cover image Quarry's Vote

Quarry's Vote

Max Allan Collins. Hard Case Crime, $9.95 trade paper (25624p) ISBN 978-1-78329-891-4

Given the bleak tone of Collins's Quarry series, it's not a spoiler to reveal that the tranquility the hitman enjoys at the beginning of his suspenseful fifth outing, first published in 1987 as Primary Target, is short-lived. As he relates in the opening line, his "big mistake was allowing happiness to creep in." Quarry has retired from the murder business and is married to Linda, who reentered his life years after their initial one-night stand. They run a combination hotel, convenience store, gas station, and restaurant in Paradise Lake, Wis. At 39, with money not a worry and a baby on the way, Quarry has become soft, but he's pulled back into his old life by a stranger who knows all about his violent past. The man offers Quarry a million dollars to take out radical presidential candidate Preston Freed, a proposition the assassin refuses. But soon after, Linda and her visiting brother are murdered, sending Quarry on a mission of revenge. Collins (Quarry's Cut) again succeeds in making a stone-cold killer sympathetic and in devising plausible plot twists. (Mar.)