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True Detective: Nathan Heller Series, Book 1 | [Max Allan Collins]

True Detective: Nathan Heller Series, Book 1

When Mayor Cermak’s “Hoodlum Squad” brings Heller along on a raid with no instructions but to keep his mouth shut and his gun handy, he becomes an unwitting, unwilling part of a hit on Al Capone’s successor, Frank Nitti. As a result, Heller quits the force to become a private eye. His first job: head off a nation-shaking political assassination in Miami Beach. With the Chicago World’s Fair as a backdrop, Heller encounters a ragtag array of crooks and clients, including Al Capone, George Raft, “Dutch” Reagan, and FDR himself.
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Publisher's Summary

In the mob-choked Chicago of 1932, private detective Nathan Heller may be willing to risk his life to earn a Depression dollar, but he never sacrifices his sardonic wit. Now, author Max Allan Collins (Road to Perdition) reissues the contemporary classic that introduces the wise-cracking Nathan Heller in all his guts and glory.

When Mayor Cermak’s “Hoodlum Squad” brings Heller along on a raid with no instructions but to keep his mouth shut and his gun handy, he becomes an unwitting, unwilling part of a hit on Al Capone’s successor, Frank Nitti. As a result, Heller quits the force to become a private eye. His first job: head off a nation-shaking political assassination in Miami Beach. With the Chicago World’s Fair as a backdrop, Heller encounters a ragtag array of crooks and clients, including Al Capone, George Raft, “Dutch” Reagan, and FDR himself.

Rich in riveting plot turns, including a heartbreaking romance, True Detective is one of the most highly entertaining and unlikely coming-of-age stories ever written. That’s why mystery fans and critics alike rank this historical thriller at the top of their lists - and why the book swept up a Shamus Award for the best novel from the Private Eye Writers of America.

Listen to another title in the Nathan Heller series.

©2011 Max Allan Collins (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (85 )
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  •  
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 12-27-13
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 12-27-13 Member Since 2007

    Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton.  In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!! 

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "THE "FORREST GUMP" OF FILM NOIR NOVELS"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If a friend enjoys Mike Hammer, Richard Diamond, Nick Carter, Ellery Queen, Johnny Dollar, and Pat Novak - either in print or on old time radio podcasts - I'd definitely recommend this audiobook.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The main "gumshoe" Nathan Heller who knows everyone in history from Marilyn Moore and Sally Rand to Frank Nitti and Al Capone. I MEAN EVERYBODY! And he's always in place when major events occur. I wouldn't be surprised if he was sitting on "the grassy knoll" or having a soul food plate at the Lorraine Motel when Dr. King was assassinated!


    What does Dan John Miller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Miller has this great "all-American white boy" delivery like one would expect from "Happy Days" Richie Cunningham, in fact, I could see the Nathan Heller role done by a younger Ron Howard.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No! This is an old school detective story. It is just great writing which feeds into the 'guilty pleasure" habits of certain readers. These stories are good fun with a lot of factual historical references. Max Alan Collins "insinuates" his Nathan Heller into true events in a believable way which adds to both his original story and the real events he portrays in his books.


    Any additional comments?

    What the author does here - weaving fact and fiction into a seamless tapestry of literature - is an art that not every writer can master. In my opinion, Collins is second in this genre only to the Forrest Gump book creator and screenwriters. I've listened to over 75% of the "Nathan Heller" audiobooks and plan to finish all available. I just can't get enough!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linnea Carlson-Sabelli Chicago, IL USA 01-01-12
    Linnea Carlson-Sabelli Chicago, IL USA 01-01-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Inside account of historical Chicago mob life"

    I loved this book. It is set in Chicago during the years of the mob and corruption. It is a work of historical fiction, where the main character, is an ex-policeman, self employed detective as adventures that highlight mob life and Chicago politics of the early and mid 20th century. It proposes alternative theories to explain real circumstances. Great fun!
    I'm looking forward to the rest of this brilliant series.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 02-05-14
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 02-05-14 Member Since 2010

    Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.

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    "Name Dropper! But True Fun."

    I read Max Allan Collins novels way back in the 80s. Fortunately he wrote about the 30s & 40s…keeping his stuff as fresh as the morning's catch then as it is right now. Collins was one of, maybe the first, hard-boiled detective creator to plop his lead character, Nathan Heller, among real historical folks, some still notorious, others with names that niggle at the back of your memory, where something vouches for their credentials as actual denizens of a nasty Chicago.

    OK… lemme keep this short. True Detective is a wonderful trip down in a time bathysphere into a murky place. Yep… WONDERFUL. And Dan John Miller brings it all back to me, creating a vivid sense of that place in my mind again just as perfectly as I imagined it when as a youngster I read Max Allen Collins novels way back in the 80s………...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Milwaukie, OR, United States 01-24-14
    Kristi Milwaukie, OR, United States 01-24-14 Member Since 2011

    An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.

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    "Good historical private eye series ala Hammett"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Dashiell Hammett books and a good narrator. This book also combines truth with fiction in the perfect blend of name dropping.


    What other book might you compare True Detective to and why?

    I guess anything by Hammett or Cain. Hard boiled detectives going after bad guys, what's not to like?


    What about Dan John Miller’s performance did you like?

    He did a perfect Reagan imitation and his Nitti was Brando's Godfather and Ness reminded me of the guy who plays Arnold Rothstein on Boardwalk Empire. He did credible females and his hero Nathan Heller was believable and lovable.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but it took me three. Can't do it all in one sitting, have to do other things.


    Any additional comments?

    This is the first book in the series and I believe I will read more. Nathan Heller is an interesting character that you want to learn more about.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Jane Sweet Texas 05-11-14
    Mary Jane Sweet Texas 05-11-14 Member Since 2007

    mjsweet

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    "Great start for a good series"

    I like Max Allan Collins and his detective Nathan Heller. Mr Collins not only uses historical events and people to step into his stories, the main character interacts with them in a very realistic fashion. The story weaves the detective into real events seamlessly. I visited Chicago earlier this year just to see some of the places in the stories. I read this book years ago and now am really enjoying going back with this narrator, Mr Miller does an A-1 job of giving Nate a voice and personality. I recommend this book and any other in the series. Haven't read them all yet... try the disaster series too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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