#33 – Quarry’s Climax, Max Allan Collins BOOK REVIEW

March 3, 2018

quarrys climax

I wonder why hit men are so compelling as fictional characters. What little I’ve seen of real life assassins suggests they are weaselly ragamuffins and about the least cool section of society. Fredrick Forsyth’s Day Of The Jackal introduced the idea of a meticulous, highly-skilled assassin hunting the high value target of French president Charles De Gaulle. In contrast, the coke-addled skinny-fat sicarios of Mexican cartels [1] are a pathetic bunch.

Quarry is one of the cool fictional hit men.

This series was started in 1971 about a young soldier returning from Vietnam to find his wife in bed with a draft dodger. Quarry goes around to the man’s garage the next day to remonstrate and ends up crushing him under a car. He avoids prosecution but the case attracts the attention of The Broker, a middleman for arranging assassinations. He recruits Quarry and the legend is born. These stories have a nice old-school Mid-Western feel in the books.

The series didn’t catch on and died after a few books but when Charles Ardai republished them for his Hard Case Crime imprint they found an audience. And then it was picked up for TV. Have a look at this trailer. I watched all of season one. Great stuff.

Unfortunately the series was cancelled before filming the second season. Bollocks! [2] I do recommend it though. They moved it to Memphis for a sweaty southern feel but otherwise remained faithful to the books. It even features Marlo Stanfield in the pilot.

I’ve read all the Quarry books now and they are rather formulaic. He’ll be minding his own business at his lakeside cabin when the Broker calls with a job. He heads off to join his partner Boyd who had spent a week doing surveillance on the target. Then Quarry gets involved and shoots them.

Oh, did I mention that he bangs every single woman in the story? Or that he never gets himself into danger, and thus never needs dig deep in courage or wits to save himself?

He’s basically a super hero.

That got me thinking to the difference between when I read the first few Quarry books pre-game, and the rest of them post-game. It’s not the same experience. When I was a chode, I was living with my ex-wife, working in an office and resigned to living vicariously through others for adventure. Quarry was fantasy wish-fulfullment, a cool badass who rolls into a new town, bangs some hotties, then whacks the target. So when Max Allan Collins has the local nubiles throw themselves at Quarry under the most unlikely situations I just nodded my head and took my vicarious enjoyment.

Now, post-game, I just think “that wouldn’t happen” [4]

More fundamentally, Quarry is no longer adventure lived vicariously. You see, post-game, I’ve been the cool badass [5] rolling into a new town, banging some hotties and then whacking the target. Except for the last bit. Foolish though it may be, I now mentally put myself into Quarry’s position and think “how would I work that situation”, or “what would be the real-life way this fictional situation would play out?”.

I dare say I wonder what his notch count is.

If you’d like to live vicariously through the adventures of a cool badass you’ll probably want to buy Quarry. If you’d rather there was even more shagging per book, how about you try my memoirs Balls Deep, Deplorable Cad, Adventure Sex.

[1] Who, quite comically, seem to get themselves decapitated and dismembered for Liveleak on a regular basis
[2] If any readers know of a hard-boiled series about a professional assassin, please let me know. La Femme Nikita and Quarry are the only two I know of and I’ve watched every episode of both [3]
[3] Come to think of it, if you know of a novel or short story series of that type I’d like to hear about it.
[4] Though to be fair to Collins, many of the girls sleep with Quarry for an angle such as to pump him for info when working for the opposition, or they are just coke whores or strippers at work. Some MILFs too. So in that sense it’s not all so unlikely.
[5] In my own mind, at least


  1. Thank you Nick,

    Any chance for a really quick opinion of War and peace Tolstoy. I know you’ve read the book. I just started and It’s definitely not an easy book to read, wondering if it really is of value to stick it through.

    Thank you for your wonderful posts lately! [I gave up on W&P after 100 pages. Crushingly boring. I intend to have an other try but not any time soon. K.]

    • Interesting, my mum has read the book and said that it’s excruciatingly boring to read in the beginning, but after you get about half way through you’ll be hooked. So might be worth plowing through.

  2. I watched the series. I loved the early 70s retro feel to it..

    But watching it from a Red Pill perspective the main character is a cucked beta. He stays with his cheating wife and he’s basically taking care of her.

    He’s not James Bond cool and the bad ass who blackmails him into service exploits him to the max including as we learn during his time in Vietnam.

    What’s interesting is the black dude who games the widow of his dead friend to try to recover the money the friend came into through some bungled caper.

    I do enjoy watching these stories from a Red Pill game savvy perspective.

  3. K, I know you’re not a big fan of black people, but the 60 seconds of this song that start here reminded me of you 100% 😀 [I’m not anti-black. I’m pro-white and race realist. I happen to dislike much of black culture but it’s theirs not mine and I wouldn’t presume to tell him what they ought to enjoy. K.]

    Listen to the lyrics carefully, and it gets better after a few seconds.

  4. When are you going to buy a white van to tour Europe?

  5. It’s unfortunately not a series but “Shibumi” by Trevanian is one of the best professional assassin novels I have read. [Looks great, thanks. K.]

  6. try Rain series; Barry Eisler [Looks like just the thing. Thanks. K.]

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