Better Dead

Max Allan Collins. Forge, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7653-7828-6
In trying to cover too much ground, Collins dilutes the impact of the main investigation in his 18th historical whodunit featuring PI Nate Heller (after 2013’s Ask Not). In 1953, Sam Spade–creator Dashiell Hammett hires Heller to find whatever evidence he can to secure Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who are on death row for treason, a new trial. The investigator adroitly persuades U.S. senator Joe McCarthy, whose Communist witch hunt is at its height, and columnist Drew Pearson, a former McCarthy ally, to help fund his work by promising to reveal anything he finds to them as well. After learning how flimsy the government’s case was against the couple, Heller pursues some leads he gets from a visit to Julius and Ethel in Sing Sing. The truth proves to be more nuanced than any of his employers believes, and Collins again does an effective job of bringing the past to life and making a complex cause célèbre accessible. Recent disclosures about the so-called atomic spies, however, lessen the suspense. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary Agency. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2016
Release date: 05/03/2016
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4668-6078-0
Hardcover - 450 pages - 978-1-4104-9244-9
Show other formats
FORMATS
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X