Quarry was a hit man and very good at his job. These days he is retired and not so good at that. He retired not because his conscience was getting to him, but because he had amassed enough money to live comfortably and not kill for money any more. So, he quit and through a contact he started managing a small resort that may or may not he located along Sylvan Lake in Minnesota.

Life is pretty good all things considered. But, he is having a small issue with insomnia.  The fact that it is winter and everyone is gone except the maintenance guy, José, doesn’t help. With the place closed and nothing to do except keep an eye on things, he is bored out of his mind.  Very late one night he takes a 10 mile trip to the nearest convenience store for a little junk food and instead finds a contract killer who knows him.  That killer, like a domino in a long line of dominoes, provides a way to deal with his insomnia and ultimately one last job.

According to the multi page author’s note, this book was originally inspired by his anthologized short story “A Matter of Principal” (which is also a short film in the “Shades of Noir” collection and his short story “Guest Services.”  Fortunately for the author and readers, Charles Ardai wanted to not only reprint some of his earlier books, he also wanted an original Quarry novel for Hard Case Crime.

That request ultimately became this book which is a fast read at 194 pages and features distinctive cover art by the legendary Robert McGinnis.  In those 194 pages, Max Allan Collins showcases an anti-hero of sorts who is what he is and accepts that with no excuses. He knows what he is and how he became what he is and when he makes a mistake, Quarry accepts it and moves on. This is a guy who does his job, expects others to follow through on their part of the contractual bargain and is perfectly willing to enforce compliance as well as accept his change of plans should the need arise. The result novel is an engaging tale that pulls no punches as it touches on the themes of murder, deceit, familial love and jealousy and the plain simple truth that some folks just need killing.

The Last Quarry

Max Allan Collins

http://www.maxallancollins.com

Hard Case Crime

http://www.hardcasecrime.com

August 2006

ISBN#0-84395593-7′

Paperback

201 Pages (Including author’s note)

Review copy provided by the Plano Public Library System

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008

Book Reviews and more http://kevintipplescorner.blogspot.com/

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