Monday, September 04, 2017

Quarry's Climax -- Max Allan Collins

This one's a bit different from the other books in the Quarry series in that Quarry's not hired to perform a hit.  It's 1972, and it seems that someone has put out a hit on Max Climer, who's about to hit the really Big Time with his magazine, Climax, which is jumping into the league with Hustler and Playboy.  Any resemblance between Climer and a well-known skin magazine kingpin is entirely coincidental. I  know this because I read it in the front of the book. 

The Broker, who has a financial interest, wants Quarry, along with Boyd, Quarry's partner in hitdom, to prevent the hit.  So Quarry has two problems: He has to find out who's going to perform the hit and also to find out who's hired the hitman.  Or maybe it's three problems, since after he eliminates the hitter and finds out who's done the hiring, he has to make sure there's no repetition of the hiring.  No easy task, but Quarry is up to it.  So to speak.

Quarry goes to Memphis, the headquarters of Climax, and gets himself hired by Climer as a security consultant.  With this cover, he meets a number of suspects, including Climer's cousin, Vernon, who's also his right-hand man; Climer's ex-wife; and even Climer's rebellious daughter.  Along with assorted strippers who work in Climer's club.  Did I mention that there's quite a bit of sex in this book?  Well, there is.  What else would you expect?

The book has many pleasures aside from Collins' typically clever plotting.  The time period is evoked with music and a number of pop culture references, and the sleazy atmosphere of the magazine's offices and the strip club that occupies the same building is conveyed so well that you'll almost think Collins had been there.  He gets it all down on the page.

This is another fine entry in the Quarry series, and we fans all owe Hard Case Crime a debt for getting the early books back into print and encouraging Collins to take it up again and give us the new books.  I hope they keep on coming.


George said...

I remember reading THE BROKER when it was first published decades ago and thinking, "This guy writes really well!"

Don Coffin said...

Well, he might have been in Memphis in the early 1970s, right? He's exactly 1 month younger than I am (2/4/48 for me; 3/3/48 for him),so the question is, what was Max doing in his early-to-mid 20s?

Jeff Meyerson said...

I have it on pre-order, of course.

Don, you are 9 months up on me (11/24).

Mike Stamm said...

I'd buy this for the McGinnis cover alone, let alone as another MAC crime thriller.

Gerard Saylor said...

On of my absolute favorite series.

Max Allan Collins said...

Thank you, fellas.

In my early to mid-twenties I was writing my first novels, playing in a band, and till 1972 going to the University of Iowa. I never set foot in Memphis till I was there for a week of the shooting of the QUARRY pilot, which was later re-shot.