Saturday, March 03, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "Quarry's Ex" by Max Allan Collins

Hard Case
Max Allan Collins'
Slayfest QUARRY'S Full Of EXcitement!

A Keeper in Krime

Reviewed by Don K. Barbecue

One look at the cover of QUARRY'S EX and my uncle “Unk witta K!” who got me into the Quarry books slayback when said, “Hey butt, I can hear it now.” Sheesh, can ya tell he hauled a few rigs outta Coletown? “Hey butt,” indeed. From the beginning of Hard Case Crime Unk's been cooking up lines for said covers like they were word balloons. Like the one he got off for GETTING OFF that prob'ly made folks wonder why I never knocked his Block off.

I looked at said new QUARRY's cover, hmmm-yum, matchless Manchess again. I shrugged at Unk's new purchase, looking at one more next to naked feminine form on a paperback cover made me as if I could care letch, said:

“Okay, Unk, so make like that gun he's pointing and shoot all deadly.”

Unk didn't so much as glare. “You wanna hear what that soaking wet tart's saying to that guy, that I assume to be our old pal Quarry, or not?”

I sighed. “Okay, fire away. Is it funny or is it watery nottery?”

“She's sayin', ' But, honey ...'”

“Ya sure it ain't 'GUNbutt, honey,' Unk?”

I guess it was partially cuz Unk in my formative years made sure I didn't become a what he usedta call “a juvenile smell stink squint.” Even then the man had a way with words. Which probably explains why he wayback when replied, “Geez, kid, I always wondered if yer mom had any kids that shivved.”

“Nah,” I shrugged, grinning innocent-like. “I'm just an all-around knife guy. Course if I went j.d. and went to Hollywood, maybe I could make some reel Brandough!”

Back to 2011. After I recovered from the whack on the head with the new Collins book over my “Gunbutt” remark, Unk said: “Like you said, kid, watery she's saying is:

“But lover, you know that anytime you show little ole me yer big ole gun you can always deep end on me!”

Okay, I gotta admit, Unk came up with another what he calls “good one!” Like I can always rely on him with the killer diller thriller stuff he picks up, like back when he was still truck driving ... I think it was part of his cover ... and buying every paperback hard-boiler on the racks from Coletown to Californ, that I got to read later. Back then, around the time Nanna Coke's own Nick Adams had grown outta DIE, MONSTER, DIAPERS.

Was Unk turned me onto Max Allans Collins, who is now my favorite living writer of suspensifiers, when he “tru” me his battered copy of the first Nolan book. What's that? Oh. Unk sez I should mention here that first two Nolans are reprinted by Hard Case Crime as TWO FOR THE MONEY. Those two toughies were first printed around when we had a President we shoulda all said Nixon and shown him the friggin' Watergate, had we only Agnewn better. Wasn't too long after that Unk tossed me the my first Quarry book, with a “Here, kid, I think this guy Collins has got himself another hit, man!”

We're now living in a tough new decade in a new century in a new what Unk calls “Smell money, yum!” And Collins' Quarry's still out there, proving that neither we nor he has yet had a'snuff.

Watery witch we got here with QUARRY'S EX is the 4th Quarry from Hard Case alone, and like the gal on the cover, it's one of the wets. I mean, bre -, dang it, best! Temple of Schlockers should particularly enjoy that this one takes place in, I'd say, 1980. Ya see, while casing a casino joint, narrator as usual Quarry notices many more campaign buttons for Reagan than Carter. Which makes ya perhaps believe, ha!, that maybe this adventure will turn out Plains and simple.

The reel reason that ToS'ers should go for Q's EX is that it involves low-budget drive-in movies, Roger Corman and the encroachment of Violent & Creepy Reekceivers across the land. Quarry turns out to kinda like drive-ins. Some slurp thighs, huh?

Pic in question being made, Mob financed “B”yond reasonable doubt, is a biker-rama, the sordid type that any “Bury Me A Naked Sleazy Rider Angel” could wheely go for.

Wait, what? ... oh, Unk sez he's still waiting for Corman to make a biker pic called NAKED ANGELS DIE HARD AS THEY COME. That's Unk's Coletown wruhts speaking again, one dirt track mined.

Now, from reading the sample chapter for Q.'s EX on the Hard Case site, ya know Quarry's on the trail of scum that deserve whatever Quarry decides. And he's not the type to forgive and forget when he can sooner be gat them. As in with a firearm or anything else he finds handy, can ya digit?

Like one feller Quarry dispatches, then takes the guy's car out in the desert, ex-owner in it, of corpse, whereupon Quarry runs over the dead guy's head a few times for good measure. And here I thought being dead meant ya were already re-tired!

Sigh. Hold on. Wuzzat, Unk? “Cut to the cutie,” huh? Okay. In the corpse, sorry, course of telling us some of his and this case's background, Quarry gets into the matter of our titular title character. Seems Quarry came back from Nam on leave, wanted to slurp thighs the love of his wife. So he snuck into their joint, bonely to find her engaged in carnal activity with another man. I'll leave it schtupp to you, fear reader, to predict if when our hero sees her servicing a guy .... who isn't even an in-Uncle-Sam's-serviceman ... Quarry does or doesn't get just a tad ricepad Hanoi'ed.

Hey, at lust, I SAID least now we finally know, Quarry having like 10 books under his gunbelt, what witch made Quarry so Minh.

So, back to Quarry's latest slayfest. It's one thing to try to get the goods on mob connections to the biker movie. Gunbutt at least there's this ... UnK sez “pussably naked” ... gal Quarry keeps spying on down in the swimming facilities under bad lighting, and for all that she looks decently indecent. I'll give you guys out there maybe three guesses who she turns out to be, and I ain't gonna start any pool!

Complications, heedless to lay, ensue. QUARRY's EX is married to just abutt the worst person can be, this Hard Case of his considered. Still, there's that movie thing, and lots gore, to work out. And wait till ya see what feature, of four offered in the multiplex, Quarry's one likely quarry takes him to ... the very one I saw my self at a drive-in: THE LONG RIDERS. Okay, there's horses steada car crash & burning or driving over a dead 'un's head, but even watching it without vehicles colliding from the comfort of yer own backseat with yer best gal on, uh, hand, at least LONG RIDERS has one helluva lot of Carr-a-dyin's.

Speaking of cars, what's that chugging, like backfiring, sound? Ah well. Trust me on this one, QUARRY's the best MAC thriller I've read since his first Mike Hammer, FEMUR THIGHS BONELY, I mean, THE GOLIATH BONE. The newest Hammer, KISS HER GOODBYE , is lick thighs pretty explosive. Why, there's this one page-long bit near the end where Hammer's on such a terror of a tear that it makes what Hammer did to the bad guy near the end of Spillane's own THE GIRL HUNTERS look leisurely as nail mail. Please, no remarks about cutie kills.

Which brings us to MAC's second new HCC-er of last year, THE CONSUMMATA, which I'll review soon and is another piece Collins finished from material the Mick left laying around rather in a ms.

And ... wait. Like that WILLARD guy at the 70's drive-in horror movie Ed Wooda said -- “De-rat, wuzzat noise?” Whatever. Gonna ignore it for now, cuz I'm heading from here onto a new Collins and Spillane agun, and after the end of that GETTING OFF review, what's another BIG BANG, anylay? Unless, Unk sez, “it gives ya atomic ache!”

Happy Birthday
Max Allan Collins!

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