BLOOD AND THUNDER by Max Allan Collins
Kirkus Star


Email this review


Nathan Heller may be a great detective, but you don't want the man as your bodyguard. Still smarting over his failure to protect Chicago's Mayor Cermak from an assassin's bullet, Nate signs on to hand-deliver a bulletproof vest to Louisiana Senator Huey Long in New York, then reluctantly follows Long back to Baton Rouge as one of his retinue of bodyguards. It's an assignment that makes Nate squirm--partly because he and Long paramour Alice Jean Crosley have already reached a tender agreement on the train--but it suits Collins down to the ground. Nate's idea of protecting the Kingfish is to go underground as a Chicago reporter and then to tell each of the would-be killers Long fears--Frank Costello's New York gangsters, Louisiana's Square Dealers, and the local nuncios of Standard Oil--that he's really Nate Heller, Chicago shamus, at their service. Given a strategy like this, it's no surprise when Long is gunned down during a special legislative session at the state capitol. But Nate returns the following year at the widow's request to prove that the killer was not Dr. Carl Weiss after all--that the Kingfish was accidentally shot by his own men. Or was he? Collins tears into profane, monomaniacal Huey Long--a wonderfully timely reminder of the power of anti-federal frenzy--like a slice of rare roast beef. Even though he fails again as a bodyguard, Nate's eighth book (Carnal Hours, 1994, etc.) may be his finest hour.

Pub Date: Aug. 14th, 1995
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Dutton