SPREE by Max Allan Collins


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Blackmail, kidnapping, vengeance, and a shopping-mall heist--lumped together in a violent, pulpy, predictable thriller from the author of uneven mysteries (the Mallory series) and 1930s-gangland novels (True Detective, 1984; etc.). The not-very-appealing hero here is 50-ish Nolan, an ex-crook who has gone straight--settling down in the Quad Cities (on the Iowa-Illinois border), buying a restaurant, and developing a serious relationship with young, sexy Sherry. But then Sherry is kidnapped--by loathsome psycho-crook Cole Comfort and his good-looking, dim-witted son Lyle. The Comforts, you see, want vengeance on Nolan, who killed (in self-defense) some of their kinfolk. They also want to force Nolan to help them with their ""spree""; a late-night robbery of the ritzy shopping mall where Nolan has his restaurant. So Nolan and his sometime sidekick, young cartoonist/rock-musician Jon (another charmless type), reluctantly join in plans for the big heist (a ten-man, two-truck operation), meanwhile trying to locate Sherry--who's enduring an escape-chase ordeal. And there'll be lots of standard robbery-detail, some pome-sex (Jon seduces Lyle's sex-kitten sister), and a bloody finale before the ho-hum fadeout. Despite sporadic burbles of facetiousness in the narration, this has little of the shrewd irony, dark humor, and memorable characterization that you'll find in comparable suspense by Elmore Leonard, Thomas Perry, et al. Routinely professional.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1987
Publisher: Tor--dist. by St. Martin's