Quarry's Choice
PublisherTitan Books
Date Published09 January 2015
Price£ 7.99

Quarry's Choice

by Max Allan Collins

Ex-marine sniper Quarry has to infiltrate a crime syndicate in 1970s Mississippi.


Next time you’re naked, faced with two armed men and the only ‘weapon’ you have to hand is a small light bulb, remembering just how Quarry dealt with the situation could save your life! But then if you’re a professional killer like Max Allan Collins’ ex-Marine sniper, you probably know that sort of thing anyway.

Quarry’s back, this time infiltrating the so-called Dixie Mafia in the sordid and unlovely 1970s surroundings of Biloxi, Mississippi. Surrounded by kinky sex and violence, political and police corruption, strippers and thugs, drugs and danger, the Vietnam veteran finds that the one killing he has been contracted to carry out turns into a mini-war as the local hoodlums fight back. Betrayal follows treachery, brutal death follows simple murder as he eventually completes his mission and emerges a much richer, but hardly wiser, man.

I have two problems with Quarry. The first is he is far too good a shot to be true. However difficult the circumstances, he never misses. The second is that he is completely devoid of any but the most basic human feelings. He has no problems killing either men or women so long as he gets paid and if there is any residue of a moral process, it is buried so deeply it seldom surfaces.

Having said that, this is yet another Collins classic of the neo-pulp noir genre. He has carried on the hard-boiled style of his friend Mickey Spillane – some of whose unfinished work he completed – and reinvented it with extra twists for the tastes of new century readers.

No one does believable low-life characters better and his ability to put them into sharply-focussed action stories that will keep you guessing until the inevitably bloody showdown is unsurpassed.

Quarry may not be a particularly likeable man – amoral, sexist, cold and self-centred – but he is among the most fascinating and complex anti-heroes around. But this tough, fast-moving and cleverly-written tale by a master of the genre will compel you to keep turning the pages to discover the next surprise.

Reviewed 23 May 2015 by John Cleal