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..Show More » 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.
I like Nate Heller and find this series interesting, but this particular story wanders about and is more historical fiction than a mystery. Given that..Show More » Nate is a fictional character, the details of his experiences in WWII and in the hospital are kind of irrelevant. The role of the Outfit in both Chicago and Hollywood's history is detailed and, while I find it interesting, I never quite know how much is history and how much is fiction. (I find myself checking characters in the wikipedia in the hopes of figuring it out.) This is the finale of the Frank Nitti trilogy. The last chapter is an epilogue about what happened to the various gangsters subsequently. The writing is good and the performance excellent, so I'm not sorry I listened.
This may be the best book in a great, great series. Mr. Collins does an incredible job of putting the reader into historical mysteries and events via ..Show More »detective Nate Heller, truly one of fiction???s best characters. One of the best and boldest things Mr Collins does in this series is have Nate Heller ???solve??? the unsolved crimes. In Stolen Away, he is not afraid to provide (and support) a great solution to the infamous Lindbergh kidnapping. While the reader may be familiar with the cases Heller solves, Mr Collins presents them in a hard-boiled, exciting and occasionally humorous fashion. Since the cases are historically unsolved or partly solved, part of the excitement for the reader (and what makes these books hard to put down once started) is anticipation of the ???solution??? to be provided. The historical figures, even the minor ones, are depicted in fully three dimensions and very believably. Dan John Miller does a superb job with his voice characterizations of real and fictional characters and best of all he ???gets??? Nate Heller. Highly recommended.
Another superb outing for Nate Heller and one of the most intriguing. A fascinating historical mystery, heretofore unsolved, interwoven with greatly c..Show More »rafted, real historical characters and the irrepressive Detective Heller. Mr. Collins is at his best in not only giving us an exciting adventure, but conjuring up a vivid portrait of a beautiful, albeit backwater, part of the world during WWII. Dan Miller continues to bring Heller (and all the others) to life.
I know, I know.....I've said a kazillion times how much I really like this series. But there are quite a few of them and I keep buying them. As I've..Show More » said before, these books are only as interesting as the life of the real historic figure chosen by Max Allan Collins to insinuate his "film noir" gumshoe in the middle of. No one can deny that former Louisiana Governor and US Senator was a bigger-than-life personality. As usual, P.I. Heller is in the thick of things during Long's assassination and the subsequent investigation. What I particularly like about Collins' approach is that he presents an alternate motive or ending to the actual event that's believable. The story is well-researched with great dialogue. Narrator Dan John Miller gives the irreverent, womanizing Heller an "aw-shucks" boyish charm that I have yet to become weary of. Start at Book 1 of the series - grow and "grow up" with the most personable shamus since Raymond Chandler's "Philip Marlowe", Dashiell Hammett's "Sam Spade", and Mickey Spillane's "Mike Hammer".
I love the Nathan Heller series but the stories are only as good as the popularity of the actual person he's working for. Author Collins always captu..Show More »res the feel of the era in which he writes, seamlessly weaving true historical people events around the fictional Heller. As for this one, I have ever been interested in or impressed by Amelia Earhart. I feel she made reckless moves in her aviation career. Just because you can fly a plane doesn't mean you have the experience and resources to take a raggedy plane around the world. If you like Earhart, you'll like this interesting take on her disappearance. Nathan is still skirt chasing in his usual charming way.
Good story and of particular interest to those of us who grew up in the time depicted. What made the book a fantastic listen was the narrator. His ch..Show More »aracterization of the voices was outstanding. Definitely a book to listen to more than once!
Well, maybe it's the best yet because it's the latest.
Every one of the books in the Nathan Heller series has been excellent: meticulously r..Show More »esearched and expertly written by Max Allan Collins, and narrated with perfect pitch and atmosphere by Dan John Miller.
Foremost on my mind when I downloaded this book the day it was released were the recent disappointments I had suffered with other latest books by my favorite authors. John Grisham brought me to tears with The Broker: it was that bad. Hordes of fans stood in virtual lines to download Michael Connelly's latest Harry Bosch, only to find a so-so story read by a blah narrator.
This book sure wasn't a disappointment. It has everything we've come to expect from Nathan Heller and the A-1 Detective Agency: mobsters, famous politicians, petty crooks, labor union thugs, cops, and fan-dancers, all combined in a wonderful period piece set in 1963 Chicago. It's the month before John Kennedy's assassination and the town is crawling with made men, mad Cubans, and an ex-Marine who bears a strong resemblance to Lee Harvey Oswald. Nate gets recruited by Attorney General Bobby Kennedy to help out with the protection of the president during his upcoming visit to Chicago. The presidential motorcade route goes right through a warehouse district (where the ex-Marine works) where the cars have to slow for a turn onto a downtown street. Brush up on the history of Kennedy's assassination before you read this one: lots of familiar players pop up.
Dan John Miller has the perfect voice for the wise-cracking but tough as nails Private Eye. When he talks you see trenchcoats and snap-brim fedoras and smell unfiltered Camels. He does the rest of the cast just as well. Mob killer Chuckie Nicoletti sounds suitably menacing, and his sidekick "Mad Sam" DiStefano sounds as crazy as his Wikipedia picture looks. Miller does a suitable female voice, and there's no suspension of disbelief required when Sally Rand speaks.
This book was really hard to put down. At a little over eight hours in length, it can be finished in one serious session, or in a few days if you have to go to work. If you do read it straight through you'll wish you could forget what you heard and start all over.
Newcomers to Nathan Heller can feel free to start with this or any other book in the series. I'm not sure, but I believe they were written and published well out of the chronological order of the events portrayed. Each is a standalone work, with references to other books provided but not essential to the plot. So when Nate goes to see Bobby Kennedy, a reader of the whole series would know there is bad blood here (over that Marilyn Monroe thing), but Collins clears that up with a few lines and the action moves on.
I think Collins mixes up his service academy football schedules a little. I thought I heard him say at one point that the President was going to attend the Army-Navy game during his visit. That would have been Army-Air Force, on 2 November. Army-Navy was 7 December (and featured Heisman winner Roger Staubach - I was there!)
It's a great book in a great series. Don't miss it.