Saturday, December 3, 2011

Book Review: Chicago Lightning

Title Chicago Lightning : The Collected Nathan Heller Short Stories
Author Max Allan Collins
Tags Short stories, nathan heller, private detectives 



Max Allan Collins is one of my favorite writers, and Nathan Heller my favorite character of his. Heller is a private detective in stories set from the 1930s to the 1960s. Heller in the course of his work gets to know major historical figures and events. Some of his novels have centered around the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, the Lindbergh kidnapping, and the death of Marilyn Monroe. When Heller begins he is in Chicago in the heyday of the mobsters, and Heller knows the mobsters, primarily Frank Nitti - who seems much more interesting than Capone - as well as Elliot Ness.

One reason Collins is a favorite of me, the person with two degrees in history, is that his books are meticulously researched. He uses as much as he can of the history, makes reasonable speculations when the facts aren't known, and uses it all in the service of a marvelous story with very human and believable characters.

Short stories are not my favorite form of literature, but I'll take all the Heller I can get, and the stories are up to the usual Collins standard of excellence. The stories show Heller at different times and places in his career. If you've never read any of the Heller books, this is a good place to start and try the character on for size. But do then move on to the novels. I envy you the beginning of a terrific reading experience.


Publication date 2011
Publication Thomas & Mercer (2011), Paperback, 398 pages
ISBN 1612180914 / 9781612180915

Posted via email from reannon's posterous

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