Quarry’s Climax

From the Hard Case Crime banner, this 14th title in Max Allan Collins’s long-running series has everything you’d expect from a Quarry novel: hard-boiled dialogue, effective period recreation, and an assigned murder that is not all it appears to be. But perhaps owing to the nature of the plot, QUARRY’S CLIMAX suffers from a slower pace than most of its predecessors, as well as what feels like a disturbing lack of commitment from Collins himself.

The story takes place in 1975. The man known as Quarry, a former Marine sniper and Vietnam vet, has been a murder-for-hire assassin for almost five years. Not long after he and his partner conclude a job in Las Vegan, his boss, a refined gentleman known only as The Broker, visits Quarry at his home in Lake Geneva. Quarry has a new assignment, but with a noticeable difference than his previous cases.

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Quarry in the Black

quarryblackMax Allan Collins continues to chronicle the career of Quarry, the assassin-for-hire star of Collins’s long-running series (and recently a TV series on Cinemax). The latest title, Hard Case Crime’s QUARRY IN THE BLACK, focuses on the early stage of Quarry’s hit man vocation in the early 1970s. But thanks to the overriding theme Collins make it as applicable as this morning’s headlines.

The year is 1972, and Quarry gets a visit from his boss, known only as The Broker, at his A-frame house on Paradise Lake. Quarry has only been working for The Broker for two years, so the Broker wants Quarry to know that he is free to turn down this latest assignment, due to its unusual and highly political nature.

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Quarry’s Deal / Quarry’s Cut

quarrysdealWith the Cinemax series debuting later this year, Hard Case Crime continues reissuing Max Allan Collins’ novels starring the hit-man character Quarry.

As 1976’s QUARRY’S DEAL, the third book in the series opens, Quarry holds a list of names and addresses of others who also once worked for the Broker. Quarry has the great idea of finding one of them and finding his or her target, thinking he can get paid off by the would-be victim to not only take care of the killer for hire, but the person who hired them.

Quarry sets his sights on a young woman on the job, so to speak. He quickly figures out her target: a casino owner operating in Iowa. Quarry is quick to make himself known to the intended victim; all he has to do is figure out the team. He already has the woman under very close surveillance — by sleeping with her — but his digging around upsets a few people, who let him know that.

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Quarry / Quarry’s List

quarryWith the Cinemax series debuting in 2016, Hard Case Crime has begun reissuing Max Allan Collins’ novels starring the hit-man character Quarry.

From 1976, the first book, QUARRY, sets the stage perfectly for the character Quarry. You know full well in the opening chapter what kind of man he is, watching him come upon his prey in an airport: a man dressed as a priest. In the restroom, the man pleads for his life, but Quarry has one thing on his mind: recover a package and then take care of this sniveling victim.

Yup, Quarry is a cold-blooded hit man who makes no bones about his vocation. What upsets him the most is the package itself: two packets of heroin. So when Quarry meets with his boss of sorts, aka the Broker, he makes it known that he is not one to push around, let alone screw with.

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Quarry’s Choice

quarrychoiceThe prolific and ever-reliable Max Allan Collins continues his series featuring professional hit man Quarry with QUARRY’S CHOICE. It’s distinguished by being an episode from Quarry’s early years, as well as by its unsettling location and the decisions Quarry is faced with as he carries out his assignment.
It is 1972. Quarry has been a killer for hire for a little over a year and is very pleased with his profession. Then one evening, following a casual business dinner, the man Quarry works for – known only as The Broker – becomes the target of drive-by shooting. Weeks later The Broker appears at Quarry’s door with a new assignment. But instead of working on behalf of an unnamed client, The Broker hires Quarry to take out the man behind the attempt on The Broker’s life.

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The Wrong Quarry

wrongquarryIt’s been a while since we’ve had a new novel about Quarry, the hit-man protagonist of the long-running series by the prolific and reliable Max Allan Collins. The latest, THE WRONG QUARRY, retains all the expected qualities of the series while taking Quarry in a slightly new direction — one well worth the two-year wait.
Quarry has found a new use for his talents. These days, he only targets other hit men, allowing him to seek out an intended target and offer his services to not only eliminate the assassins, but also who hired them. It’s more time-consuming, to be sure, but Quarry is good at it and has made it a lucrative trade.

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Quarry’s Ex

Now that Hard Case Crime is publishing again, Max Allan Collins continues filling in the gaps of the life and career of his series hit man, Quarry. QUARRY’S EX precedes the events of THE FIRST QUARRY and shows how he got his start in the murder-for-hire business. Unfortunately, it then becomes uncharacteristically formulaic and disappointing.
Life seems promising for the young man we will soon know as Quarry (his real name is never revealed). He’s found and married the girl of his dreams, a dark-haired California beauty named Joni, and they’ve decided to truly begin their life together soon as he finishes his stint with the Marines in Vietnam. But when he returns, he finds his wife in bed with another man.

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bullets broads blackmail and bombsI would like to thank Perfect Crime Books for doing a solid: reissuing Max Allan Collins’ very hard-to-find Quarry novels. I’ve covered one before, the then-out-of-print QUARRY’S LIST, but now that the books are back in print, it’s time to cover the other three that comprised the original four in the series (the fifth, QUARRY’S VOTE, didn’t come out until 10 years later).

QUARRY by Max Allan Collins — From 1976, the first book sets the stage perfectly for the character Quarry. You know full well in the opening chapter what kind of man he is, watching him come upon his prey in an airport: a man dressed as a priest. In the restroom, the man pleads for his life, but Quarry has one thing on his mind: recover a package and then take care of this sniveling victim.

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Quarry in the Middle

quarrymiddleOf the three Quarry novels Hard Case Crime has published thus far, Max Allan Collins’ QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE is my least favorite, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t all kinds of awesome. Pick up any of them and you’re guaranteed a read that is fast, loose and start-to-finish “love it.”

Taking place between THE FIRST QUARRY and THE LAST QUARRY — more specifically, in the mid-1980s — the book finds hitman Quarry embarking on a new career path. Instead of just offing people for money, he’s getting revenge on his former employer by finding out who’s marked for death, then approaching those victims-to-be, informing them of the situation, and offering to off the guy who’s going to off them. It’s a living.

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So who’s the deserving winner in our contest for Max Allan Collins’ THE FIRST QUARRY?

It’s Scott Parker of Houston, Texas, who reasoned: “I believe I should receive the free copy because when I get it, I will review it on my blog, placing it in the context of Collins’ bibliography, Hard Case Crime’s publishing records, and that of the great crime fiction genre. Oh, and I’ll give huge props to Bookgasm.com for providing the copy, steering many of my readers your way, gaining you more readers and new returning readers who may not know your site. Time passes. When I get my novels published and develope a devoted following of readers, Bookgasm will be the site where in-depth author interviews can be published, bringing in more readers who, in the future, will follow me anywhere I go. And I’ll lead them straight to Bookgasm. And to think, it all started with a free copy of THE FIRST QUARRY …”

Moral of the story? It pays to brown-nose. All those didn’t do that can buy it at Amazon.

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