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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Better Dead

Better Dead

A Nathan Heller Thriller

Nathan Heller (Volume 15)

Max Allan Collins

Forge Books



Nathan Heller tangles with Joe McCarthy in Max Allan Collins's thrilling novel Better Dead: "Collins combines the historical and the hard-boiled thriller into a new genre-uniquely American, and uniquely his own."--Andrew Vacchss

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.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.



I was there when the Commies took over.

You won’t find it in the history books. But for one day in 1950, in a certain Wisconsin hamlet, the Red Menace came alive in America. I was only an observer,...

Praise for Better Dead

"Collins’ take on 1950s New York City, especially Greenwich Village - dancing at the Village Barn, breakfast at the Waldorf Cafeteria - is impeccable." - Kirkus Reviews

"The entire era comes to vivid life with a fever pitch. You won’t find a more engrossing historical thriller than Better Dead, nor will you have as much fun reading it." - Book Reporter

"Collins again does an effective job of bringing the past to life and making a complex cause célèbre accessible." - Publishers Weekly


Reviews from Goodreads

Max Allan Collins

MAX ALLAN COLLINS has been chosen as the 2017 Grand Master by Mystery Writers of America (MWA). He is the author of the acclaimed graphic novel Road to Perdition (the basis for the Academy Award-winning Tom Hanks film) and its sequels, as well as the Nathan Heller mysteries, including Bye Bye, Baby, Target Lancer,and Ask Not. An independent filmmaker, Collins lives in eastern Iowa.

image of Max Allan Collinso
©Bamford Studio

Read Author interview at Crimes Spree Magazine


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