Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Target Lancer” as Want to Read:
Target Lancer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Target Lancer (Nathan Heller #16)

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  177 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Long before November 22, 1963, Nathan Heller, "P.I. to the Stars," knows that a conspiracy is in the works. Several years earlier, Heller had been involved with the Kennedys, the Mob, and the CIA in the early stages of a plan to assassinate Fidel Castro. Shortly after, Heller's Mafia contact is murdered.

After being interrogated by gangsters and contacted by U.S. Attorney G
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Forge Books (first published November 1st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Target Lancer, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Target Lancer

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 318)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 28, 2016 Gram rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick read with well researched details about Dallas and Chicago in the early 1960's allied with several clues for conspiracy theorists in thrall with the Kennedy assassination. "Private Eye to the Stars" Nate Heller is quickly enmeshed in what seems to be a convoluted plot to kill JFK on a visit to Chicago (or is it a dry run for the Dallas shooting?). Max Allan Collins drops scores of famous - and infamous names - into the story along with intriguing theories about why and how JFK was eventu ...more
Dec 30, 2012 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There’s a sense half way through "Target Lancer" that Max Allen Collins has maybe found a crime that looms too large in the American psyche to cleanly tackle. The newest Nate Heller mystery (can we call the Heller series mysteries?) uncovers an assassination conspiracy against President John F. Kennedy. But instead of Dallas, November 22nd, we’re in Chicago three weeks earlier with a scenario of multiple gunmen setting up a patsy as the lone gunman fall guy. Sound Familiar?

This is a great story
Dec 29, 2014 HBalikov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's now over thirty years since Max Allan Collins began the True Detective, Nate Heller, series. We have seen Heller progress from a Chicago cop to a private detective to the head of a multi-city detective agency. In telling these tales, Collins has merged several genres including: historical fiction, pulp fiction, police procedural and speculative fiction. That he is able to carry this off with continuing style and grace is no small accomplishment.

First, he gets his history well grounded. He
Mitch Duckworth
Jan 22, 2014 Mitch Duckworth rated it really liked it
Max Allan Collins writes an absorbing fictionalized account of the Kennedy assassination that wasn't; the Chicago plot that was scheduled to go down on November 2, 1963. The conspiracy and its players were in place and ready to strike when the White House opted for a last-minute change of schedule. The President did not go to Chicago, and in his sixteenth appearance as a protagonist in a Max Allan Collins novel, sleuth Nathan Heller helped foil a conspiracy that shared the hallmarks that were to ...more
Dec 28, 2015 Louis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My views on this book are somewhat biased: I have read every one of Max Allan Collins's Nate Heller novels. To me they are the perfect example of a historical mystery. The way Collins creates a twisty whodunit populated with many real-life characters should be considered the gold standard for this genre. Target Lancer is the book I long expected to be the last Heller book. Since Heller's cases take place from the 1930s to the '60s and he has done some work for the Kennedys, it felt natural that ...more
Aug 23, 2012 Randy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I sat down and started reading TARGET LANCER, it didn't take me long to realize it was not the story I expected. Oh, there's a plot to kill President Kennedy alright, just not the one I expected. In his research for this book, Max Collins discovered there had been another known plan that would happen in Chicago. Not a lot is known, but enough to whet the author's imagination.

Heller gets pulled in when a man who'd did some PR work for him years ago asks him to function as a bodyguard while h
Dec 06, 2012 Rick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Max Allan Collins has insinuated his Chicago detective Nate Heller into some of history's most notorious events: Dillinger outside the Biograph Theater, Huey Long, the Lindbergh kidnapping, Amelia Earhart's disappearance and many more. In "Target Lancer" Collins has Nathan Heller in the middle of perhaps America's biggest mystery/conspiracy~the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

In "Target Lancer" Collins avoids Dallas entirely, instead focusing on the often overlooked but very real plot
Gloria Feit
Apr 21, 2013 Gloria Feit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are so many conspiracy theories about the assassination of President Kennedy that another one hardly is necessary. Except that this entertaining mystery novel is not only entertaining, but actually based on a little-known event that took place in Chicago, days before Dallas. It is another in the Nate Heller series, all of which are based on some historical occurrence, such aske the Lindbergh kidnapping, the assassination of Chicago Mayor Cermak (when the real attempt was meant for FDR), Hu ...more
I read a couple thrillers every week and most of the time I don't see any reason to review them. They're fun for me, but not noteworthy. I'm reviewing this one because of the unusual premise: the hero foils a plot to assassinate JFK -- in Chicago!-- at the end of October, 1963. It starts out with the cliché: do you remember where you were...? I loved the way real-life characters were woven into the story. There were lots of details of Chicago society and real estate in the mid-60s. The author is ...more
Dec 21, 2012 Larry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nate Heller, "P.I. to the stars," has been involved in big cases before: Huey Long, Amelia Earhart, etc. This time he's involved with the largely unknown attempt to assassinate JFK in Chicago on November 2, 1963. It's not a practice run for Dallas. Dallas is a fallback after the failure of the Chicago attempt (and an attempt after Chicago in Tampa). The members of the hit team (Cuban emigres, CIA hangers-on, the Mafia, and right-wing elements) are all familiar, save for a Oswald look-alike (Vall ...more
Yosef Shapiro
Another entry in the Nate Heller series. In this one, he is involved with preventing the assassination of JFK. But, it's bit what you think. This book is set in October of 1963 and concerns an assassination plot in Chicago .
Stephen Terrell
When it comes to the JFK assassination, I'm an absolutist. Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Jack Ruby acted out of rage and because he thought he would be a hero. There was no conspiracy.

