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The War of the Worlds Murder (Disaster #6)

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  209 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
New York City, October 1938. The shadow of war in Europe falls ominously across the face of America. Yet, it is another Shadow--the mystery man of the radio airwaves voiced by Orson Welles--who captures the imagination of listeners across the nation, offering hope in these troubled times in the form of vengeful justice. Pulp scribe Walter Gibson, The Shadow's creator, has ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 5th 2005 by Berkley (first published January 1st 2005)
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May 11, 2014 Johnny rated it really liked it
Wow! The way Max Collins interweaves his real experience with Walter Gibson (aka Maxwell Grant) at a 1975 convention of mystery writers and a story in which Gibson solves a mystery involving the great Orson Welles and the brilliant John Houseman leaves one wondering where the “history” ends and the fiction begins. Collins has done his homework on both Welles and Houseman, as well as the most famous radio broadcast in U.S. history, The War of the Worlds. He demonstrates the phenomenal energy of t ...more
Mar 29, 2015 HBalikov rated it really liked it
Max Allan Collins is a meticulous writer, but that doesn't mean that there is anything tedious about his work. The War of the Worlds Murder is, perhaps, his best of the Disaster Series where Collins takes a historical event (the sinking of the Titanic; the bombing of Pearl Harbor, etc.) and couples that with a period author who becomes the story's investigator.

The War of the Worlds is not only the creation of H.G. Wells, but also the basis for another Welles creation, the CBS radio show that re
Michael Bradley
Dec 24, 2014 Michael Bradley rated it it was amazing
Being a fan of the excitement and drama that came out of the Golden Age of Radio, I found myself drawn to the book that I just finished reading. The War of The World Murder by Max Allan Collins is set in 1938, just before and during the famous "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast by Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater of the Air on CBS. Collins embroils Orson Welles and pulp writer Walter Gibson - creator of the pulp superhero The Shadow - in a murder mystery when a body is discovered in the CBS ...more
Unlike the Sherlock Holmes pastiche of a similar name (which I read last year), The War of the Worlds Murder by Max Allan Collins does not take place in the world of the H. G. Wells classic. At least, not exactly. This story revolves around the historic Mercury Theatre radio presentation of The War of the Worlds by Orson Welles which caused mass panic in 1938. It features Welles, John Houseman, and Walter Gibson (aka Maxwell Grant), creator of the Shadow, among other historical figures. And, as ...more
May 16, 2009 Bruce rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
As the title implies, this murder mystery takes place in and around the recording of the infamous radio play. Besides the known players, we are introduced to Walter Gibson, the creator of the Shadow (as we know him) an writer of MANY of the Shadow's adventures.

The first half of the book sets up the motives for the mystery but at the same time is a fascinating look at the day to day lives of The Mercury Theartre players at that time.

Don't start the second half of the book if you don't have the t
Jan 25, 2016 Chuck rated it liked it
This is a fun book if you are into Old Time Radio as I am. Orson Wells comes off as the arrogant person that he was with John Houssman his antagonist. Following the War of the Worlds broadcast with the effects it had on the populace is another interesting part of this book also. I really enjoy this time period so that is what mad ethis book more interesting and fun for my.
Jun 12, 2013 Jim rated it really liked it
This is tHe second book I've read by Max Allen Collins. The other was a collection of short stories featuring his Nat Heller character. Those stories, like this one, we're set in the past and featured real people in major roles. This novel was part of his disaster series and I plan to read more from the series as this one was quite interesting.

Most of us are familiar with the events depicted here. The panic that took place during the airing of this play. I've read the original novel and the play
Jean-Pierre Vidrine
Apr 24, 2010 Jean-Pierre Vidrine rated it it was amazing
For someone like me who is a fan of Orson Welles, the Shadow, classic radio shows, and all things War of the Worlds, this book was a godsend. Featuring Orson Welles and Shadow creator Walter Gibson as main characters, the novel tells of all the creativity and chaos that went into creating the simulated newscasts that fooled thousands and caused panic. But, moments before the broadcast, a dead body is found in the studio . . . and that's all I'll tell you about that. I'm not one to give out spoil ...more
Vikas Datta
A fitting end to the series and the most different insofar as it elevates the world of make-belief to an entire new level... hilarious in its evocation of that night until you realise what all those panicked must have been going through.. really hope that somehow the series' numbers could be doubled..
Lynn Sykes
Feb 29, 2016 Lynn Sykes rated it it was amazing
This was my favorite of this series. I was familiar with several of the characters since they included Orson Wells and John Houseman. I like that Mr. Collins included himself in the story. It was a fun story. Very entertaining.
Rene' Mateo
Mar 26, 2014 Rene' Mateo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like the author's books.

