Saturday, May 30, 2015


Here's another book I've read while recuperating from hernia surgery. CHICAGO CONFIDENTIAL (2002) by Max Allan Collins, is the twelfth Nate Heller mystery. Heller is Collins detective hero who gets involved with many of the major crime cases of the twentieth century and in the process, meets a veritable who's who of historical figures.

Set in 1950, CHICAGO CONFIDENTIAL finds Heller involved with the organized crime investigation and congressional hearings spearheaded by Senator Estes Kefauver. At the same time, Senator Joseph McCarthy is ramping up his communist witch hunt through similar hearings. A detective in Heller's employ has a mountain of evidence to surrender to the feds but certain organized crime figures, including Mafia boss Sam Giancana, don't want the evidence turned over. Heller is caught between a rock and a hard place when his operative is killed by a crooked cop and he's forced to retaliate.

It's a twisted maze of mobsters, corrupt politicians and police, Frank Sinatra and oh, yeah, a very young Jayne Mansfield. Heller sure keeps some interesting company.

I love this series. Some may quibble that it's impossible for one man to have met all of the people that Heller does and to be involved, however peripherally, in some of the biggest crimes and mysteries of the twentieth century. I'll grant that, but hey, these are novels, not history books. Collins does do a tremendous amount of research which makes the books as authentic as possible and he always includes a postscript identifying all of the players, both real and imagined. It's a great blend of film noir and The History Channel. I've said it before but it bears repeating: if you love mysteries, if you love history, you'll love the Nate Heller novels. Check 'em out.



  1. I appreciate these comments very much. It's a pleasure to find a reader who really "gets" it.

    1. Thanks Max! I really appreciate your feedback.