Target Lancer

Target Lancer by Max Allan Collins, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Nathan Heller is Collins’ fictional creation, but Collins has placed Heller throughout the history of the twentieth century alongside Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Eliot Ness, and Huey long. Heller is a fictional character who interacted throughout the twentieth century with interesting figures and in controversial situations ranging from Eliot Ness’ war on organized crime to Marilyn Monroe’s last days.

As bizarre and silly as the concept sounds in the abstract, in Collins’ capable hands, the concept actually works and works well. Target Lancer takes it’s title from the Secret Service code name for JFK. Collins takes on the controversy over JFK’s assasination, keying in not on Dallas, but on the plot to kill the president a few weeks earlier in Chicago. Collins ties the plot into the machinations that began with
hooking up the Cuban exiles with mafia elements a few years earlier. The premise is that there are so many connections with the CIA through Ruby and others and the fact that there were plots in Chicago and Dallas makes it hard to believe it was only a lone gunman, particularly since that loose end is eliminated. The book is an excellent read. I read it cover to cover in one night and it was a late night but worth it.

Heller is hired to play bodyguard to a businessman who is asked to do a money drop in a strip joint. The person who appears to take the money is Jack Ruby, apparently at the behest of Hoffa. Meanwhile, the President is coming to town and bobby Kennedy convinces Heller to help the secret service ferret out the assassination team. The portraits of all these people feel right on. At least five stars for this one.

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