Thursday, January 23, 2020

Quarry #15 - Killing Quarry

“Killing Quarry” is the 15th published novel in Max Allan Collins’ terrific hitman series. The chronological order of the books is quite a mish-mash, but the author has done a great job of making every book stand alone quite nicely. Although this one is a 2019 release, it takes place in 1986, fairly late in the chronology.

Earlier in the series, the Vietnam vet turned paid-assassin came into possession of a list of other hitmen on-contract with his former boss, The Broker. Quarry switched his business model to stalking hitmen and hiring himself out to their intended targets to stop the assassins before the kill is completed. That’s the setup in this one, but some unusual developments send this novel in an unusual direction.

“Killing Quarry” begins with our anti-hero driving from his home near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin to Naperville, Illinois. He’s chosen the name of a hitman named Bruce Simmons from The Broker’s list. The idea is to surveil Simmons until he goes to his next murder gig and spoil the fun before Simmons can do his job. Things take a shocking turn when Simmons drives up to Lake Geneva and begins watching Quarry’s home. Yes, Quarry is his intended target. We are treated to two people in the murder business basically stalking each other for the kill.

Who is paying Simmons to kill Quarry? Has Quarry’s killing hitmen gambit finally caught up with him? Or is the agenda something completely different? The answers are revealed gradually on a roller coaster of twists and turns that also provides fans of the series an interesting look under the hood of Quarry’s world of hitters, brokers, envoys, and mobster clients.

As the alluring cover art indicates, a sexy hitgirl works her way into the plot. It’s interesting to note that “Killing Quarry” is a sequel of sorts to the 1976 entry in the series, “The Dealer,” re-released by Hard Case Crime in 2015 as “Quarry’s Deal.” Collins does a nice job of summarizing the events of the prequel, so new and forgetful readers are never lost. That said, if you’re working your way through the entire series, you might as well read “Quarry’s Deal” before “Killing Quarry.”

However you choose to tackle the series, be sure to make time for “Killing Quarry” as the paperback is a total winner. There’s excellent action, great humor, hot sex, and a compelling mystery at the core. Picking the best Quarry novel is a heavy lift, but “Killing Quarry” is among my favorite in the series. Highly recommended.

Purchase a copy of this book HERE

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