Skip to main content

Max Allan Collins


Max Allan Collins

Max Allan Collins, an MWA Grand Master, is the author of the Shamus-winning Nathan Heller historical thrillers (THE BIG BUNDLE) and the graphic novel ROAD TO PERDITION, the basis of the Academy Award-winning film. His innovative ’70s series, Quarry, revived by Hard Case Crime (QUARRY'S BLOOD), became a Cinemax TV series. He has completed 13 posthumous Mickey Spillane novels (KILL ME IF YOU CAN) and is the co-author (with his wife Barbara Collins) of the Trash ‘n’ Treasures mystery series (ANTIQUES LIQUIDATION).

Books by Max Allan Collins

by Max Allan Collins - Crime, Fiction

In 1968, Nate Heller is there when Robert Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel. Heller takes it upon himself to investigate the murder when a friend of his and Bobby’s raises doubts about the LAPD’s investigation. Heller strongly suspects the involvement of Jimmy Hoffa (currently imprisoned), but Hoffa seems to be in the clear as the private eye looks into the possible presence of CIA enemies of RFK’s on the murder night, the apparent manipulation of Sirhan Sirhan into a Manchurian Candidate-style assassin and a probable second shooter.

by Max Allan Collins and James L. Traylor - Biography, Nonfiction

Beginning in 1947 with I, THE JURY and continuing with his next six novels, Mickey Spillane quickly amassed a readership in the tens of millions, becoming the bestselling novelist in the history of American publishing. There is, however, more to Spillane’s life than the books. He also starred as Mike Hammer in a movie, was a circus performer, worked with the FBI in capturing a notorious criminal, and starred in Miller Light beer commercials that were so popular they ran for a quarter of a century. Max Allan Collins became Spillane’s friend and collaborator, continuing the Mike Hammer series for years after the author's death. Now, with co-author James Traylor, Collins has produced the first comprehensive and authoritative profile of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master.

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

A millionaire’s son is kidnapped, and private eye Nathan Heller is called in to help. But when half of the record $600,000 ransom goes missing, Heller must wade through a morass of deception and depravity to blow the lid off a notorious crime, the consequences of which reach into the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., where Bobby Kennedy works tirelessly to take down crooked union boss Jimmy Hoffa.

by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Western

An abusive, drunken young scoundrel resists arrest, holds a barmaid hostage, and gets what he deserves from the blazing .44 of Sheriff Caleb York. The late youth's powerful mother, cattle baroness Victoria Hammond, takes the news with stoic resignation. All she asks of Caleb is a favor: help her convince Willa Cullen --- the love of Caleb's life --- to sell her the spread that Willa's late father had carved out of the wilderness. As Willa refuses to give up her land without a fight, the seductive cattle queen sends an army of hired guns to Sugar Creek, the sole source of water available for Willa's herd. Caleb finds himself caught in the crossfire of a savage shoot-out between Willa's cowboys and Victoria's gunfighters.

by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery

Mike Hammer is on the case, this time hunting the murderer of his old friend and bootlegger-turned-legit-businessman, Packy Paragon. Already torn up by the disappearance of Velda, his beloved secretary, Hammer carves a brutal path for vengeance. Drinking heavily, his relationships fraying and his behavior self-destructive, he has to track down Paragon's secret ledger, with the names of every corrupt official in town. With deception everywhere, and a whole host of reasons to want the ledger, Hammer has to pull himself together and solve the case before all hell breaks loose.

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery

The professional hitman known as Quarry --- star of the Cinemax TV miniseries of the same name --- has put killing behind him. But after a beautiful writer of true-crime bestsellers drops by to announce he's the subject of her next book, killers descend to give him some of his own deadly medicine, forcing Quarry to journey into his bloody past to find the answers --- and settle old scores. QUARRY’S BLOOD brings the hitman’s decades-long saga right up to the present day as MWA Grand Master Max Allan Collins explores the startling final act of Quarry’s professional career.

by Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz - Nonfiction, True Crime

In 1934, the nation’s most legendary crime-fighter --- fresh from taking on the greatest gangster in American history --- arrived in Cleveland, a corrupt and dangerous town about to host a world's fair. It was to be his coronation, as well as the city's. Instead, terror descended, as headless bodies started turning up. The young detective, already battling the mob and crooked cops, found his drive to transform American policing subverted by a menace largely unknown to law enforcement: a serial murderer. Eliot Ness' greatest case had begun. Now, Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz uncover this lost crime epic, delivering a gripping nonfiction account based on decades of groundbreaking research.

