Thursday, May 2, 2013

Neon Mirage by Max Allan Collins (A Nathan Heller Novel)

Nathan Heller is hired to guard racketeer James Ragen. Ragen has been threatened by mobsters who want to take over his gambling wires. Something goes wrong and Ragen is shot in an ambush. Complicating the matters is Ragen's niece Peggy Hogan. Peggy and Nate have a past that is unknown to her family. Peggy wants Nate to find her uncle's attackers. Heller investigates trying to locate who hired the killers. The investigation eventually leads him out west where he meets up with Virginia Hill and finally with Benjamin Siegel. Siegel has gone west with the vision of turning the sleepy town of Las Vegas into a gambling paradise. Before he knows it Heller is involved with Siegal and helping him to train his security staff to spot pickpockets and to find out why so much material is disappearing from the casino sight. Of course all of this is complicated by the lovely Peggy who Nate is completely in love with. The only trouble, she has the hots for Siegal.

The story takes place in Chicago and Las Vegas in 1946. This is great modern noir at its best. Nathan Heller does not disappoint. Pick up this volume and enjoy the gangsters, cops, private eyes, and lovely ladies from the end of the gangster era.

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