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Target Lancer (Nathan Heller) Hardcover – November 27, 2012

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Discover the Captivating World of Max Allan Collins
Max Allan Collins is the New York Times best-selling author of Road to Perdition and multiple award-winning novels, screenplays, comic books, and more. Browse his mysteries and thrillers.

Product Details

  • Series: Nathan Heller (Book 14)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; First Edition edition (November 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765321807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765321800
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,363,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

For all the voluminous research that has been conducted concerning what really happened on November 22, 1963, there has been virtually no attention paid to the failed assassination attempt of JFK in Chicago on November 2. Leave it to the indefatigable Collins, whose Nathan Heller novels have posited credible alternative theories on the Lindbergh kidnapping, the death of Marilyn Monroe, and numerous other headline-grabbing crimes, to seize on the Chicago story. Naturally, Chicago PI Heller lands in the middle of the action, recruited by the FBI to investigate the chatter surrounding Kennedy’s planned visit and a publicized parade through the Loop in early November. The trip was canceled at the last minute but not before, in Collins’ telling, assassins were in place in a building much like the Texas School Book Depository, and an Oswald-like patsy was in position to take the fall. Basing much of his story on the historical record, Collins spins a fascinating tale, with appearances by Jack Ruby (an old West Side acquaintance of Heller’s), Jimmy Hoffa, and Bobby Kennedy, among others. Gripping from the get-go, this will satisfy both Heller fans and assassination wonks ever eager for a new spin on the story. --Bill Ott


Praise for Bye Bye, Baby:

“A whirlwind tour of the story surrounding Marilyn Monroe’s untimely demise as it might have been covered in the garish pages of Confidential magazine, or by TMZ for that matter, with more grit than George Baxt’s Hollywood mysteries.”  —Library Journal

“Collins convincingly portrays the real-life players in the drama, who include Jimmy Hoffa and Frank Sinatra. Readers with a taste for hard-boiled roman à clef will hope that more Heller is in the offing.”
—Publishers Weekly

“A Hollywood novel that’s more interesting than the true story—if, in fact, it’s not what really happened anyway. Collins’s twist on the American mystery simply can’t be put down.”  —RT Book Reviews

"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

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

4.7 out of 5 stars
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The plot and pacing are excellent.
Richard L. Pangburn
In "Target Lancer" Collins has Nathan Heller in the middle of perhaps America's biggest mystery/conspiracy~the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
While the story and some of the characters are fiction, Collins puts a lot of work into his novels.
David I. Williams

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rhouse on December 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Max Allan Collins has insinuated his Chicago detective Nate Heller into some of history's most notorious events: Dillinger outside the Biograph Theater, Huey Long, the Lindbergh kidnapping, Amelia Earhart's disappearance and many more. In "Target Lancer" Collins has Nathan Heller in the middle of perhaps America's biggest mystery/conspiracy~the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

In "Target Lancer" Collins avoids Dallas entirely, instead focusing on the often overlooked but very real plot to kill Kennedy in November, Chicago. In the Windy City, the players set in motion what eventually will come tragically to fruition just a few weeks later and change the face of the nation forever.

As always, Collins skillfully weaves his fictional detective into the fabric of real people, places and events~ creating another thought provoking, highly entertaining and incredibly accurate portrait of history. Of COURSE there is conjecture, even now almost 50 years later, the murder of JFK still is the subject of debate. But Collins sews his theory together with actual people like Sam Giancana, Jimmy Hoffa, Jake Rubenstein (aka Jack Ruby) and a little known Thomas A. Vallee, a Chicago resident who bears more than a few similar characteristics to his Dallas counterpart Lee Oswald.

If you are a JFK assassination buff, or interested in recent American history this book is a must-read. If you're a Chicagoan, I recommend "Target Lancer" for its perfectly accurate portrait of 1960s Chicago, from the Loop to Old Town--amazingly precise. If you just happen to enjoy a good mystery, let this fact based novel unfold before you as a well-written "whodunit.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Laurence J. Coven on January 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
TARGET LANCER is the book and the great conspiracy that author Max Allan Collins, and his P.I. extraordinaire Nate Heller have been aiming at all their lives. The big Cahuna, if you will, the nefarious machinations behind the assassination of JFK.
Collins, however, knows this is ground that has been retread so many times that the tires are bald. Not wanting the reader to think for even a moment that this is going to be the same old hash, he knocks you on your flabbergasted seat with the very opening:
"Do you remember where you were when President Kennedy was killed? Even if you weren't alive at the time, you surely know that a sniper in a high window was waiting for JFK to ride by on that infamous day in November.
In Chicago."
If that's not enough to give you enough curiosity for even a thousand cats you should check your pulse. You may not have one.
Then the first chapter alone contains two bombshells for which I am already required not to mention under the reviewer's non-spoiler code.
The story then begins non-portentously enough with Nate meeting old friend Tom Ellison at Berghoff's bar and restaurant, one of the oldest and finest German restaurants in downtown Chicago. Ellison, has come down from Milwaukee where he has a PR business, and needs a favor from his old pal. He would like Nate to help make sure he doesn't get wacked. Seems like Tom, while doing some ill-advised PR work for Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters happened to mention he would like a ticket to the Bears-Eagles game at Wrigley Field (that's right folks the Bears played in the Cubs's park back in those days.) Not only that, it's 1963, one of the Bears' championship seasons, and tickets are unavailable to the unconnected. But Hoffa gets one for Tom, and now Ellison is stuck.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard B. Schwartz TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Max Allan Collins' new novel about the Kennedy assassination is a stunner. Actually, it's about the unsuccessful assassination plot in Chicago, prior to the successful attempt in Dallas. (There was a Tampa plot, as well.) In an afterword, Collins recounts the research behind the novel and discusses the fact that there were, indeed, real-life counterparts for many of the novel's characters, including the conspirators.

In one sense this is a revisionary historical novel, dealing with both fictional and actual characters, revisiting a portion of the Kennedy assassination history which is frequently overlooked.

In another sense, this is a Nate Heller novel. MAC's longstanding series protagonist, Nate Heller, the PI to the stars, is here drawn into the defense of JFK because of his past connections with RFK. In Target Lancer he is seeing Sally Rand, meeting with RFK, Jimmy Hoffa, Johnny Rosselli, Jack Ruby, and other figures with whom he is on a first-name basis. Half-Irish, Half-Jewish Nate is an excellent character, drawn with sympathy, skill and a considerable degree of plausibility.

The novel brings Abraham Bolden (here under a pseudonym), the first black Secret Service agent, back into the spotlight--an individual who was later, it would appear, framed and sent to prison for 6 years. Bolden was getting too close to what actually happened, in Collins' view.

So read it for whatever reason you choose. It offers a fresh look at the contexts surrounding the JFK assassination, taking a conspiratorial perspective involving the usual conspirators. Read it as a historical novel, replete with fascinating individuals converging at a singular moment in American history. Read it as a Chicago novel, with local color, local history and geography.
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