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Majic Man (Nathan Heller Novels) Hardcover – August 30, 1999

36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Paranoia overruns rather than creeps into Chicago PI Nathan Heller's 10th historical case (Flying Blind, etc.). In 1949, longtime client James Forrestal, the outgoing U.S. secretary of defense, believes himself the target of Communist forces within the federal government who have him under personal and electronic surveillance. He hires Heller to prove it shortly before his enforced resignation, afraid that "I've betrayed my country by trying to serve it." Forrestal is being watched by a number of parties who want to exploit Heller's proximity and keep a lid on some undefined intelligence. Conspiracies nest like Russian dolls, involving the U.S. government, the Haganah (the underground Zionist defense organization), a ruthless national columnist and the famous 1947 incident in Roswell, N.M., where a UFO allegedly crashed. The lunatic effect is not lost on Heller, who muses: "Weren't Commies, Zionists, and Nazis enough? Must I add spacemen to the list?" Collins overloads the book with references (Sinatra, Truman, Capone). He needn't have bothered. Heller possesses a refreshingly gritty underside, reflected in a past that encompasses a stay in a psychiatric ward, perjury and sensitive casework for the highest levels of society and government. There's magic of a literary kind here: full-bore suspense coupled with an ingenious take on an overworked pop-historical touchstone. (Sept.) FYI: Two previous novels in the Nathan Heller series, Damned in Paradise and Stolen Away, have won Shamus Awards for Best Novel of the Year.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Set in 1949, this tenth novel in the series combines politics and mystery as Nathan Heller, a Chicago detective, attempts to find out who wants a Washington, DC, politician dead and why the case may be connected to UFO sightings in Roswell, NM. Essential for series fans.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Nathan Heller Novels
  • Hardcover: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult; First Edition edition (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525945156
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525945154
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,662,224 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Jordan on March 6, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love the Nathan Heller Series. I find the blend of fiction with actual events to be great reading. The research into the past that Collins does makes the books totally credible. He is an author on my buy in hardcover list.
In this book we are taken to Roswell, and we follow Nate while he investigates the UFO rumors. As usual, we get to meet some real people from the past, and it's great fun.
Nate is a man's man, and a stereotypical PI of the times. And reading it is a real joy. And the beauty of this series is that you can read it out of order.
So don't wait, dive in!!!
Jon
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steve Richardson on June 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Nate Heller may have been at his best in the gangster era Chicago, but he's aging well and still coming up with imaginative "solutions" to the great historical mysteries he gets involved with. I just hope Nate has reason to be in Dallas in November 1963, he should be able to come up with a good story on that conspiracy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Karl Largent on November 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Max Allan Collins latest, "MAJIC MAN" is a great read. Mr. Collins' ability to weave his detective hero, Nate Heller, into the fabric of what happened at Roswell is impressive.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 31, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In 1949, a weary Secretary of Defense James Forrestal knows he must resign, but before he does, he hires his long term friend, private investigator Nathan Heller. Forrestal wants Nathan to determine if communist elements of the federal government have targeted him for special surveillance and perhaps intend to murder him.
Nathan begins his inquiries that lead him to the Majestic Twelve, a strange but deadly militia with a conspiratorial plan. Other radical groups with specific agendas also surface. However, the investigation takes a wild twist as the alleged UFO incident at Roswell, New Mexico keeps surfacing. As Nathan tries to figure out what the threats to Forrestal have to do with an alien spacecraft, he runs into silence and roadblocks. It is obvious that someone want him to drop the case.
MAJIC MAN is a superb entry in the wonderful Heller historical mystery series. The intermingling of real persona and events within a fast-paced story line brings home the paranoia that shaped the toddler years of the baby boomers. The Roswell theory developed by Max Allan Collins is plausible and should interest individuals who devour any reference to 1947 New Mexico. Mr. Collins will probably attain best seller status as well as critical acclaim and awards for his tenth Heller tale.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Collins is a quality writer as always, but this series was more interesting when it was realistic. The Nitti Trilogy (True Detective, True Crime, and The Million Dollar Wound) rank among the best detective novels of all time in my view. And "Neon Mirage" is a fine novel period.
The publishers should leave Collins alone, and not push him to write only about famous incidents and people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Book woman on June 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this novel, especially since I live in NM and hear lots of Roswell alien stories. I'd read the first in the series, True Detective, before reading this later book. Max Allan Collins really does his research homework, so both novels are filled with very accurate information. And that's the problem. TMI. Collins evidently feels that if he found historical tidbits, he has to include them in the plot. Consequently, there are some very long, loaded sentences, crammed with extraneous information. While I was reading Majic Man, I was reminded of Hemingway's credo that if you know something, you don't necessarily have to write it. So if you want to overdose on historical facts and trivia, and have the free time to enjoy the excesses, Collins' books are a good way to learn about historical events and discover his imaginative ways of suggesting solutions to real life mysteries, then by all means, read this series. But don't expect to whip through the novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Life Examined on December 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read many, many Max Allen Collins books. He truly is a superb, concise writer who loosely "teaches" history in his novels. But, this book lacked the Collins sparkle. I read for as long as I could and, then, stored it away.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Nathan Heller series features a retired PI's autobiographical memoirs and each stanza relates to some notable aspect of popular (American) history wrapped up in a speculative mystery. As a whole they're fun, fast-paced and entertaining works. Majic Man is no different, but because of its subject-matter it's a tad more heavily written than its stable companions.

This time Nathan H goes back to the 1940's and becomes involved in a fairly complicated game of double-blind goings-on with everyone from senior DC denizens, to the CIA through to flying saucers coming down over Roswell, NM. As is always the case, Nate eventually unpicks all the threads and is shown to apply a keen Occam's Razor to events which otherwise appear fantastic and implausible. But, of course, he's either sworn to secrecy or is so implicated that only now dare he speak of such things....

I've rated this 4-stars: Satisfactory-Plus. One star off because the political context required considerable exposition (a bit dry) and the overall setting is likely to have its greatest appeal to U.S. readers...and I'm not an American.
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