Quarry's Choice by Max Allan Collins

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Quarry's Choice by Max Allan Collins

Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: Quarry, the hit man without a heart, returns, but this time he may have to stay in one place for a while before making a killing. Join him in a wonderful pulp fiction adventure that has all the guns, gals and gambling that an assassin could wish for.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 256 Date: January 2015
Publisher: Titan Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781783290840

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If you are fed up with reading books about a hit man with a heart, why not try one of the Quarry series? This is a man who is hired to kill and does not think too much about it; it's just a job. Usually Quarry arrives in a town, makes a hit and gets out immediately, but there is something about the world of the Dixie Mafia that is making him stay a little longer. Is it the blackmail, the attractive young women, or the sense of revenge?

Quarry is a stone cold killer who is not always easy to like, but this is why the character is so memorable. It is strangely refreshing to read about a hired killer who actually does his job properly. In Quarry’s Choice we get as close to him becoming unprofessional yet as he is forced to go undercover to take out a hit on a leading Dixie Mafia mob boss. As a rule, Quarry prides himself on never being remembered, but if he is going to get close enough to his target, not only will he need to be remembered, he will also need to be trusted.

Allowing Quarry to stay in one place and interact with several characters over a number of days makes this outing in the series the best so far. Real relationships start to grow and that is never easy when you have a sociopath as your main protagonist. It is Quarry’s interaction with Luann, an exotic dancer, which fleshes out the book. Rather than being a case of hit and run, Quarry is forced to take someone else’s wellbeing into account and this alters how he works. Does Quarry become a good man by the end of this book? Certainly not, but at least you get to see that he understands the difference between right and wrong.

As well as having an interesting relationship in the book, it also has good old fashioned pulp fiction. At times the book becomes so hard boiled that you think you may just break your teeth on it. The narration from Quarry’s point of view allows author Max Allan Collins licence to really chew the page; his descriptions of other people are hilarious and in the case of some of the female character, salacious.

It is in the areas of sex and violence that the book will put off some readers. I am not someone who is easily shocked and reading about someone being dispatched with a ball-peen hammer doesn’t put me off, but it will do for some readers. As for the bedroom sequences… Many of the Hard Case Crime books are quite graphic in this area and here there is no exception. Go into the book with a knowing and open mind and most people should be able to make it through without going bright red whilst reading. After all, it is the loving and the fighting that makes this series fun to read; I learnt that there is rarely a Quarry that isn't leery.

Quarry’s Choice has all the rich ingredients that make up the best type of pulp fiction; an anti-hero, a femme fatale, guns, women and gambling. What makes it better is that there is a strong relationship at the centre that gives Quarry actual motivation for his actions. Unlike with some pulp novels, you want the hero to come out on top and win the day; even if this does mean they have to dispatch a few people on the way.

You can find out more about Quarry's other adventures in the likes of The Wrong Quarry. If you like your pulp fiction even darker then try Borderline by Lawrence Block, if you dare.

Buy Quarry's Choice by Max Allan Collins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Quarry's Choice by Max Allan Collins at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Quarry's Choice by Max Allan Collins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Quarry's Choice by Max Allan Collins at Amazon.com.


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