The Mystery Writers of America have announced Max Allan Collins and Ellen Hart as the 2017 Grand Masters, an award that recognizes “the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing and was established to acknowledge important contributions to this genre, as well as for a body of work that is both significant and of consistent high quality.” It is the highest honor the association bestows.
Better Dead: The latest Nathan Heller Thriller from Max Allan Collins! It's the early 1950's. Joe McCarthy is campaigning to rid America of the Red Menace. Nate Heller is doing legwork for the senator, though the Chicago detective is disheartened by McCarthy's witch-hunting tactics. He's made friends with a young staffer, Bobby Kennedy, while trading barbs with a potential enemy, the attorney Roy Cohn, who rubs Heller the wrong way. Not the least of which for successfully prosecuting the so-called Atomic Bomb spies, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. When famous mystery writer Dashiell Hammett comes to Heller representing a group of showbiz and literary leftists who are engaged in a last minute attempt to save the Rosenbergs, Heller decides to take on the case. Heller will have to play both sides to do this, and when McCarthy also tasks Heller to find out what the CIA has on him, Heller reluctantly agrees. His main lead is an army scientist working for the C.I.A. who admits to Heller that he's been having misgivings about the work he's doing and elliptically referring to the Cold War making World War II look like a tea party. And then the scientist goes missing.
In the 1970s, Michael Satariano, Jr., returns to the United States from a Laos prison camp and is told that his whole family has been killed by mobsters and that he was listed as a casualty of the Vietnam War. Sent by the Justice Department to infiltrate organized crime and assassinate certain people, Michael is set on a road that will lead him to love and to Perdition, Kansas, where his family legacy lies waiting for discovery.
Jane Lawless is a woman at a crossroads - her lover has left, she has finally recovered from a vicious attack sustained last year, and the holidays are closing in. With no one to help her ring in the new year, Jane reluctantly agrees to accompany her good friend Cordelia Thorn on a peculiar holiday trip: Cordelia's estranged sister, Broadway star Octavia Thorn, has asked them to attend her wedding. Octavia getting married is no surprise - she's done it three times before - but her candidate for hubby #4 certainly is. Roland Lester is a reclusive eighty-three-year-old retired Hollywood director, a relic from the golden age of Tinseltown with a controversial past. No one can understand how the two met, much less fell in love. When the bodies start to drop, Jane realizes it might not be love at all that brought the young diva and the aged director together, but something much deeper, and perhaps more sinister. Delving deep into film history, Jane finds unsettling connections between Roland and a murder that was never solved. Finding out what happened 40 years ago could be the key to unlock the mystery of Octavia's curious marriage, but laying bare such long-buried secrets also promises grave consequences for everyone involved.