I've read quite a few of Max's works, especially his "Nate" character, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Almost like a history lesson.
Michele bookloverforever
Mar 23, 2016 Michele bookloverforever rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, ebooks
actually, the infamous broadcast was a foreteller of today's fascination with 24 hour news coverage of disasters...keeping the world constantly on edge and frightened.
Feb 09, 2013 Cameron rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen Musser
Apr 18, 2015 Karen Musser rated it it was amazing
I love this series. Collins does an excellent job of combining a historical event with a a crime writer of the time.
Blogbaas Van 'tVliegend Eiland
Jan 12, 2015 Blogbaas Van 'tVliegend Eiland rated it really liked it
Oct 06, 2013 L rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Collins is an amazing story teller! He had me hooked with his first few sentences. The characters are terrific, as is the sense of time and place. There is mystery here, but the book is really about the famous broadcast and Collins tells it so well that you really can picture the whole thing--the scene inside the studio, the small scenes in which a number of specific people/families heard & reacted to the broadcast,and some sense of how things played out in public spaces. Terrific book!
Jul 13, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, crime
This was a fun re-telling of the infamous Orson Welles radio broadcast of the War of the Worlds, featuring Maxwell Grant, pulp writer of the Shadow series and Bernard Herrmann, whom I much admire, as well as Orson Welles himself, which made this an addictive read for myself. The 'murder' plot around the radio play itself is weak, but this didn't deflect from a fun narration of what happened on that Halloween evening.
Patricia Gulley
Apr 29, 2016 Patricia Gulley rated it liked it
I'm a bit iffy on this one. All the information on this famous incident was very interesting, even the stuff about Welles and Housemann. Even more so after reading the last chapter. However, I can give the 'mystery' a good reference.
Susan Jo Grassi
Feb 26, 2012 Susan Jo Grassi rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was a very fast read and kept my attention through out. My mother had told me about the broadcast and how she and her family had to turn off the lights and sit in the floor of their living room to listen to it because of the crazy people running up and down the street screaming and firing guns in the air. I'm looking forward to finding another of Collins' "disaster" series.
Josh Reinhard
Jun 17, 2013 Josh Reinhard rated it really liked it
All in all his was a very well written book and I really enjoyed it. The downside was very little of it actually had anything to do with a murder. It was more a behind the scenes look at what took place leading up to and during the airing of the now infamous radio program. It was a fascinating look at the panic that ensued. I would have given it 5+ stars if the murder mystery took up more of the book.
Aug 25, 2013 Glenn rated it really liked it
A hodge-podge gumbo of fiction and truth that is breezy and fun, surrounding the legendary Orson Welles broadcast in 1938. Collins paints a well researched portrait of the days surrounding the event and blends his fiction in so well that its hard to separate what's invented and what's true.

An extra treat for lovers of old radio and the era, but a fine work even beyond that.
Nov 16, 2010 Michelle rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ken Schloman
Jan 18, 2013 Ken Schloman rated it really liked it
I am a great fan of the prolific Mr. Collins. What makes this novel so entertaining is the cast of well known characters, the great "War of the Worlds" broadcast background and the historical background about Broadway and New York that Collins provides. Very entertaining read.
May 23, 2012 Bmj2k rated it liked it
An enjoyable book, even more so if you are a fan of Orson Welles, The Shadow, and The War of the Worlds. I would have given it four stars if (and I am not giving away any spoilers) the plot was not such a let down. I have to admit that I ended the book feeling disappointed.
Jan 30, 2010 Redhead rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-mystery
From the Prologue to the very end, you keep wondering. You are right there with the writer seeing it all happen. Collin's research makes this book so real that you have to remind yourself it's just fiction. Great writing and great research. A great read.
Nov 05, 2009 Linda rated it liked it
Once again reading a book in this "disaster" series made me want to read or in this case listen to something by the author/detective featured in the book. I'd love to listen to a Shadow radio show, especially one with Orson Welles as the Shadow.
Shawn Manning
Sep 07, 2013 Shawn Manning rated it really liked it
This was an absolute hoot. Quite a bit lighter than Chinatown Death Cloud Peril, which also featured Walter Gibson as a main character. Some great cameos by other celebrities of the era. Highly recommended.
Chris Leib
Nov 09, 2010 Chris Leib rated it it was ok
Probably the least gripping of all of Collins' historical murder series. Try The Titanic Murders or The Hindenburg Murders for a better thought-out intertwining of history and fiction.
David Leger
May 04, 2013 David Leger rated it really liked it
While the mystery itself is not as cryptic as some, the whole characterization of Orson Welles is well done, and I found this to be a fun read, and it kept my attention.
Apr 26, 2011 Alisa rated it liked it
3.5 stars, actually. The historical information was very interesting, but the mystery/crime aspect itself left something to be desired.
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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

Disaster (6 books)
  • The Titanic Murders (Disaster Series, #1)
  • The Hindenburg Murders (Disaster Series, #2)
  • The Pearl Harbor Murders (Disaster Series, #3)
  • The Lusitania Murders (Disaster Series, #4)
  • The London Blitz Murders (Disaster Series, #5)

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