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

In the aftermath of a bloody heist, Nolan and Jon find themselves flying home to count their ill-gotten gains --- but a skyjacker taking the same flight has other plans. Meanwhile, in Des Moines, someone is offing members of the Mob-connected DiPreta family, and the Mob thinks maybe Nolan can make it stop. Maybe he can --- for a six-figure fee. Originally published as two separate novels (and unavailable in bookstores for 40 years!), DOUBLE DOWN finds Nolan and Jon pursuing the American dream in their inimitable criminal fashion.

by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Western

When Sheriff Caleb York's deputy is shot down in cold blood, York has no doubt the bullets were meant for him. It's the first nasty step in a plan rustled up by Luke "Burn 'Em" Burnham --- eliminate the law, corral a team to rob a bank in booming Las Vegas, New Mexico, then lay low. With a treacherous local merchant for cover, and York out of the picture, all they'll have to do is wait for the calm. Then they get wind of one little hitch: not only is York still alive, but he's gunning for justice --- and revenge. As the winter weather bears down, a chilling cat-and-mouse begins. York isn't about to let Burnham and his gang of miscreants get away. It'd be a cold day in hell if he did.

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

The onetime world-class thief Nolan --- now happily gone straight with his own restaurant/nightclub --- whisks his longtime lover, Sherry, off to Vegas for a trip to a wedding chapel and a honeymoon stay. But an eye-in-the-sky security cam at a casino spots Nolan, whose past catches up with him when he's thought to be casing the joint. An old "friend" sees Nolan as the perfect patsy for a scheme to heist the weekly skim haul, and when the former thief's young frequent accomplice, Jon --- a musician in the casino's house band --- finds the couple mysteriously, suspiciously missing, it's up to Nolan's Best Man to keep wedding bells from tolling a funeral march.

by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery

After Mike Hammer witnesses Wall Street superstar Vincent Colby getting clipped by a speeding red Ferrari, the shaken victim's stockbroker father hires Hammer to find the driver. But the toughest private eye of them all soon is caught up in a series of bizarre, seemingly unconnected slayings marked by a forbidden martial arts technique. What do a lovely redhead, a short-tempered bartender, an exotic call girl, a murdered police inspector and a movie stuntman have to do with a scheme that might have transformed young Colby into a psychological time bomb?

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

It's 1954, and Nathan Heller takes on the Sam Sheppard case. A young doctor is startled from sleep and discovers his wife brutally murdered. He claims that a mysterious intruder killed her. But all the evidence points to a disturbed husband who has grown tired of married life and yearned to be free at all costs. Sheppard is swiftly convicted and sent to rot in prison. Just how firm was the evidence…and was it tampered with to fit a convenient narrative to settle scores and push political agendas? As Heller digs into the case, he becomes convinced of Sheppard’s innocence. But he can’t prove it and has to let the case drop. Heller is given another chance years later, and this time he's determined to free the man…even if it brings his own death a bit closer.

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

No sooner do Hot Rod and the Pistons reunite for their induction into the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame than two band members take a final bow. Both alleged suicides. With replacements at the ready, the Pistons are back on home turf to headline the first ever Rock and Country Music Fest. Police Chief Krista Larson and her father, Keith, suspect that there may be more to the band members’ untimely deaths than anyone else can see. As Krista and Keith navigate the investigation, a dark picture of the band’s rocky history begins to take center stage. As betrayal, revenge and blackmail start playing out in the present, the father-daughter team fear that this encore may be the band’s finale.

by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Western

In a bloody attack, ruthless outlaws hijack the morning stage from Trinidad, New Mexico. Not for gold or money, but for Denver banker Raymond Parker. Even more valuable to Sheriff Caleb York are the money man’s fellow passengers: York’s ex-flame, ranch owner Willa Cullen, and Rita Filley, the sensual owner of the Victory Saloon. Holding their captives at a hotel in the ghost town known as Hell Junction, the Hargrave gang demands a high ransom. Caleb must find a way to infiltrate the gang and rescue the hostages. Because Caleb York knows that when you’re in Hell, justice takes no prisoners.

