"Ask Not" by Max Allan Collins

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ASKNOT.pngPrivate eye Nate Heller is back in Max Allan Collins' latest thriller, Ask Not, the immediate sequel to his two previous thrillers Bye Bye, Baby and Target Lancer (both reviewed by me here and here.)

September, 1964:  Heller and his son are nearly run over by a car outside a Beatles concert.  Heller recognizes one of the passengers as a suspect in a botched attempt on President Kennedy's life in Chicago the year before (who Heller had  turned over to the authorities) as recounted in Target Lancer, and who also may have also been involved in "Operation Mongoose".  That was the failed attempt, by the CIA, Cuban exiles and the mob to take down Fidel Castro. 

As Heller scrambles to protect his son and ex-wife from more retaliation, he also finds himself on a new case interviewing witnesses to the previous year's successful assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas for a old flame, reporter Flo Kilgore (loosely based on the real-life columnist Dorothy Kilgallen).  Meanwhile, as the body count rises,someone behind the scenes seems very determined to prevent further investigation into the killing of JFK...

Solid and compelling, Ask Not is a terrific thriller. The historical background is well researched and the characters, fictional and otherwise (there are appreances by the likes of Bobby Kennedy, mobster Johnny Rosselli, Jack Ruby, and Jim Garrison, among others) are vivid enough to pop off the page.  And I loved the Spillane-like confrontation between Heller and the killers at the climax. 

(One minor observation:  As he did with Mike Hammer in last spring's Complex 90, Collins also has Heller break ties with a one-time friendly goverment official after everything's tied up. Coincidence?*)

Reserve our copy of Ask Not online here

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*I'd love it if this was a potential set-up for a future Heller/Hammer meeting.....


 

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ed published on November 23, 2013 11:12 AM.

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