When I sat down and started reading TARGET LANCER, it didn’t take me long to realize it was not the story I expected. Oh, there’s a plot to kill President Kennedy alright, just not the one I expected. In his research for this book, Max Collins discovered there had been another known assassination plan that would happen in Chicago. Not a lot is written about it, but enough to whet the author’s imagination.

Heller gets pulled in when a man who’d did some PR work for him years ago asks him to function as a bodyguard while he makes a delivery to a contact in a strip club. An envelope full of hundreds, the man had gotten roped in because of free tickets to a Bears game.

Heller recognizes the contact, a man he grew up with and who went under the name Jack Ruby these days. Ruby spots him as well and the pair end up shooting the breeze about the old days. Heller even meets a young man there named Lee Harvey Oswald.

All this taking place in late October, 1963.

As usual Max Collins has woven real history into his fictional account. Most of the people are real, their actions here a product of his imagination. Collins freely admits things have been altered a bit, not a lot, to get a coherent narrative. And some things are different because of conflicting accounts in the various books he researched.

I thought this was a much better novel than placing Heller directly in the middle of the events of Dallas later in November. It’s been done many times and this angle, a plot uncovered in Chicago was new to me. And most readers I would wager.

I never fail to be entertained with a Max Allan Collins novel.


TARGET LANCER will be released on November 27th. You will be reminded.