Sunday, October 19, 2008

Heller Raiser

I cannot believe I forgot to mention this before, when I was recounting the many things I’d learned during my time at Bouchercon last week. But Max Allan Collins told me some pretty exciting news during that convention: He’s working on two new interlocking novels featuring his popular historical private eye, Nathan Heller, last seen in Chicago Confidential (2002). The first of those will deal with the apparent suicide of film star Marilyn Monroe in 1962, while the second will concentrate around President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, which occurred just over a year later. (Wow, Collins doesn’t mess around when it comes to incorporating real-life controversies into his fiction, does he.) The Monroe novel, to be published by Tor Books, could appear as early as spring 2010.

“These are designed to be the ‘last’ Heller novels chronologically,” Collins tell me, “although if they are successful I would fill in the ten missing years between Chicago Confidential [which took place in 1950] and the first of the new books. It is not beyond the realm of possibility, if my energy endures and reader interest is there, that I might go ahead to RFK and Martin Luther King, but that’s kind of a pipe dream presently.”

It’ll be good to see Heller back on the streets. I, for one, have missed the big lug from my reading life.

Meanwhile, Collins says that, after publishing The Last Quarry (2006) and his new paperback novel, The First Quarry, with Hard Case Crime, he’s just signed with Hard Case again to bring hired killer Quarry back in at least one more novel. This one will be titled--what else?--Quarry in the Middle.

1 comment:

DICK ADLER said...

Great news! Nathan Heller is much missed (at least by me, but then I get them free...)

I'm sure that you and Collins are aware of another great series about the MLK murder --
Kris Nelscott's Smokey Dalton novels.