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True Detective [Paperback]

Max Allan Collins
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Paperback CDN $12.28  
Paperback, April 26 1984 --  
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Audio, CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged CDN $12.48's 2014 Books Gift Guide for Kids and Teens
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Book Description

April 26 1984
In the mob-choked Chicago of 1932, private detective Nathan Heller may be willing to risk his life to earn a Depression dollar, but he never sacrifices his sardonic wit. Now, author Max Allan Collins (Road to Perdition) reissues the contemporary classic that introduces the wise-cracking Nathan Heller in all his guts and glory. When Mayor Cermak’s “Hoodlum Squad” brings Heller along on a raid with no instructions but to keep his mouth shut and his gun handy, he becomes an unwitting, unwilling part of a hit on Al Capone’s successor, Frank Nitti. As a result, Heller quits the force to become a private eye; his first job — head off a nation-shaking political assassination in Miami Beach. With the Chicago World’s Fair as a backdrop, Heller encounters a Ragtime array of crooks and clients, including Al Capone, George Raft, “Dutch” Reagan, and FDR himself. Rich in riveting plot turns, including a heartbreaking romance, True Detective is one of the most highly entertaining and unlikely coming-of-age stories written. That’s why mystery fans and critics alike rank the history thriller True Detective at the top of their lists — and why the book swept up a Shamus Award for the best novel from the Private Eye Writers of America.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Product Details

Product Description

About the Author

Max Allan Collins is the author of the Shamus Award-winning Nathan Heller historical thrillers; his other books include the New York Times bestseller Saving Private Ryan and the bestselling CSI series. His comics writing ranges from the graphic novel Road to Perdition, source of the Tom Hanks film, to long runs as scripter of the “Dick Tracy” comic strip and his own innovative “Ms. Tree.” Collins is also a screenwriter and a leading Indie filmmaker. He lives in Iowa with his wife, writer Barbara Collins, and their son, Nathan. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern classic Feb. 6 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Collin's novel is the ultimate re-examination of the 1930s private detective. It is full of drama, action, and deep historical context.
Should be required reading for the human race.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A modern classic Feb. 6 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Collin's novel is the ultimate re-examination of the 1930s private detective. It is full of drama, action, and deep historical context.
Should be required reading for the human race.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  172 reviews
81 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True True True March 11 2007
By Geminib54 - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read True Detective after reading several of Collins' later Nathan Heller books. Collins writes this series as an amalgam of historical accuracy with his protaganist (current private eye, former Chicago police detective Nathan Heller) interacting with the real characters of the era depicted. In this one we are in Chicago and meet the likes of mobsters like Capone and Nitti, crooked cops, grafting politicians, and good guys like boxer Barney Ross and Elliot Ness to balance the score.

Collins knows how to tell a good story. The historical detail is accurate and adds to the feel of the tale. The pictures he paints of the World's Fair, the shantytowns, etc., put you in the book. The plotting is thorough, the situations believable, the dialogue true, and the characters feel real, especially Heller as he struggles to do the right thing in a world full amibiguous situations where "right" can be tough to figure out given the conflicting viewpoints.

To say that the characters feel true sounds odd given that most are public personalities. Yet, a less skilled writer could make them hackneyed and two-dimensional. Here they have depth enough to carry their roles naturally, without forcing situations. You learn enough about each of them to make sense of their motivations and behaviors, yet the story never gets lost in irrelevant details.

When I'm done with a novel of his I feel I've learned more about the characters from history and more about myself as I go through the moral rollercoaster with Heller. And before I forget, there's plenty of humor, sex and violence to keep things interesting.

Read the series, in order if you can. This is one of the best going.
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The BEST Crime Book of the '30s Era Dec 28 2004
By T. Walker - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
From the first few words, I knew that Max Allan Collins had written one of the best crime/detective novels I had ever read. Before long, I dropped "one of" and decided it is THE BEST! Characters rise off the pages into "real" life, while the action grabs you and carries you along. If you like the tough, but believable, private eye, this is a landmark book for you. Don't just read it. Buy it!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable crime story with some history I wasn't familiar with Feb. 24 2012
By Chris Wuchte - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a solid read, and a promising start to a detective series that I'll probably try more of in the future. It's a hardboiled mystery, but generally avoids feeling too much like a cliche by using characters with a little more complexity than your typical crime fiction. The meticulous attention to historical detail adds a level of realism to the book. If it errs anywhere, it may be in cramming in so many historical references. By the last third of the novel, some of the celebrity cameos start to feel forced, in spite of the fact that, yes, they could have been around in that region at that time. A couple times I felt as if chapters existed mainly to spotlight the tremendous amount of research that must have gone into this book, but for the most part, the narrative still moves along quickly. If you like classic detective fiction, you should enjoy it.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific historical noir July 11 2005
By Craig Clarke - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Max Allan Collins' first novel in his acclaimed Nathan Heller series, True Detective, is a stunning mix of fact and fiction. The setting is 1930s Chicago and Collins paints the city of that time with a bold brush. Heller is a city cop who gets roped into a messy situation by his fellow officers. When he ends up killing a man with the same gun Heller's father used to commit suicide, Nathan's own, that's the last straw that leads to Heller quitting the force, despite the efforts of the higher-ups to get him to reconsider.

But working as the president of your own detective agency (called "A-1" so it will appear first in the telephone directory) is by no means boring -- not when your best friend is Eliot Ness and you have connections to Frank Nitti, Al Capone, mayor Anton Cermak, Walter Winchell, George Raft, and a young future actor who goes by the name "Dutch" Reagan.

Collins took five years to research the place and time and this, combined with his immense storytelling skill, make True Detective an immersive experience. The World's Fair comes alive in his hands, as do the characters, who have never seemed so real (even in The Untouchables) as when they are dealing with the fictional Nathan Heller. I plan to repeat this experience soon with the sequel, True Crime, and I think I'm about to become very familiar with the exploits of Nathan Heller.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent story sure to please mystery and history buffs June 18 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Audio Cassette
Rarely does one come across a book which so completely captures the essence of an era. Max Allan Collins has achieved this in spades. He is simply the master of the historical mystery novel. Nathan Heller is a well rounded character, and his interaction with some of the era's most notable figures is exceedingly well done. I can only the entire line of Nathan Heller novels get back into print. If you're a fan of Hammett, Chandler, etc, you're sure to love it.
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