THE BIG BUNDLE by Max Allan Collins
Publisher: Hard Case Crime
A middle-aged man taking stock of his life is to be expected.
The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…
When Nate Heller is called in to assist authorities, he has reason for concern. Six-year-old Bobby Greenlease was kidnapped nearly a week ago. The kidnappers demanded $600,000 (a record ransom at that time) for the little boy’s safe return. The ransom amount isn’t the concern. Bobby’s daddy is a millionaire. He can easily afford the demand. Further he’s more than willing to pay for his son’s safe return. Heller’s concern is the kidnappers are idiots. They’ve already bungled a drop-off. Stupid criminals make stupid mistakes. Heller fears that Bobby is already dead.
Bobby’s dad insists on no F.B.I. or police interference when the cash is dropped off.
I won’t give away the outcome of the case other than to say, when the ransom money is recovered, $300,000 is missing.
Five years later, Heller is called back to revisit the case. Who ended up with the missing $300,000? As Heller digs into the evidence he discovers that both Bobby Kennedy and Jimmy Hoffa are interested in his findings. And not for the same reasons. People are murdered as Heller get closer to the truth. He could be next.
I’m a huge fan of Max Allan Collins’ Nate Heller series. Heller is a fictional detective who finds himself in the middle of real crimes. Heller ages in real time as the series progresses. His tales are fiction based on extensive research and historical fact. Heller has been in the mix on everything from the Lindbergh baby kidnapping/murder to the suspicious death of Marilyn Monroe, to the Kennedy assassinations (both Jack and Bobby) and more. It’s fun watching Heller interact with famous (and infamous) folks right out of our history books. Equally enjoyable is Collins’ take on the crimes and what may have really happened.
I’m usually familiar with Nate Heller’s cases. I wasn’t with this one. Not knowing how the kidnapping would turn out (and Collins’ excellent writing) kept me turning pages. Then once the kidnapping is resolved, the mystery of the missing $300,000 comes into play. THE BIG BUNDLE is like two Nate Heller yarns in one. It doesn’t get any better.
THE BIG BUNDLE is another great addition to the Nate Heller legacy. It gets my highest recommendation.