The fiction of Max Allan Collins is immediate, fast paced, and humorous. While Collins
writes strong dialogue and effectively develops characters and stories, he excels most at
creating sympathy through perspective. By narrating through the mind of a protagonist whose
morality is shaky at best, the reader must set aside her worldview to move forward with the
story, perhaps gliding over the question of whether she would act similarly. She experiences a
broader spectrum of human emotions without disrupting her life, without wreaking havoc, and
without waking up in jail. She gets away scot-free. Collins rewards the reader with a
humorously cathartic journey, no mean feat for an artist.
Collins’ fiction isn’t meant to be highbrow. He’s an entertainer writing escapist literature
for an audience with perpetual access to consumable ideology, nonstop news designed to
frighten, and propagandistic calls to action. Nonetheless, Collins writes complex characters in
complicated situations that allow the reader to think without demanding it. At a time when the
film and television industries sell our identities back to us and commodify independence,
iconoclastic and witty renegades like Quarry, Nolan, or Heller allow for a guilt free few hours in
your favorite chair with your favorite beverage.
Max Allan Collins wrote the graphic novel Road to Perdition, wrote novelizations for numerous
popular films, novelized iconic historical figures including Dick Tracy and Elliot Ness, and
created several original characters, including Quarry, Nolan, and Nathan Heller, all of whom
inhabit their own series well worth reading.