Monday, March 03, 2008

"Scrap" by Max Allan Collins

Originally appeared in The Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction ed. Ed Gorman, 1987.

Reprinted in Chicago Blues ed. Libby Fischer Hellman. Bleak House Books, 2007.

In honor of Collins's 60th birthday, this review of a Nate Heller story. In 1939 Chicago, Nate is hired by the treasurer of a garbage workers union to shadow a former union member who may be a spy for the mob. Heller picks up the man's trail in time to hear him shot by the union president.

In the aftermath, Nate is asked to play along as the union and the victim concoct a story to give the police. Heller is the classic, smooth, tough-guy P.I. and like all of Collins's stories, "Scrap" is well researched and period pitch-perfect.

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