- Hardcover: 292 pages
- Publisher: Berkley (June 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451206509
- ISBN-13: 978-0451206503
- Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 49 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,697,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Chicago Confidential: A Nathan Heller Novel Hardcover – June 1, 2002
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Nobody does historical hard-boiled detective fiction better than Max Allan Collins. He proves this once again in Chicago Confidential, a randy, rollicking read that finds series PI Nathan Heller squeezed dangerously between ambitious politicians and remorseless gangsters. The year is 1950, and America's first congressional inquiry into organized crime, led by presidential-hopeful U.S. Senator Estes Kefauver, has swept into the Windy City on a tsunami of press coverage. Heller hopes to lie low until this subpoena-waving circus has passed. "While not a mob guy myself," he confides, "I had... certain underworld associations, and hence did know where a good share of the bodies were buried. Hell, I'd buried some of them." But, instead, he's catapulted into the investigative limelight, first by one of his employees--ex-cop Bill Drury, who agrees to cooperate with Kefauver's crusade--and then by his association with Jackie Payne, the abused, drug-addicted girlfriend of a powerful mobster. After hit men target Drury, and Jackie is abducted, Heller finds a way to get revenge and justice at the same time.
As in previous Heller outings, Chicago Confidential smoothly blends well-researched fact with fiction. The gumshoe pals around with crooner Frank Sinatra, falls (fast) to the seductive wiles of future starlet Jayne Mansfield, and is threatened by commie-hunting Senator Joseph McCarthy. If Confidential is less darkly intense than Stolen Away or Angel in Black, two previous entries in this series, its quicksilver dialogue and truly menacing action sequences still make it one gangbuster of a book. --J. Kingston Pierce
From Publishers Weekly
"I had done jobs for Nitti, and Nitti had done me favors, like not having me whacked," PI Nate Heller recalls in the latest entertaining installment of his "memoirs," which takes him back to his old stomping grounds in Chicago. It's 1950, the moment in American history when the Mafia becomes a household name, and Senator estes Kefauver is investigating organized crime. The PI walks the thin line between keeping his underworld sources confidential and holding the Feds at bay, but when a crusading ex-cop who once saved his life is murdered, Heller knows revenge is in order. Fourteen novels ago the prolific Collins (who has also scripted the Batman comic and novelized Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan) introduced Heller in True Detective (1983), set in the Chitown of Capone and Nitti. More recently Heller has wandered the country, investigating now-famous crimes such as the Black Dahlia and the assassination of Huey Long, always set in a factual here-and-now crossbred with the jazzy pulp stylings of such paperback original writers as Mickey Spillane. A famous starlet-to-be has a cameo role ("her elaborately brassiered breasts punched at the light fabric like shells almost breaching a submarine's hull"). While the crime elements are strictly pro forma for the hard-boiled genre, Collins excels in the dialogue with the Made Guys, and every time Frank Sinatra (whose career Heller figures is finished) appears, the pages sing. Light and fast-paced, this is criminal history made easy and fun.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
It seems that an old police colleague that he hired is using Heller's equipment to spy on some of the big names in organized crime for the commission. Heller has to deal with this problem. He also has to deal with some of the mobsters to make sure that they know that he is not going to talk about anything that he knows. As if that wasn't enough his old buddy Frank Sinatra asks him to call another old acquaintance, Senator Joe McCarthy, and tell the Senator that Sinatra is not a Communist. With all of this it is not going to be easy for Heller to get out of all of this in one piece.
More classic hard boiled noir from the wonderful Max Allan Collins. After a couple of week novels the series has really bounced back. Lots of mystery, smart aleck remarks, danger, gangsters, and gorgeous women who can't wait to have sex with the main character. Great fun.