Opening in October 1953, Max Allan Collins’ 18th Nathan Heller adventure finds the middle-aged detective in Kansas City, consulting on a kidnapping, this time involving Bobby Greenlease, the 6-year-old son of multimillionaire auto dealer Robert Cosgrove Greenlease, Sr. Although Heller works with both the local police and the FBI, the case ends tragically, with the death of the child and half of the ransom money seemingly vanished.
Collins then fast forwards to August 1958, as Heller covertly investigates what happened to the missing ransom, at the behest of both Jimmy Hoffa and Robert F. Kennedy, who want to uncover the sordid truth about the tainted money.
Simply put, if you’ve enjoyed this series thus far, you’ll find plenty to like about Collins’ latest fictional foray, as, like previous installments, the story expertly interweaves fact and fiction in an entertaining and winning manner. If you’re new to the series, this is a great place to start, as it finds Collins at the top of his considerable game.
The author’s crisp writing and canny plotting, supplemented by his thorough and revealing research, are on ample display from start to finish. It’s an impressive piece of work, especially when you consider that this MWA Grandmaster, who has been at it for close to half a century now, doesn’t falter once.