cover image ANGEL IN BLACK: A Nathan Heller Novel

ANGEL IN BLACK: A Nathan Heller Novel

Max Allan Collins, ANGEL IN BLACK: A Nathan Heller Novel

The 1947 Black Dahlia case provides the basis for Shamus Award winner Collins's latest intriguing blend of fiction and real-life mystery featuring his well-connected Chicago P.I., Nathan Heller (Majic Man; Flying Blind). Newly married and in L.A. to publicize his partnership with a California-based P.I., Heller and a reporter are the first to discover the severed, mutilated body of Elizabeth Short. It just so happens Heller knew her—they'd dated briefly in Chicago and she'd called just the night before, claiming she was pregnant. If made public, this connection would not only threaten Heller's marriage and business but make him a suspect. The authorities are treating this as a sex crime, but Heller thinks the mob is sending a message to informers. The case also recalls the grisly Kingsbury Run murders (which Collins explored in his 1988 Eliot Ness novel, Butcher's Dozen). In his quest to catch the killer, Heller brings in Ness and hobnobs with gangsters and movie stars, including Orson Welles, who hints at his own possible involvement. The characters, historical and fictional, come delightfully to life; the victim, too, turns out to be tragically complex, at once deceitful, naïve and endearing. Collins paints a web of interconnections in a tightly woven plot and posits a radical solution to a crime that still resonates in literature and movies. (Mar. 6)