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery

Quarry, star of 13 previous novels, a comic book and the acclaimed Cinemax TV series, returns in an all-new assignment that takes the hitman's hitman into uncharted territory, when he finds out that for the first time someone has taken out a hit on him. Is the mysterious killer assigned to hit the hitman someone from Quarry's past? Maybe even a past lover?

by Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz - History, Nonfiction, True Crime

In 1929, 30-year-old gangster Al Capone ruled both Chicago's underworld and its corrupt government. To a public who scorned Prohibition, "Scarface" became a local hero and national celebrity. But after the brutal St. Valentine's Day Massacre transformed Capone into "Public Enemy Number One," the federal government found an unlikely new hero in a 27-year-old Prohibition agent named Eliot Ness. Chosen to head the legendary law enforcement team known as "The Untouchables," Ness set his sights on crippling Capone's criminal empire. Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz have recaptured a bygone bullet-ridden era while uncovering the previously unrevealed truth behind Scarface's downfall.

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

In a small Midwest town, 28-year-old Krista Larson has made her mark as the youngest female police chief in the country. She’s learned from the best: her father, Keith, a decorated former detective. But as accustomed as they are to the relative quiet of their idyllic tourist town, things quickly turn with Krista’s 10-year high school reunion. With the out-of-towners holed up in a lakefront lodge, it doesn’t take long to stir up old grudges and resentments. Now a successful TV host, Astrid Lund, voted the “Girl Most Likely to Succeed” --- and then some --- is back in town. As the reunion begins, so does a triple murder investigation. Krista and her father never imagined what would be revealed: the secrets and scandals of Krista’s own past.

written by Max Allan Collins, with illustrations by Marcelo Salaza and Marcio Freire - Fiction, Graphic Novel, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery

Mickey Spillane's tough-talking, brawling, skirt-chasing private detective Mike Hammer returns to comics in this thrilling noir series, based on an original plot by Mickey Spillane, written by Max Allan Collins. When a chance encounter with a captivating femme fatale leads to a violent mob retaliation, hard-boiled detective Mike Hammer finds himself dodging both bullets and hard broads as he undertakes the most dangerous case of his career.

by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Western

Rancher George Cullen doesn’t like the Santa Fe Railroad’s plan to drive a spur through his town. He intends to put up a fight --- even though everyone else in Trinidad, New Mexico, including his own daughter, stands on the side of the railroad. Sheriff Caleb York rides out to the Bar-O to reason with his old friend. But Cullen’s ex-partner, Burt O’Malley, is back in town after a 20-year stint in the pen. And hired gun Alver Hollis, aka the Preacherman, has shown up with two cronies, claiming they’re in town for a big poker game. With the whole town on the verge of a shootout, Caleb keeps a firm grip on his Colt .44. Soon enough, he’ll take dead aim to keep the peace.

by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Crime Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Mike Hammer steals a ride on a train upstate to Killington. But he is welcomed by a nasty surprise: he is accused by police of raping and murdering a young woman near the freight yards. Roughed up by the cops and facing a murder charge, Hammer's future looks bleak. Only a beautiful blonde, Melba Charles --- daughter of powerful Senator Charles --- might possibly save him...if he pays the price. But why would Melba help save a man she has never met? And, more to the point, where is the real murderer? This first Mike Hammer novel --- begun by Mickey Spillane in the mid-'40s and completed 70 years later by Max Allan Collins --- is a gift to mystery fans on the occasion of the noir master's 100th birthday.

by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Crime Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery

Taking a midnight stroll along the Hudson River, Mike Hammer gets more than he bargained for: a partial corpse on an ice floe. The body is that of a butler who spent the last years of his life working for a millionaire --- also now deceased --- and his notoriously privileged children. Were both master and servant murdered? Captain Pat Chambers thinks so. But to prove it, Hammer must travel to upstate New York to investigate the dead man’s family, all of whom have a motive for murder --- and one of whom has a taste for it.

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery

Memphis, 1975. “Raunchy” doesn’t begin to describe Max Climer’s magazine, Climax, or his all-hours strip club, or his planned video empire. And evangelists, feminists and local watchdog groups all want him out of business. But someone wants more than that, and has hired a killer to end Max’s career permanently. Only another hit man --- the ruthless professional known as Quarry, star of the acclaimed series on Cinemax --- can keep Climer from becoming a casualty in the Sexual Revolution.

by Max Allan Collins with Matthew V. Clemens - Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

