover
Ask Not by Max Allan Collins

Some years back, Collins decided to try something audacious even for a gifted writer. Collins created a fictional character (Detective Nathan Heller) and injected this fictional character into twentieth century history, including having Heller work on the Lindbergh kidnapping, work with Elliot Ness and the Untouchables, become involved with Chicago gangster Nitty, and volunteer, along with his buddy, Barney Ross, to fight in the Pacific Theater in World War II. In the hands of a lesser writer, the Nathan Heller books would have become a laughable comedy, but somehow Collins has managed to create a fictional man who interacts with real historical figures and it works.

The best of the Nathan Heller series is a series of three books that Heller has written about President Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, including: (1) Bye Bye Baby about the last days of Ms. Monroe's life and the mysterious things about her tragic end, which seemed to also involve connections to the Mob and to the Kennedy brothers; (2) Target Lancer about an attempted JFK assassination in Chicago weeks before the Dallas tragedy and the links to anti-Castro groups and Jack Ruby and others; and (3) the lastest Nathan Heller masterpiece: Ask Not, which is about the Kennedy assassination in Dallas.

Yes, there have already been a few other books written about the Kennedy assassination and one or two of them are actually worth reading, but none will take the reader deep into the mysteries surrounding the assassination as this one does. It begins by setting the time period. The Beatles are playing and Heller is providing security and manages to get his teenage son Harrison's autograph on a napkin that the son clutches until the two walk outside and are almost run down by a car.
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