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Angel in Black [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Max Allan Collins , Dan John Miller , Inc. Brilliance Audio
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 5 2012 Nathan Heller Series (Book 11)
Los Angeles. The City of Angels. The perfect place for a honeymoon…and the worst possible time for a murder. Vacationing private investigator Nate Heller finds himself a suspect in the LAPD’s investigation of the notorious Black Dahlia murder case. Problem is the butchered starlet, Elizabeth Short, is an old Chicago flame of Heller’s—and only the P.I. himself knows she was blackmailing him for abortion money. Classic noir at its finest blended to extraordinary effect with historical facts, Max Allan Collins’ Angel in Black crackles with tight plotting and razor-sharp dialogue. With the help of a world-weary, alcoholic Eliot Ness, Heller links the murder to a notorious Cleveland serial killer...while doing his best to stay out of jail and salvage his already troubled new marriage. Along the way he encounters Chicago boxer Barney Ross, fellow suspect Orson Welles, and zany gangster Mickey Cohen.

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From Publishers Weekly

The 1947 Black Dahlia case provides the basis for Shamus Award winner Collins's latest intriguing blend of fiction and real-life mystery featuring his well-connected Chicago P.I., Nathan Heller (Majic Man; Flying Blind). Newly married and in L.A. to publicize his partnership with a California-based P.I., Heller and a reporter are the first to discover the severed, mutilated body of Elizabeth Short. It just so happens Heller knew her they'd dated briefly in Chicago and she'd called just the night before, claiming she was pregnant. If made public, this connection would not only threaten Heller's marriage and business but make him a suspect. The authorities are treating this as a sex crime, but Heller thinks the mob is sending a message to informers. The case also recalls the grisly Kingsbury Run murders (which Collins explored in his 1988 Eliot Ness novel, Butcher's Dozen). In his quest to catch the killer, Heller brings in Ness and hobnobs with gangsters and movie stars, including Orson Welles, who hints at his own possible involvement. The characters, historical and fictional, come delightfully to life; the victim, too, turns out to be tragically complex, at once deceitful, na‹ve and endearing. Collins paints a web of interconnections in a tightly woven plot and posits a radical solution to a crime that still resonates in literature and movies.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Nathan Heller, founder and president of Chicago's A-1 Detective Agency, is in Los Angeles in 1947 to forge a partnership with Fred Bradbury, an ex-Chicago cop running a small detective business. Nate is also on a honeymoon with his new bride, Peggy, who has visions of Hollywood stardom. Heller is schmoozing with a Herald-Examiner reporter when the scribe picks up a possible homicide alert on his police-band radio. That's how Heller finds himself on the scene of what will become L.A.s' most famous officially unsolved murder: the Black Dahlia case. The victim is a beautiful young women who was tortured, raped, drained of fluids, cut in two, and dumped in a vacant lot. The victim is initially unknown to the cops, but not to Heller. She's Elizabeth Short, with whom Heller had a recent affair before marrying Peggy. A couple days earlier Short contacted Heller with news of her pregnancy--by him. If the cops knew, Heller would be their top suspect, so while he assists in the investigation, he also covers up his relationship with the victim. But Heller also has a theory about the crime: that it was not strictly a sex crime but a Mob-orchestrated execution staged to send a message. The Nate Heller historical crime novels consistently mesmerize with their carefully researched period detail--noir meets the History Channel--and their unique, alternative solutions to famous crimes. Collins' take on the Black Dahlia may be less brooding and less experimental than James Ellroy's version (The Blue Dahlia, 1987), but it's also more entertaining and will appeal to a wider audience of mainstream historical mystery fans. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
The two pieces of her lay porcelain-white in the ankle-high grass and weeds of a vacant lot on South Norton Avenue, like the upper and lower sections of a discarded marionette. Read the first page
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5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read -- a haunting book June 28 2002
Format:Hardcover
