Friday, May 27, 2011




Max Allan Collins has received a lot of deserved kudos over the years for his series featuring his hit man character, Quarry, his brilliant Heller private eye novels, and so many other consummate literary outings. However, I’m still partial to his original series featuring the professional thief Nolan.

Nolan introduced me to Collins writing, and I’ve been with him ever since. It doesn’t matter how influenced Collins was or wasn’t by Westlake/Stark’s Parker series, Nolan transformed over the course of seven novels into his own man, allowing Collins to develop the literary chops that have brought him award after award.

With the Nolan series, Collins was not only writing the kind of books I wanted to read, but also the kind of books I wanted to write – lean and mean with plenty of attitude and atmosphere.

The '80s covers were also pretty cool . . .


The mob couldn’t kill him, the cops couldn’t catch him, and even time wouldn’t slow him down . . .

His name’s Nolan . . . a shrewd, restless tough guy with a talent for theft. With a lifetime of heists under his belt and a bullet in his side, he’s ready to retire. And the Mafia’s eager to help him along . . . permanently. They think he’s got a debt to pay – with his life. But after all these years, they might be willing to settle for $100 grand instead.

Nolan’s got to pull a bank job to try to save his ass. Trouble is, the only people willing to help him are a kid whose idea of danger comes out of comic books, a punk as green as the grass he smokes, and a sweet young thing who gets her kicks playing one man off another . . .and another . . .

It’s a desperate gamble – for the highest stakes – and Nolan’s down to his last chip . . .

If you only know Collins’ other novels, there is a treat in store by tracking down his Nolan titles and seeing where it all began.


Bait Money (1981)
Blood Money (1981)
Fly Paper (1981)
Hush Money (1981)
Hard Cash (1981)
Scratch Fever (1982)
Spree (1987)
Mourn the Living (1999)


George said...

Like you, I enjoyed the Nolan series, too. I suspect all of these books will be available as ebooks soon.

Mel Odom said...

Man, this brings back memories.

Brian Drake said...

When I read the Nolan books I was working overnights at a music radio station, and instead of doing my show, I would set the computer to play song after song (including commercials) so I could sit and read. It took a few days to read each book and then I had to track down "Spree".

Randy Johnson said...

One of my favorite series. Big fan of Collins. Heller was where I first found him and have been tracking down his older works ever since.

Iren said...

I have been meaning to check out the first two books in the series via Hard Case Crime's Two for the Money, and your post has me reaching for it finally.