In Eastern Europe, four CIA agents are dead --- geopolitical pawns caught in border dispute cross fire. Why were they there? Who sent them? Not even the President knows. Back in Washington, the Secretary of the Interior dies from an apparent allergic shock. As details emerge, so do suspicions that she was murdered. Investigating their respective cases, ex–Secret Service agent Joe Reeder and FBI Special Situations Task Force leader Patti Rogers recognize a dangerous conspiracy is in play. When suspects and government contacts are killed off with expert precision, their worst fears are confirmed. As the country edges closer and closer to war, Reeder and Rogers must protect the President --- and each other --- from an unseen enemy who’s somehow always one step ahead.

by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Western

Caleb York has made up his mind and packed his bags. He'll be on the next stage, bound for San Diego and a new life as a Pinkerton man. But before Caleb can say a proper goodbye to his sweetheart, Willa, a peaceful morning erupts into blazing gunfire. Someone has to bring law and order to the wild little town of Trinidad, even as a band of outlaw brothers rides the vengeance trail and a new cattle baron sets his sights on more land…and on Willa, too. With his Colt loaded for justice and a sheriff's badge on his chest, Caleb York emerges as a classic Western hero who knows just how to stand up to the deadliest of enemies --- and win.

by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery, Noir

A failed attempt on his life by a contract killer gets Mike Hammer riled up. But it also lands him an unlikely job: security detail for a Hollywood producer having a party to honor his beautiful fiancée, a rising Broadway star. But it’s no walk in the park, as Hammer finds violence following him and his beautiful P.I. partner Velda into the swankiest of crime scenes. In the meantime, Hammer is trying to figure out who put the hitman on him. Is there a connection with the death of a newsstand operator who took a bullet meant for him? A shadowy figure looking for the kill of his life?

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery

With a controversial presidential election just weeks away, Quarry is hired to carry out a rare political assignment: kill the Reverend Raymond Wesley Lloyd, a passionate Civil Rights crusader and campaigner for the underdog candidate. But when a hate group out of Ferguson, Missouri, turns out to be gunning for the same target, Quarry starts to wonder just who it is he’s working for.

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

It's the early 1950s, and Joe McCarthy is campaigning to rid America of the Red Menace. Nate Heller is doing legwork for the senator, though the Chicago detective is disheartened by McCarthy's witch-hunting tactics. He's made friends with a young staffer, Bobby Kennedy, while trading barbs with a potential enemy, the attorney Roy Cohn, who rubs Heller the wrong way. Not the least of which for successfully prosecuting the so-called Atomic Bomb spies, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. When Dashiell Hammett comes to Heller representing a group of showbiz and literary leftists who are engaged in a last-minute attempt to save the Rosenbergs, Heller decides to take on the case.

by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Western

Crooked Sheriff Harry Gauge rules the town of Trinidad, New Mexico, with an iron fist. His latest scheme is to force rancher George Cullen into selling his spread and to take Cullen's beautiful daughter, Willa, for his bride --- whether she's willing or not. The old man isn't about to go down without a fight. He sends out a telegram to hire the west's toughest gunslinger to kill the sheriff. But when a stranger rides into Trinidad, no one's sure who he is --- but it's deadly clear he's a man who won't be pushed.

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery

Now retired and happily married, Quarry turns down a million-dollar contract to assassinate a presidential candidate. It's not the sort of assignment you can just walk away from without consequences --- but coming after Quarry has consequences, too.

by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Mystery, Noir

PI Mike Hammer’s secretary and partner, Velda, has walked out on him without explanation. It then develops that an old cop who once worked with Velda turns up murdered. What’s more, Mike’s pal, Captain Pat Chambers, has discovered that Velda is in Florida, the moll of gangster and drug runner Nolly Quinn. Hammer hits the road and drives to Miami. But can they find Velda in time? And what is the connection between the murdered vice cop in Manhattan and Mike’s ex turning gun moll in Florida?

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery

It's normal to see bodies on the set of an adult film. But when they're dead bodies --- and the cast and crew discover they're trapped in a house with a serial killer --- Quarry has his work cut out for him.

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery

Putting his plan in motion to target other hitmen, Quarry follows one from steamy Florida to the sober Midwest. But this killer isn't a man at all --- she's a sloe-eyed beauty, as dangerous in bed as she is deadly on the job. Has Quarry finally met his match?

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery

When the man he worked for abruptly exits the business, Quarry finds himself in the crosshairs as a rival tries to take over. But what does Quarry have that the new man wants? And how did the beautiful blonde in the swimming pool become a target?

