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Quarry's ex by Max Allan Collins
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Quarry's ex

by Max Allan Collins

Series: Quarry

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Really a prequel to the other Quarry books. This one had the least plausible plot, I thought. Quarry is well into his role as hitman of hitmen, in the service of those who have become targets. Those who have read any of the other Quarry novels will have already have numerous pieces to Quarry’s back-story: how he came to be recruited by the Broker, the betrayal by his ex-wife, his time in Vietnam. That he would meet his ex-wife as the wife of a B-movie director who has been targeted for assassination *and* run into part of the team assigned to perform the hit struck me as coincidences beyond the possible.

Nevertheless, all the Quarry stories are just plain fun, and this one is no exception. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
A plot so boiled it's pure hard crime essence.

"I don’t want to kill you.”
“That’s almost like…almost like hearing you say you still love me, Jack.”"


Based on the ingenious premise of an ex-hitman who now makes a living following his ex-colleagues, identifying their targets and letting them know their life is in danger so he can offer to remove the assassin and the person who hired them, obviously for a large fee.

It’s got an amazing opening, setting the scene and Quarry's character and them wham! Tone set for the rest of the book and your hooked, with pitch perfect dialogue and tight plotting and it doesn’t let up for its short (under 300pgs) length. There is no over the top action, but it is a darkly amusing thriller as we follow Quarry trying to work out the when and the how the hit will be made and then tracking down the instigator. Tripping over B movie actors, gangsters, bikers, harried movie producers and of course his ex.

Does exactly what it sets out to do and does it damn well and it’s got such a amazing cover. Recommended ( )
1 vote clfisha | Jun 15, 2012 |
Published in September 2011, this is the first book from the “Hard Case Crime” imprint since it moved from Dorchester to Titan Books and it’s a cracker. The story features Collins' anti-hero, Quarry, a Vietnam vet and former hit man who now offers a singular service protecting people from hit men. He ends up on a low-budget movie production (Hard Wheels 2), looking out for the director, who is the target for a hit-team. On set he unexpectedly meets his former wife - who had betrayed him when he was in Vietnam; her infidelity leading him to become a hit man in the first place. The plot moves forward at break-neck speed and has action, sex, and violence aplenty. Collins writes with clever, taut, hard-boiled prose; his low-life characters and their motivations are believable; the plot is sharply focussed and the twists are imaginative and realistic. This is a superb pulp fiction crime novel in the classic noir tradition – a cracking, full-throttle page-turner. ( )
  calum-iain | Dec 30, 2011 |
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"Even the enigmatic hit man called Quarry had to start somewhere. And for him that was the day he returned stateside from Nam to find his young wife cheating. He'd killed plenty overseas, so killing her lover was no big deal. And when he was recruited to use his skills as a contract killer, that transition was easy, too. He survived in this jungle as he had in that other one--by expecting trouble. What he didn't expect was ever running into her again..."--from cover, p. [4]… (more)

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