Sunday, February 13, 2011

No One Will Hear You by Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens (serial killer thriller)

This second in the new series from authors Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens starts much better than the first, which I wasn't all that impressed with. Nevertheless, I held out hope for the follow-up since other Collins series have only improved as they went along.

No One Will Hear You delivers on that promise with a fantastic opener that delivers thrills and introduces a killer's motives: reality show stardom. He's filming his kills so they'll be broadcast on J.C. Harrow's hit show, Crime Seen. Harrow's family was murdered the night he saved the President from assassination, and he subsequently launched Crime Seen to catch other criminals.

But now that his family's killer has been taken down — with the help of Harrow's hand-picked Killer TV crew — what is left? Even as he helps conquer a money-laundering meth lab, Harrow notes his lack of personal satisfaction — and that his team is not sure they want to go forward into a third season. Meanwhile, they're on the search of a serial killer the cops dubbed "Billy Shears" (a pun on the sharp instruments used to emasculate the male victims) even before the first victim has been identified.

No One Will Hear You is a considerable improvement over its predecessor, You Can't Stop Me, with more of what's expected from a serial-killer novel: the serial killer — either two sharing an M.O. of sharp implements and Rohypnol, or a single, bisexual murderer perpetrating both series of murders.

The truth turns out to be far more interesting in this fascinating new side to Max Allan Collins that will hopefully gain him even more new readers. No One Will Hear You contains instantly memorable chapters from a killer's point of view that are comparable to classic serial-killer novels like Shane Stevens's By Reason of Insanity, Thomas Harris's Red Dragon, and Michael Slade's Headhunter.

Early on, I was able to pause and savor both the style and substance of the book, but as events headed toward the unguessable conclusion, I grabbed every available moment to turn even just one more page in the excitement of the journey. Far exceeding my expectations, Collins and Clemens expand on the potential of their first J.C. Harrow book and produce what may become a classic of the serial-killer genre, continuing plot threads begun in You Can't Stop Me while solidly standing on alone in its cleverness and originality.

Collins has really been showing his range lately, from the light cozy series with his wife as Barbara Allan to finishing the posthumous works of Mickey Spillane in true hardboiled mode to touching on horror with the Harrow books written with longtime collaborator Matthew Clemens.

These co-writers allow Collins to produce even more work than usual, making 2011, the 40th anniversary of his first sale, a bang-up year with no less than 8 new books seeing publication (including the postponed Quarry's Ex). I'm really looking forward to it.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails