Damned In Paradise: A Nathan Heller Novel (Nathan Heller Novels)

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9780525942252: Damned In Paradise: A Nathan Heller Novel (Nathan Heller Novels)

Private detective Nathan Heller joins forces with the legendary Clarence Darrow to investigate a notorious case in which two members of the powerful Massie family are charged with ordering the death of a young Hawaiian native acquitted of the rape of Thalia Massie

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Review:

Collins' books about Nathan Heller are great fun, mixing history and mystery into a jaunty stew. The latest finds Heller on his way to Hawaii to help lawyer Clarence Darrow on his last case -- defending a bizarre bunch of murderers in the notorious Massie affair. Using the actual facts of the case (a young Navy wife with social connections claimed she was kidnapped and raped by five young men in Honolulu in 1932; when the men were acquitted, her husband and her mother kidnapped one of the accused and killed him while trying to extract a confession), Collins recreates with considerable skill the natural beauty of the setting and the racial tensions of the time. Darrow comes to sad, vivid life as an aging lion at the end of his career, while other real characters like swimmer Buster Crabbe and the Chinese detective who was the model for Charlie Chan mix with Heller and other lively inventions.

From the Back Cover:

In 1931, Nate Heller—on a leave of absence from the Chicago P.D.—goes to Hawaii to work as an investigator for family friend Clarence Darrow. One of five Honolulu natives accused of the rape of recent bride Thalia Massie has been murdered; facing murder charges are Thalia’s naval officer husband and her socialite mother. Something doesn’t seem right, and Darrow has brought Heller in to get to the bottom of it. A first-rate detective thriller, Max Allan Collins’ Damned in Paradise shimmers with authenticity as it drives inexorably towards its grave conclusion. Heller—aided by Chang Apana, the real-life model for Charlie Chan—determines that while Thalia surely was raped, the identity of her attackers are in question, and the lush tropical setting cannot dispel the morass of bigotry, lies, and revenge through which the young detective must wade to reach the bitter truth.

 “Collins recreates a time and place flawlessly, and makes the most of the unique niche he has carved for himself in the genre: presenting alternate solutions to real crimes. A wonderfully entertaining story.”—Booklist

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