1934 Chicago dazzles with fast action and calculating, cold-blooded meanness as private detective Nate Heller combs Chicago’s North Side looking for John Dillinger. But things take a turn for the strange when self-aggrandizing G-Man Melvin Purvis shoots down a Dillinger double in front of the Biograph Theater. Full of muscle and oozing Chicago’s tough-guy persona to the hilt, Max Allan Collins’ Nate Heller is the ultimate private investigator - in the ultimate P.I. town. Heller’s undercover search for a farmer’s-daughter-turned-gun-moll has him on the dusty Depression backroads of middle America, in the company of Ma Barker and her boys, Baby Face Nelson, Alvin Karpis, and a very-much-still-alive Dillinger - whose outlandish plan to kidnap J. Edgar Hoover in downtown Chicago is one Heller tries to foil. Including appearances by fan dancer Sally Rand, boxer Barney Ross, and Heller's “godfather,” Frank Nitti, True Crime is a relentless classic.
©1986 Max Allan Collins (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
The author obviously did a lot of research about the gangster era in the Midwest in the 1930's, and cleverly weaves P.I. Nate Heller into a succession of actual characters and historical events. The gangsters in the story, Frank Nitti, John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, the Barker brothers, Alvin Karpis, really existed and did the things related, as well as the federal agents Cowley & Purvis. Other characters, the Lady in Red, Anna Sage, and Dillinger's girl Polly Hamilton, were certainly at the Biograph Theatre shootout. Other colorful characters are Nate's friends, prizefighter Barney Ross and stripper Sally Rand. The author works Nate into this milieu in a very natural way. Nate espouses a theory about the demise of John Dillinger that has been put forth by author Jay Robert Nash, "The Dillinger Dossier," which is further elaborated on in the epilogue.
The narration by Dan Jay Miller was very good but not exceptional. I felt his attempts to portray female voices were not always appropriate, especially that of Sally Rand.
Regardless of the history, it is very well-written and engaging, offering a different type of mystery. I look forward to reading others in the series.
Neat gumshoe detective story. Well written with historical characters I liked and it keep me listening way past my bedtime. Can't beat the price for a really well narrated, everything it's suppose to be detective story.
Historical Fiction. This sequel is every bit as good as the first book in the Nathan Heller series. It continues the story of this fictional detective's inside story of mob life in Chicago in the early and mid 20th century.
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