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Two for the Money (Nolan #1-2)

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  227 ratings  ·  23 reviews

They don’t come tougher than Nolan – but even a hardened professional thief can’t fight off the entire Chicago mafia. So when an old friend offers to broker a truce, Nolan accepts the terms. All he has to do is pull off one last heist – and trust the Mob not to double cross him
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Published October 30th 2011 by Hard Case Crime (first published 1973)
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When a fresh-faced guy in a Chevy offered him a lift, Parker told him to go to hell. the guy said, "Screw you, buddy," yanked his Chevy back into the stream of traffic, and roared on down to the tollbooths. Parker spat in the right-hand lane, lit his last cigarette, and walked across the George Washington Bridge.


Out in the middle, the bridge trembled and swayed in the wind. It does it all the time, but he'd never noticed it. He'd never walked it before. He felt it shivering under his
Dan Schwent
Bait Money: In order to pay off the Family and get his access to his old cover identity and savings, Nolan takes on a heist no one else would take: a bank, with three amateurs as his crew. Can Nolan pull it off and will the family keep their end of the deal if he does?

According to the afterword, Nolan was created as an homage to Richard Stark's Parker and it shows. Nolan is an older, slightly softer version of Parker. The thing that keeps him from being a Parker ripoff is his relationship with J
Two for the money is, of course, a pun, and the book contains two novellas, sort of. No spoilers. You will just have to read this book to understand why I can’t tell you about Book Two or provide much of the plot.

Excellent Nolan the thief story. Nolan is getting old, or at least to an age that he thinks is old (he’s forty-nine but [spoiler coming: turns fifty in Book Two.) He’s also an Iowan, or at least Iowa has become his locale of preference given his problems with Chicago.

Iowa City depresse


We all know the old saying about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, and that aphorism holds no less true in the world of writing. Homages to the works of famous authors not only honor the individuals but show the extent of their influence in their chosen fields. The eldritch imaginings of H.P. Lovecraft have gotten mileage far beyond their original iterations thanks to artists as diverse as Brian Lumley and Neil Gaiman. Entire swathes
Two for the Money is an omnibus edition of two novels, Bait Money and Blood Money, that Max Allan Collins originally wrote in 1973 and then revised for re-publication in 1981. He wrote them partly as a tribute to Donald E. Westlake's Parker series, which Westlake wrote under his Richard Stark pseudonym. Unlike Parker, however, Nolan is about as convincingly tough as a five-year-old wearing an eyepatch and pretending to smoke a cigarette. At no point in either of these novels does Nolan ever seem ...more
This is actually two novels by Collins - Bait Money and Blood Money. According to the Afterward, Bait Money is the first novel he had published. Compared to many of the Hard Case Crime books I've read it's quite good - impressive for a new author.

In fact I enjoyed Bait Money more than Blood Money. Blood Money suffered from quite a bit of clunky exposition that retold bits of the story from Bait Money. Considering the two novels were combined into one book for Hard Case, someone should have done
Greg of A2
Nolan is a solid, tough-guy character and he's made better in these two books by linking up with Jon, the comic book collector. Together, they make an odd but interesting pair. I did feel a bit of a fizzle towards the end of the second book but it never made me want to put it down for a "rest" like some books do. Collins shows here that he is a student of the genre and has some very good writing skills even in these, his first two books. Looking forward to reading further adventures of this char ...more
"Bait Money" is remarkably good for a first novel, gritty and mesmerizing, but somewhat spoiled by the ridiculously commercial ending demanded by Collins' agent. The sequel, "Blood Money", is quite disappointing by comparison. It's unfocused and rambling, and far too much time is spent rehashing material from the first book; ironically, it has a more interesting conclusion.
Michael Borshuk
Interesting, imperfect two-fer republication from a crime fiction heavyweight. Great ambivalent ending, in any case.
Another enjoyable Hard Case Crime novel.
Two For the Money (TFTM) comprises two separate but sequential works — Bait Money and Blood Money — and hence its title. And the book delivered true noir modern escapism as advertised, steeped in old school crime and revenge at its finest.

The tale was largely written in the early 70s, and Author Collins’ words today transport us to a time when phone calls were worth far more than a quarter or a dime. As a one-time Hawkeye and avid collector (and trader) of campaign buttons, TWTM harbored big but
Mark Plaid
Nolan, a professional thief who worked for the mafia, runs afoul of mob boss, Charlie, when he kills his brother. Nolan is in deeper shit when he learns that Charlie exposed Nolan's cover name and now a great deal of scratch he had packed away for his retirement became untouchable. After many years go by Charlie puts out the word that he wants a meeting with Nolan. He can't resist and goes to Charlie doing his best to keep things to his advantage to survive the encounter.

As it turns out Charlie
James  W. Powell
Two for the Money consists of two Max Allan Collins novels featuring Nolan, an aging tough guy who's looking to get out of the game. The first, Bait Money, is a fantastic crime novel that shows Collins at the top of his game. The second, Blood Money, didn't work quite as well for me. Too many of the events felt too coincidental, as if they were happening just to move the plot forward. Despite that, the two-book collection proved to be a fun read, one that makes me want to read more Nolan books. ...more
Claudette Gabbs
I gave it 3 stars, but it's more like 3 1/2 stars.
Michael Mcqueen
I have been reading the Hard Case Crime novels in the order they were published. This one is not as tightly plotted as the others, and is very easy to follow. However, that does make it easy to devour in a sitting or two. Very light, enjoyable read.
The first HCC book I have not liked. Not even the cover.
There is two book in this one and I even tried to cut down my intake of Nolan by reading something else between these things, but still. No.
Did not like.
This is the beginning of what has turned into good career for Max Allan Collins. A cracker-jack start to the Nolan series, and the sequel, to boot. Your getting two for one here and both are worth reading.
Elijah Spector
I have heard that Collins is best known for humorous, unthreatening whodunits... but as far as what I've read, he does "bad-ass" really well. A fun pair of novels about an old school tough guy.
Worth reading, although it did not impress me as much as most other Hard Case Crime books that I have read.
Max Allan Collins rocks! The same story told from two different perspectives. Brilliant stuff.
Collins homage to Parker.
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Received the Shamus Award, "The Eye" (Lifetime achievment award) in 2006.

He has also published under the name Patrick Culhane. He and his wife, Barbara Collins, have written several books together. Some of them are published under the name Barbara Allan.

Book Awards
Shamus Awards Best Novel winner (1984) : True Detective
Shamus Awards Best Novel winner (1992) : Stolen Away
Shamus Awards Best Novel nom
More about Max Allan Collins...

Other Books in the Series

Nolan (8 books)
  • Bait Money (Nolan, #1)
  • Blood Money (Nolan, #2)
  • Fly Paper (Nolan, #3)
  • Hush Money (Nolan, #4)
  • Hard Cash (Nolan, #5)
  • Scratch Fever (Nolan, #6)
  • Spree (Nolan, #7)
  • Mourn the Living (Nolan, #8)
Supreme Justice Road to Perdition Bones Buried Deep (Bones, #1) The Mummy Sin City (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, #2)

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