THE LAST QUARRY(2006)
THE FIRST QUARRY(2008)
Quarry is Max Allan Collins’ hit man for hire in a series of novels started in 1976. These two are the latest and, I must say, as in all of his works, they are a quick read in a clean style. I’ve not read any of the others(five or six) and from what I can determine, they are generally not available. Abebooks seems to have only one listed.
Collins makes them easy to read without knowing anything about the others, giving a bit of back story as the narrative moves along.
THE FIRST QUARRY
This is the story of how Quarry got into the business.
Coming back from Viet Nam, he was recruited by a man known only as The Broker. He’d been a long distance shooter in the military and The Broker liked dealing with soldiers. Quarry was a code named laid on him by the boss, who was the buffer between his shooters and the clients.
All Quarry knew was his target was a college professor who liked boffing college girls. He was to kill him and find a manuscript, destroying it. That was all. Intel had already been done by another agent. His job was to watch a few days, nailing down movements, then do the job.
Then things started going wrong. People he had no knowledge of started showing up, he was caught unawares by a P.I. working the same client for a different employer, he became aware of The Broker’s client by accident, he gets involved with two women he shouldn’t. A hell of a lot for a twenty-five year old on his first job.
Quarry has to start improvising, the bodies start piling up, none of them his target.
Being his first job, we know everything comes out in the end. But Collins does it all with style.
THE LAST QUARRY
Quarry is forced out of retirement, his wife murdered in her bed, his resort and all monies, not to mention his identity, compromised. All this must have happened in the last novel. Here he’s the manager of a resort owned by an old army buddy. By a lake, he’d been on this job for six months.
Stopping in a market for supplies, he spots an old enemy from his former life. They had screwed a job up and Quarry had been brought in to clean it up. They beat the hell out of Quarry for making them look bad and now here was one of them, buying junk food and – tampons?
Quarry ends up rescuing a rich man’s daughter, killing the two mobsters doing it.He decides to take over and gets one hundred thousand for returning the daughter.
Then, when the rich man tracks him down, he’s forced to take a job to kill a young woman. When he falls for her, things really get complicated.
Both novels are part of the Hard Case Crime line. I liked them both, which is usually the case with Max Allan Collins.