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The Million-Dollar Wound (1986)

von Max Allan Collins

Reihen: Nathan Heller (3)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
893245,227 (3.98)5
From a foxhole on Guadalcanal, shared with former champ Barney Ross, to the glitzy underworld of Hollywood in the '40s, Nate Heller fights his memories and "the outfit." Something happened at the Canal, something Heller's blocking out. What he can't block, though, is the wound he received -- the million-dollar wound, the one that got him home. Back in the States, and back in Chicago, he becomes involved once again with Frank Nitti during the gang boss's last violent days and with the gangland attempts to take over the movie unions. The home front is every bit as violent as the war-torn Pacific, and even the solace of fan-dancer Sally Rand can do nothing to ease Heller, who is haunted by the death of a friend in Guadalcanal and surrounded by the mayhem of gangland murders.… (mehr)
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Nathan Heller is Max Allan Collins' invention. 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.

In this novel, which is the third of the "Nitti" era Heller novels, Heller
and his buddy, ex-boxer Barney Ross, enlist in the marines. Both are
too old to enlist, but they lie about their age and enlist anyway. Collins
takes the pair through the drunken evening that ended with Heller enlisting and to Camp Pendleton, where they underwent basic training.
The pair then head out to Guadalcanal to an incredible play-by-play
foxhole fight with the Japanese army. The action is so intense, you
actually feel as if you are watching a war movie, not reading (or
listening) to a novel.

I had already read about how Heller "met" Monroe and the Kennedys
years later, but I assumed that Barney was just another character in
the story, not a real-life celebrity. Ross (aka Beryl Rosofsky) was
actually a world champion in three weight divisions and decorated
veteran of World War II where he fought Guadalcanal and killed nearly
two dozen enemy troops in one night. His father had wanted him to
become a rabbi, but after his father was killed resisting a robbery, Ross
became a street brawler and then a professional boxer. Never knocked
out in 81 fights, he finished his career with 72 wins and is consistently
ranked as one of the best fighters of all time.

The story then takes a wounded Heller (wounded in that great battle
at Guadalcanal) back to the states where he slowly puts together who
he is and is discharged so that he can testify against reputed mobster
Frank Nitti.

The rest of the book follows Heller through Chicago and Hollywood as
he deals with organized crime's entry into the Hollywood unions.
For me, the best parts were the war stories and Heller's recovery, but,
by all means, read the whole book, it's all good.
( )
  DaveWilde | Sep 22, 2017 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and the two that preceded it. Nate Heller joins the short list of my favorite characters. I plan to continue with the series. Well written fiction and a good history lesson all rolled into one!! ( )
  briellenadyne | Nov 9, 2016 |
There is a fairly good Nate Heller novel, with little of the excitement of the classic first two novels, but none of the dryness and improbabilities of the later stories. ( )
  Coach_of_Alva | Jan 21, 2014 |
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Lucky indeed for America that in this theater and at that juncture she depended not on boys drafted or cajoled into fighting but on “tough guys” who had volunteered to fight and who asked for nothing better than to come to grips with the sneaking enemy who had aroused all their primitive instincts.
—Samuel Eliot Morison
History of the United States Naval Operations in World War II
Say a prayer for my pal Who died in Guadalcanal.
—Commonest of inscriptions among the hundreds of crosses in a cemetery on that island
If you don’t do like I say, you’ll get shot in the head.
—Frank Nitti
There’s no business like show business.
—Irving Berlin
Widmung
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For George Hagenauer—
without whom Heller’s world
would be much smaller
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From a foxhole on Guadalcanal, shared with former champ Barney Ross, to the glitzy underworld of Hollywood in the '40s, Nate Heller fights his memories and "the outfit." Something happened at the Canal, something Heller's blocking out. What he can't block, though, is the wound he received -- the million-dollar wound, the one that got him home. Back in the States, and back in Chicago, he becomes involved once again with Frank Nitti during the gang boss's last violent days and with the gangland attempts to take over the movie unions. The home front is every bit as violent as the war-torn Pacific, and even the solace of fan-dancer Sally Rand can do nothing to ease Heller, who is haunted by the death of a friend in Guadalcanal and surrounded by the mayhem of gangland murders.

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