But if I was inclined to believe in conspiracies, it would be the tale crafted by Max Allan Collins. A story set in Chicago 3 weeks before Dallas. There are enough actual facts weaved through this story to make it plausible. Cubans, Jimmy Hoffa, Ruby and Oswald, the Mob, the Company, Operation Mongoose and even fa
John Pehle
Aug 11, 2016 John Pehle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You get your JFK conspiracy, your 60's Chicago references and vintage fashion narratives all rolled into a well paced adventure. The Heller series is a fun summer "throw back" read.
Brian Clarke
Dec 13, 2012 Brian Clarke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one's about a plot to assassinate JFK in Chicago in early November, 1963. Obviously it is going to fail, because if it didn't, that would be changing history, and Collins isn't about to do that.
This is another winner in a great series, which dates all the way back to 1983, almost 30 years and no sign of slowing down. Even though Heller is now in his late fifties.
I've heard that the next book will be about the assassination of Robert F Kennedy. I'm looking forward to it! but that's at lea
May 13, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the second of the JFK assassination trilogy. I liked the Marilyn one better - but this is still a good historical novel explaining history using information that only recently became available. History isn't always what you remember...
Michael Brown
more background in this the middle book of the assignation trilogy.
Jul 29, 2016 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-fiction
Very good PI thriller involving an attempt of JFK's life ... in early November 1963. Longer review here:
Jasmine Holloman
DNF. The book focused more on Nathan Heller than the JFK assassination plot. I felt the synopsis was very misleading. As a JFK enthusiast, I am very disappointed.
Dec 31, 2013 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Max Allan Collins again fuses fact with fiction to create a thrilling detective story. The plot to kill JFK isn't new, but damn if Collins didn't come up with an angle that hooks the reader in and just doesn't let go. And the research by Collins and George Hagenauer is exemplary. Chicago, 1963, just comes alive in the book. As do the characters, both real and fictional.
Kate Krake
While the JFK legend isn't really my thing (something I put down generally to my age and my nationality), this is a pretty commendable work of historical fiction slash conspiracy fiction and a decent read overall. Anyone interested in the JFK conspiracies will be sure to get a kick out of it, as will a lot of fans of crime writing in general.

Mark Burnham
Mar 27, 2015 Mark Burnham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good take on the JFK story.
Thomas D Sinex
May 11, 2014 Thomas D Sinex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of JFK conspiracy B.S., but enjoyable stuff...
Max Allan Collins' Target Lancer is a mixture of researched historical fact woven into plausible fiction. He tells the story of a foiled plot to murder JFK in Chicago, three weeks before the Dallas assassination...a story that could possibly be less fictitious than the Warren Commission's report. I like Collins' style, and I will be seeking out more of his Nathan Heller series.
Ken Schloman
Dec 27, 2013 Ken Schloman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When combined with the following novel, "Ask Not" ,Collins has created a story line that will give JFK conspiracy theorists all they could want. As with all the Nate Heller novels, Collins accurately reflects the society of the time frame covered in the novels. First rate.
Dec 25, 2012 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Max Allan Collins has developed a niche - historical detective novels. He researches well known crimes (or near-crimes in this case) and then inserts his detective, Nate Heller, into the case. This book is a fascinating study of a foiled assasination attempt on JFK's life early in November 1963 in Chicago.
Warren Bumpus
Jun 14, 2013 Warren Bumpus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Max Allan Collins provides a slice of history in his novels. Nathan Heller novels are all based on events and plausible variations on what could have happened. He captures the time that the stories are set in, as well as providing an interesting story. Read it!
Robert James
I had high expectations for this book because Mr. Collins is one of my favorite writers. While not exactly meeting those expectations, the book is entertaining and is a very quick read. If you have never read a Nathan Heller book, the best is "Stolen Away".
Dec 14, 2012 Lawrence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best of the Nathan Heller series,by the prolific and talented Max Allan Collins. Collins brings Chicago and the Nation of 1963 to life with excellent research and good writing, a must read for people interested in the period.
John Yingling
I was very eager to read this book, so I had high expectations. Unfortunately, they weren't met in this uninvolving, slightly boring presentation.
Sharon Holford
Nov 30, 2012 Sharon Holford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Once again, a well researched and entertaining book with the private eye Nathan Heller and JFK as the target of the story. Good book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: Target Lancer 2 4 Mar 13, 2013 07:33AM  
  • Dead Street (Hard Case Crime #37)
  • More Than Honor/On Basilisk Station
  • Bolo Strike
  • The Voyage
  • Pointblank (Starfist: Force Recon, #2)
  • The Dog From Hell (Star Risk, #4)
  • The Cinderella Killer (Charles Paris, #19)
  • The Silent Warrior (Forever Hero, #2)
  • Sea Strike (Amanda Garrett, #2)
  • Galactic Bounty (Sam McCade, #1)
  • Top of The Heap (Hard Case Crime, #3)
  • Shadows of War (Red Dragon Rising, #1)
  • Come and Take Them
  • The Mystery of Mary Rogers
  • Sundowner (Nicole Shea, #3)
  • Choosing Names (Man-Kzin Wars, #8)
  • Satellite Sam, Vol. 1
  • Overthrowing Heaven (Jon & Lobo, #3)
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

Nathan Heller (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • True Detective (Nathan Heller, #1)
  • True Crime (Nathan Heller, #2)
  • The Million Dollar Wound (Nathan Heller, #3)
  • Neon Mirage (Nathan Heller, #4)
  • Stolen Away (Nathan Heller, #6)
  • Carnal Hours (Nathan Heller, #7)
  • Blood and Thunder (Nathan Heller, #8)
  • Damned in Paradise (Nathan Heller, #9)
  • Flying Blind (Nathan Heller #10)
  • Majic Man (Nathan Heller, #11)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »