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Flying Blind: A Novel of Amelia Earhart (Nathan Heller Novels) Hardcover – August 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Nathan Heller Novels
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult; First Edition edition (August 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525943110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525943112
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Now it was the next morning and the gas was in the plane. The tall, slender woman I'd lusted after the night before was standing next to me on the tarmac, near her ship, buckling a tan helmet under her chin, flashing me that gap-toothed grin she hid from photographers...." The woman, of course, is Amelia Earhart, and the man describing her is Nate Heller, ex-Chicago cop and private detective to the rich and famous. One of the most original characters in the historical mystery area, Max Allan Collins's Heller has jousted with Al Capone, helped out Clarence Darrow, and probed the killing of Huey Long--taking all his cases very personally. But a bad experience with a sadistic Charles Lindbergh has left him leery of flying, and it will take all of Earhart's charm to get him into a plane from St. Louis to Albuquerque, and then to Los Angeles. It's 1935, and Heller has been hired by Amelia's husband (the conniving publisher G.P. Putnam) to both guard her body and search out possible lovers on a book tour. A warm relationship grows up between the flyer and the detective, and when Earhart disappears a few years later, an overage Heller enlists in the Marines to search for her on the island of Saipan. The story is framed by scenes of a retired Nate in 1970 being persuaded to revisit Saipan by a persistent Earhart researcher, and the conclusions that Collins offers about her fate are as convincing as they are moving and exciting. --Dick Adler

From Publishers Weekly

Blending solid research with reasoned speculation and adding fictional enhancements has proven to be a highly successful formula for eight Nate Heller mysteries, which have explored fascinating events like the Lindbergh kidnapping (Stolen Away, 1991) and the assassination of Huey Long (Blood and Thunder, 1995). In 1970, Chicago-based PI Heller is enjoying semi-retirement in Florida when he's approached by a wealthy Texan interested in making yet another attempt to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. This narrative reveals the truth about the disappearance of the world's most famous aviatrix as only Heller knows it, having been hired in 1935 by Earhart's husband, G.P. Putnam, to provide security for one of Earhart's triumphant appearances (this one at Marshall Field's to launch a new line of clothing she had designed). Heller, who became friends with Earhart, agrees to help the curious Texan, and the result is an entertaining and provocative look at Earhart's career and personal life and the "true" story of her ill-fated round-the-world flight in 1937. As usual, Collins provides a final chapter that provides a useful bibliography of source materials and other credits.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

If you do not know this series-well, you have just found your summer reads!
Matthew J MacKay
The story develops a very likley scenario set in an accurate historical background complete with well known names and places.
Amazon Customer
It will definitely give you a view of Amelia Earhart that you don't get from most accounts of her life.
EpicFehlReader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ken R on October 18, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having read all of Collins' Nate Heller casebooks, I would rank this one as fitting into the top 5 or so. Not as snappy as the early Chicago-based ones and certainly nowhere close to the pinacle of the series Stolen Away (about the Lindbergh kidnapping), this book still has all of the best features of these books: Great background, terrific characters, funny dialogue, ample sex (using charmingly veiled language without lapsing into cute-ness), and a plausible plot that finds our man in the midst of one of the 20th Centuries best mysteries. If you haven't read a Heller book, seek out True Crime and True Detective, then jump to Stolen Away and then come here. You'll be glad you did.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By sdelmonte@aol.com on April 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It's been a while since I've read a Nathan Heller novel. I loved "Stealing Away" and enjoyed the others I've read, but I figured that the more we saw, the harder it would be to swallow just how many famous mysteries Heller was involved in. And that's what happened here, especially since Heller is far more involved with Amelia Earhart than he's ever been with a client or a victim.
That involvement colored the rest of the book in a way that was a bit more cynical than usual and that made Heller a lot harder to take. I appreciate that the speculation about history's truth is just that, and that we can disregard the whole thing, but Heller's love for "Amy" makes almost every other character in a position of authority seem sordid if not evil. The result is a rather simplistic narrative. That Collins would treat Huey Long with more sympathy than any effort to spy on Japan in preparation for the inevitable war is perpelxing.
This is still a fun read, but it's just not the same as the earlier works. And after you've had your hero sleep with Amelia Earhart, what's next? Eleanor Roosevelt?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 13, 1998
Format: Hardcover
By 1970, the former head of the Chicago based A-1 Detective Agency, Nathan Heller, enjoys retirement in Florida. However, his idyll relaxation ends when he meets the Texan, J.T. "Buddy" Busch. The Texan offers an opportunity for the sixty-four year old Nathan to finally learn what truly happened to his old friend, Amelia Earhart, who disappeared over the horizon over three decades ago. Nathan cannot resist looking for the aviator, who he provided security for back in 1935. Thus, Nathan steps out of retirement and begins his greatest quest of all: to learn what happened to Ms. Earhart.
The ninth novel in the Heller historical mystery series is a great tale that brilliantly blends fact and reasonable speculation into a wonderful fiction novel. The research is obviously meticulous and adds authenticity to the novel, proving that Max Allan Collins is not FLYING BLIND with this tale, which ought to be required reading for history students. Nathan remains refreshing and charming, and the support cast, especially Amelia, is a welcome addition to the book. Mr. Collins is clearly one of the top writers of historical mysteries and fans of the sub-genre should read all nine Heller books for some of the best mysteries on the market today.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Susan Halm (cshalm@flash.net) on October 19, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Max Allan Collins has written a delicious take on one of the 20th century's greatest mysteries, the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. Collins has probed deeply for the facts and theories behind this still-fascinating event, and has constructed a meticulous piece of prose that manages to encompass ALL known theories in some fashion, even fashioning attributing real heroism to the little-known Fred Noonan, Amelia's navigator and companion on that last flight. The characters themselves behave just as we imagine they should, given what we know of their actual personalities. Not only is this a page-turner, it's hard to find a moment that does not ring true historically. As an author of an Earhart biography myself, I am astonished and delighted with Collins' entry into the field. If you're not an Earhart buff before reading this book, you sure will be when you're done!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John J. Raspanti on February 24, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The title could be 'Swept Away' as the writer sweeps you into a another place and time. His use of real people in history is fasinating, and by inserting his fictional 'hero' Nathan Heller, a cynical former Chicago cop, into these people's live's a sign of real writing ability. Nathan gets involved ( in more ways then one) with Amelia Earhart. He's hired by Amelia's husband to watch over her and to try to figure out who is sending her threatening notes. Sounds simple enough, but as the tale unfolds, and things begin to unravel for Nate, nothing is as simple as it first appears. The writing is crisp and biting, the historical character's alive and human. Highly recomended...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Apple on March 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like to read mysteries but sometimes I tire of main characters who are witty, handsome, and able to do everything without breaking a sweat. Flying Blind is the first Nathan Heller novel that I have read and I enjoyed it immensely. I particularly enjoyed the authors research and the skillful incorporation of bits and pieces of information about Amelia into the story that are not common knowledge. It takes great skill and talent to keep the novel fresh and engrossing when the fate of the real life character is so well known. This book inspired me to find two biographies of Amelia Earhart to learn more. To me this is the hallmark of a really good story. And, much to my surprise, the day I finished Flying Blind I heard the news story that the location of Amelia Earhart's downed plane may have been found. An expedition is being prepared that will use the most up to date underwater archeological equipment available in an effort to find the plane and, perhaps, solve part of the mystery of Amelia.
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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.

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