Collins's new book from Hard Case Crime is Quarry in the Middle and you can't beat Quarry for a hero to spend time with. Despite Collins's claims that his hit man protagonist is despicable, I enjoy his point of view. He can be a punk, but he's the kind of punk I think, in my fantasies, I'd like to be. The first Quarry novel I ever read, because the books are hard to find, was Primary Target, which is still my favorite, because it was the first, but each book in the Quarry series has a gripping plot, terrific characters, and a sucker-punch twist somewhere near the end. Collins always knows exactly where to put the twist, and I have to wonder how much outlining he does in advance, if he does any at all, or whether or not he just makes it up as he goes.
Quarry in the Middle is another great entry in the series, and it feels like the book that covers the territory leading to Primary Target. It takes place in the '80s, and feels like it was written in that time but it isn't written as a period piece. If this had been a trunk novel, I wouldn't be surprised. The story is fairly simple: Quarry tries to find out who has put a contract out on a casino owner, and murder and mayhem and sex and violence follows in the typical Collins glory. It's a short book, and it moves quick, and while the twist at the end is somewhat subdued compared to others in the series, it is still more than satisfying and left me with a wide grin wondering when, if at all, we'll see Quarry again.
I only have one complaint about the book. Somewhere in the book somebody puts a body in the trunk of a Corvette. Problem is, Corvettes do not have trunks, they have glass-covered hatchbacks that let you see inside the car, so stuffing the body in the back of a Corvette would advertise the presence of said body to whoever, like a cop, happens to drive up behind said Corvette. Considering all the bang-up research Collins does on his Heller novels, I'm surprised he let that get through. Looking at a photograph would have done the job, but I only mention that because I'm a Corvette nut. A normal person won't notice.
What a reader will notice is a whopper of a story that leaves you wanting more, and more, and more.