Back in 1976, Max Allan Collins introduced the world to Quarry, a former Marine turned professional assassin. For over a decade, he’s been killing folks for money, originally in the employ of The Broker. After an altercation with said Broker that ended with the death of his former employer, Quarry is a freelance hitman. He now hunts the hunters, providing a service to those who have contracts out on them where, for a fee, he’ll kill the assassin trying to kill them. For a little more, he’ll find out who hired them and remove them as well. Quarry’s no angel. He’s a killer through and through. And when he kills, you better believe that somebody’s paying for it. Things are a little different this time in Killing Quarry.
The entire time he’s been working, he’s always been on the right side of the contract. But now, someone has put a contract out on him. Turns out his decade long spree of assassinating assassins has caught up with him. The question is who wants him dead and why? The answer may have something to do with what he has in his possession. Quarry finds himself in a compromising situation. But whenever his back’s against the wall, he always finds a way to turn the tables. This may be the first time where there might not be tables to turn.
Like all Max Allan Collins novels, there’s no wasted pages in Killing Quarry. After the setup of the story is given, Quarry hasn’t got time to breath. His life is in danger right from the getgo. The difference between this Quarry novel and the previous ones is the amount of twists and turns the story takes. The usual model of “Quarry hunts a killer and then makes a deal with his target” is thrown out the window. The story constantly pivots to reveal a new obstacle or villain in Quarry’s path. There’s never a clear answer. Quarry has to keep digging. At least this time round he’s got some help.
The introduction of Lu, an assassin from Quarry’s past, adds another level of drama to the whole affair. Unlike other women from Quarry’s past, she’s the first to be truly presented as on his level. A beautiful blonde with almond eyes who could kill Quarry right where he stands. She decides to help Quarry out with his troubles, but for how long? The two share intimate moments and have each others backs but there’s an underlying tension present throughout. Are there really any friends in this business? Like Quarry, she’s a creature of habit.
Quarry is a throwback to an earlier time. He’s very much a product of his era, having both the good and bad traits that come with it. The story takes place in the 1980s and is also true to the times. Quarry’s hard edges haven’t softed in the least. It’s classic hard boiled noir fiction. Collins is still a master in telling these kinds of stories. Raw violence and emotion mixed with strong characters that bleed hard and die fast. Quite a few people die fast, in fact. And that’s just the way we like it.
Killing Quarry is available now! Thanks to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me an advanced copy for review. Get your copy today and see if Quarry makes it out of this one.
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