Sunday, April 2, 2017


"You pick up a lot reading paperback novels."

Here's some things I've picked up from reading paperback novels.

You can judge a book by its' cover, especially when the cover art is by the legendary Robert McGinnis, an artist who always delivers superlative work. You ask me, there's something seriously wrong with anyone who could look at this cover and not want to read this book.

Check the publisher logo. Hard Case Crime is always a sign of quality. As I've written elsewhere on this blog, HCC is my favorite contemporary publisher.

Ditto the byline. I have yet to read a bad book by Max Allan Collins (and I've read a bunch of 'em) and his novels about professional hit man Quarry are some of his best.

The book is set in April 1972 for that vintage '70s crime novel vibe. Plus, I was in high school in 1972 so I get all of the references for once.

The action takes place in Biloxi, Mississippi, along the Gulf Coast strip of hotels, casinos and titty bars controlled by the southern fried crime cartel known as the Dixie Mafia.

A high body count. By the end of the book, twelve people are dead, nine killed by Quarry.

A teenage stripper/hooker that goes by the stage name of "Lolita". Her real name is Luann. Insert your own "Luann Platter" joke here.

QUARRY'S CHOICE is a pedal-to-the medal crime novel that puts Quarry into a deadly predicament which he handles with his usual aplomb. There are plenty of zingy one-liners, a strong sense of place and time and a surfeit of explicit sex and brutal violence. A small light bulb to the eye of a Junior Sample look-alike killer is only one of the gruesome acts of mayhem and carnage that Quarry inflicts on people.

Quarry is not a nice guy but he's paid to kill people who need killing and he does so with a great deal of efficiency. The villains he goes up against are so vile, you can't help but cheer and pull for a guy with untold amounts of blood on his hands.

This is not a book for kids but it is one helluva fun ride for adults who prefer their crime fiction down and dirty. QUARRY'S CHOICE delivers the goods. In spades. Highly recommended.

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