Max Allan Collins is as good as it gets when it comes to mysteries, and especially in his chosen genre -- true crime solved by his own fictional detective, Nathan Heller -- Collins is unbeatable. ANGEL IN BLACK is a haunting rendition of the Black Dahlia murder in L.A. -- a story I didn't know when I began reading the book. As usual, his research is impeccable (I've since done my own research on this) and his rendering of the people involved brings you straight into the heart of the story. His solution may not be correct, but it is compelling (and no one really knows, either -- the Black Dahlia murder remains officially unsolved). And like his other brilliant Heller stories -- STOLEN AWAY (the Lindbergh kidnapping), FLYING BLIND (Amelia Earhart disappearance), MAJIC MAN (Roswell, New Mexico UFO incident) ... you believe it and cannot help but be drawn in further. Don't miss this; it has its gruesome moments (which I know will automatically recommend it to some people) but it also has some marvelous characters and surprising relevations. Heller solves this one the way he does all his investigating -- he's tough, sexy and can't help but get involved. This one is a five-star winner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Heller vs. the Black Dahlia killer April 23 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Max Allan Collins is a sort of a Renaissance Man. He's an independent film-maker, scripted the Dick Tracy comics series for 16 years, and writes mystery novels (ten Shamus nominations, won twice). You wonder how he has time to breathe and eat, let alone make a life with a wife and son. Of these accomplishments, the mystery novel series is perhaps the best known. A dozen of the books are private eye novels with a main character who's a sort of guide to the crime world of the late 20's to the late 50's. This character is Nathan Heller, the half-Irish half-Jewish ex-cop who is friends with Capone, traded shots with Dillinger, and searched for Amelia Earhart and the Lindbergh baby. You have to be willing to accept that one person would be involved in this many different famous crimes of the century, but once you make this leap of faith, the books are wonderful evocations of life in the first half of the century, replete with characters and scenes that stay with you. The solutions to the real-life mysteries are well-researched and believable, and often the author has done original work that leads non-fiction writers to new sources and accounts of the crime in question.
The crime in question is the Black Dahlia murder case, in which an aspiring actress was tortured and murdered, the body being cut in half at the waist after death. Collins has to hook Heller in somehow, and as is often the case, his libido gets him involved: he had a short affair with the victim, Elizabeth Short. Coincidentally, Heller is in Los Angeles, and happens to be there when the body's discovered, and recognizes his former lover. Soon he's working for a local paper, doing background, and unofficially looking to find the killer himself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nate Heller's Back and Better than Ever..... May 21 2001
Format:Hardcover
It's 1947 and Chicago private detective, Nate Heller, is in Los Angeles for two very good reasons...he's honeymooning with his new wife, the lovely Peggy, and he's opening a branch office of his A-1 Detective Agency. All is going perfectly until, while riding with a reporter friend from the Herald Examiner, they happen upon an incredibly grisly crime scene, a once beautiful young woman tortured, mutilated, murdered and left, cut in half, in a vacant lot. Heller is shocked when he realizes he knew the woman. Her name was Elizabeth Short and he had had a brief affair with her a couple of months ago while he and Peggy were on the outs. To make matters worse, she had called him, just the night before, claiming she was pregnant from their little fling and needed money. Afraid that he'll be at the top of the cops' suspect list if they find his connection to the murdered girl, Nate gets himself hired by the Examiner to investigate the crime for the paper and try to stay at least one step ahead of the police..... Max Allan Collins has blended fiction and fact and come up with a well researched, clever and entertaining historical mystery/thriller, based on the infamous and unsolved Black Dahlia murder. His well paced, intricate plot is compelling and his scenes are vivid and riveting. But it's Mr Collin's crisp, spare and often irreverent writing and superb dialogue that really makes this book stand out. This is a story that transports you back to Hollywood in the forties, full of mobsters, movie stars, flamboyant women and tough talking, cigarette smoking, hard drinking guys with big hearts. Angel in Black is an intense read and a novel that should be on every mystery/thriller fan's "not to be missed" list!
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