All titles are published by Titan Books.
Having loved the Hard Case Crime books for a while now, I was really pleased to discover whilst at Harrogate that Titan Books were about to relaunch the titles plus some new ones in the UK as of the end of September.
So, it was with a roaring three loud bangs that these first three explosive little babies arrived on my doormat, with their glorious newly commissioned but very much ‘classic’ noir jackets. They are all fast paced little gems of books, with tales to be told in fast talking PI style, without room for clutter, they just get on and get the job done, often in under 250 pages.
First up for me to read was ‘Quarry’s Ex’ by bestselling and incredibly prolific author Max Allan Collins (of ‘Road to Perdition’ fame). Returning to his hitman, Quarry (who has featured in three previous novels), Collins spins a classic noir tale full of the usual components, femme fatales, a movie shoot scenario and smart talking wise-guys but all with a very ‘matter of fact’ style, even when describing driving a car slowly over someone’s head.
Quarry is a loner, but in this book he finds his estranged wife again by accident when he chooses to steal a potential target, film Director Arthur Stockwell, away from two other hitmen by telling the Director he’ll protect him for a fee – a two-for-one deal for $25K for taking out both hitmen.
The last time Quarry saw Joni, she was in bed with their mechanic, this time round he finds that she is known as J.J. and is married to Stockwell. Then there’s just the question of how deep local mobster Louis Licata is involved in the production of the movie and the planned hit on its Director.
Quarry himself just feels like a tool for the use of others, distancing himself from the things he does with a simple philosophy.
‘My role was impersonal – clients opened a drawer, stuck in their hand, and I was the weapon they pulled out.’
A great fast paced read and a great introduction to Quarry and to the other Hard Case Crime titles coming up.