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Quarry's List

Max Allan Collins
In Print
Hard Case Crime (1976)

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This entry created 1 April 2024. Last revised on 1 April 2024.

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©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
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Quarry's List
Rating: gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star (10.00)

219 pages. Afterword.

As the author explains in the Afterword, he hadn't planned on writing a series. The original novel, now known as Quarry, leaves the protagonist implicated in some major crimes! So when the publisher asked for a sequel, the author felt he had to resolve the situation.

Note that this novel contains sufficient information to be read on its own, but reading both novels in sequence is recommended.

As the novel begins, Quarry – formerly a sniper in the Vietnam War, and formerly a hitman – is living in his home in the woods, waiting for someone to make an attempt on his life. That's the only way to find out who wants him dead…

The trail leads to an old friend and fellow hitman, and then back to the Quad Cities, and Quarry takes a room at a hotel he's familiar with from old times. A prominent lawyer comes into the picture. He discovers two hitmen are stalking an unknown person in a nice home in the older part of town. And Quarry meets a lovely blonde with sad eyes who loves to swim in the hotel pool (just as he does).

Who wants Quarry dead? Who wants control of the hitman bureau? Is there a hitman list, and if so, where is it?

This novel is a pleasure to read, and I flew through it from beginning to end. The characters are interesting, the action keeps coming, the setting is realistic, and there's definitely a 'noir' reveal at the end.

Keep in mind that this is a novel about hitmen, so expect some violence (but not over the top). There is also some sex, so this is not one for children.

Can you wargame it? The action is mostly one-on-one, so difficult to represent on the tabletop. However, the concept – that actions have consequences – is worth keeping in mind for campaigns and RPG gaming.

Highly recommended if you like crime fiction.

This novel was originally published under a different title (chosen by the publisher), which gave away a major plot point. It is now known as Quarry's List. I read the 2015 edition, which includes the Afterword.

Reviewed by Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian.