My Bouchercon panels: The Wrong Quarry, Max Allan Collins' '60s-style original
For one thing, Collins has written about as much as some of the old-timers did, a list prolifically long, especially by today's more polished standards. And The Wrong Quarry (2014), most recent in Collins' long-running series about a U.S. Marine sniper turned hit man, stays faithful to terse, tough-guy narrative, a la Richard Stark or Ennis Willie, while seasoning things with more contemporary touches and topical references (Ronald Reagan, Deep Purple) that keep the story from sliding into nostalgia or pastiche.
The sex is just a little more explicit than that of early 1960s sleaze paperbacks without, however, getting as graphic as the more graphic of today's crime fiction. I especially like the novel's handling of a gay character, flamboyant and safely exotic, in the approved 1940s-1960s manner, yet thoroughly aware that such flamboyance is a front and a shield. Collins' Web site says his rock and roll band plays an "engaging mix of classic rock and their own '60s-style originals." That's The Wrong Quarry: A fast-paced, entertaining '60s-style original.
While I read the novel's second half, I'll ask readers to ponder these questions: How do books or a movies preserve the feeling of a previous time or style without turning into nostalgia? What are your favorite examples?
© Peter Rozovsky 2014