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery

The assignment was simple: stake out the man's home and kill him. Easy work for a professional like Quarry. But when things go horribly wrong, Quarry finds himself with a new mission: learn who hired him and make the bastard pay.

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Crime Fiction

Quarry is a pro in the murder business. When the man he works for becomes a target himself, Quarry is sent South to remove a traitor in the ranks. But in this wide-open city --- with sin everywhere, and betrayal around every corner --- Quarry must make the most dangerous choice of his deadly career: Who to kill?

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Is a mastermind mounting an unprecedented judicial coup aimed at replacing ultra-conservative justices with a new liberal majority? To crack the conspiracy and save the lives of not just the justices but also Secret Service agent Joseph Reeder’s own family, FBI agent Patti Rogers and legendary investigator Reeder must push their skills --- and themselves --- to the limit.

by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery

Mike Hammer finds himself up against a clever serial killer targeting only cops. The culprit, who Hammer’s old friend, Captain Pat Chambers, had put away many years ago, is suddenly freed on new, seemingly indisputable evidence. Hammer wonders if this placid, very odd old man might somehow be engineering cop killings that all seem to be either accidental or by natural causes.

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Crime Fiction

Quarry doesn't kill just anybody these days. He restricts himself to targeting other hitmen, availing his marked-for-death clients of two services: eliminating the killers sent after them, and finding out who hired them…and then removing that problem as well. So far he's rid the world of nobody who would be missed. But this time he finds himself zeroing in on the grieving family of a missing cheerleader. Does the hitman's hitman have the wrong quarry in his sights?

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Mystery

In 1964, Beatlemania sweeps the nation, the Vietnam War looms, and the Warren Commission prepares to blame a “lone-nut” assassin for the killing of JFK. But as the post-Camelot era begins, a suspicious outbreak of suicides, accidental deaths and outright murders decimates assassination witnesses. It’s up to Nathan Heller and celebrity columnist Flo Kilgore to investigate this increasing wave of violence.

by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Mystery

Mike Hammer accompanies a conservative politician to Moscow on a fact-finding mission. Arrested and imprisoned by the KGB on a bogus charge, he quickly escapes, creating an international incident by getting into a fire fight with Russian agents. On his stateside return, the government is none too happy with Hammer. Russia is insisting upon his return to stand charges, and various government agencies are following him. A question dogs our hero: why him?

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Mystery

Jack Starr is the vice president of a New York City comic book publisher at the very time in the 1950s when comics are under siege from all directions, including Congress, as being dangerous to children. When a prominent expert against the industry is killed, Jack has to find out who did it in this hardboiled novel inspired by real historical events.

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Mystery

Nathan Heller, "P.I. to the Stars," knows that a conspiracy is in the works long before November 22, 1963. Several years earlier, he had been involved in the early stages of a plan to assassinate Fidel Castro that was cut short when his Mafia contact was murdered. After being interrogated by gangsters and contacted by U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Heller realizes that he may be the one person who can prevent a devastating political assassination.

by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Mystery

When Private Investigator Mike Hammer spots a brutally destroyed corpse on the side of the road in upstate New York, there’s no question of him not taking the case. Especially when Melodie Anderson, the stunning young reporter determined to investigate, goes missing. But as Mike sifts through Melodie’s leads in a race to find her before it’s too late, he discovers a murder method more horrible than anything he’s ever come across.

by Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane - Mystery

Private eye Mike Hammer’s old mentor on the New York police force has committed suicide, but Hammer knows that Inspector Doolan would never have killed himself. When a woman is murdered practically on the funeral home’s doorstep, Hammer is drawn into the hunt for a cache of Nazi diamonds, and for the mysterious beauty who had been close to Doolan in his final days.

by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Begun by mystery master Mickey Spillane in the late 1960s and completed four decades later by his friend Max Allan Collins, THE CONSUMMATA follows Morgan the Raider in a breathtaking chase to retrieve a huge sum of money stolen from the struggling Cuban exiles who rescued him. 

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Mystery

After enigmatic hit man Quarry killed his cheating wife's lover, he was recruited to use his skills as a contract killer. What he didn't expect was ever running into his ex again...

by Max Allan Collins - Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery

PI Nathan Heller returns in his first new novel in a decade, as Max Allan Collins brings to life a vivid star-studded cast, from JFK and RFK to Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford, from Jimmy Hoffa and Joe DiMaggio to Hugh Hefner and Sam Giancana.