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(Quarry #1)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,361 ratings  ·  187 reviews
Broker deals in murder on the open market with the assistance of a highly paid precise killer named Quarry.
Paperback, 218 pages
Published December 31st 1985 by Countryman Press (first published January 28th 1976)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,361 ratings  ·  187 reviews

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Dan Schwent
Quarry is hired to kill Albert Leroy, a virtual nobody. The job comes off without a hitch but when Quarry gets back to the apartment he'd been using as a lookout, his partner is dead and the money is gone. Quarry needs to know who hired them for the hit and the Broker is suspiciously uncooperative. Can Quarry find his partner's killer and get his money?

The three Quarry books published by Hard Case Crime were entertaining and so was this one. Quarry's a shit but you still end up rooting for him.
I killed him. You murdered him.

From the outset, Max Allan Collins establishes his Parker-like character, in hit-man Quarry as a methodical ice cold killer who fears nothing of bringing death to those he's been contracted to do so. A blistering opening sequence in an airport which ultimately sees Quarry carry out a rather clinical murder sets the tone of the character as well as providing a glimpse into the treacherous world of murder-for-hire. From then on in, the plot centers around a single co
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
By the time we get to the 1970s there’s been a real change in the character of tough guy American fiction. In the immediate post-Second World War period there was still a curious, old school morality to the genre. Yes, there may have been murders, beatings, rape and general mayhem, but there was still a pretty clear binary sense of who was good and who was bad. Mike Hammer may do all types of things to get at his prey, but he is still a good guy and the bad guy (or bad gal, it’s nearly always a ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir, assassin, 2017, quarry
I got this book recommended based upon my taste for Richard Starks' Parker and Blocks' Keller both tough men that life on the other side of society. the less legal side one could say.

When we meet Quarry he is doing his job and killing a target at an airport, a job of opportunity as Quarry was around and this job needed to be done. Much to Quarry his chagrin he does the job well and makes his objections known to his boss "The broker". He then hget to his job he originally came for which is in ess
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
QUARRY by Max Allan Collins is the first book in the “Quarry” series that actually could have been the last, as the author tells the story the writing of it and other books in the series that might have ended it, but thankfully that isn’t the case as I went on a Quarry binge & now have to catch up on reviewing the first six books in the series; QUARRY, QUARRY’S LIST, QUARRY’S DEAL, QUARRY’S CUT, PRIMARY TARGET, & THE LAST QUARRY.

QUARRY is the name given to a mysterious but highly regarded hit ma
Mike (the Paladin)
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, action
Quarry is not a nice person. He's a competent person at what he does, maybe even gifted.

What does he do? Oh, he kills people.

Now Quarry is a pro and he does what he does. He's not interested in being involved in drugs or any other "line of work" and he's really not interested in being used, not even by someone he's worked with for a long time. Quarry just wants to do his job and get paid...but now there's something, in the wind. It's something that smells bad, maybe like...well that could be a
Oct 28, 2016 marked it as to-read

Currently my favorite show on TV!

Can't wait to start this series!!

QUARRY trailer

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I enjoyed the first few Hard Case Crime books I tried, but I've been having bad luck more recently. The writing in this one is terrible, the story is uninteresting, and the main character and narrator is an empty bore. Almost did not finish. ...more
May 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-noir
Max Allan Collins tribute to Richard Stark's (Donald E. Westlake) far superior 'Parker' series. In my Kindle edition, Collins gives a rather long-winded, self-congratulatory, redundant explanation (perhaps it could be seen as an apology). Regardless I would rather read Stark's novels again, than another watered down Quarry/Parker imitation of the original.
On further reflection 3* may have been a little too generous.
Jan 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noirboiled
If Max Allan Collins hadn’t written his Nolan novels, then Quarry would probably be known as his last-name-only homage to Richard Stark’s Parker. Collins freely admits that Nolan was a Parker rip-off, but he explains (in his afterword to the recently reissued Quarry) that with his Quarry novels he wanted to “take it up a notch” from the Parker/Nolan novels in two ways: First, Quarry would be a professional killer (rather than a professional thief). Second, Quarry would tell his own story in the ...more
Joe Kraus
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: hardboiled-noir
I love the concept of the Hard Case Crime Series. In older, rediscovered pulp classics like Lawrence Block’s Grifter’s Game, or in neo-noir like Ken Bruen and Jason Starr’s Bust, they go after the aesthetic of the hardboiled tough guy as American philosopher-angel. When it works, it’s a little bit like watching Mitchum pull out a cell phone, a little incongruous but something you can get used to anyway.

This one, I’m afraid, doesn’t really work.

I’m a fan of Collins going way back. I enjoy his Hel
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
According to Max Allan Collins' afterward, This book was the first to be written of the Quarry series. It was re-released a few years later by his publisher with a different title: The Broker, a change he was unaware of, so when the opportunity to bring it out once again came around, he changed the title back to its original.

I like the Quarry series, but you can tell this was an early, unpolished work. Quarry's character is unsettled, and you get the feeling that Collins was struggling a little
Feb 15, 2010 rated it liked it
It was great to finally read this, the first of the Quarry books. While I knew the high points of what happened, it was great to finally get all the details. I think this was one of Collins' first books & it's pretty good, but certainly not one of his best. Still, it introduces us to Quarry.

It's important to note that the next two books were published out of order. They are correctly ordered here on GR in the series:
but on Fantastic Fiction, they are order
3 stars.

Glimmers of brilliance in this book from early in Max Allan Collins' career. Not a whole lot to the plot, pretty typical 70s noir.
Mike Finn
'Quarry' is the story of an amoral, emotionally distant man who became acquainted with killing in Vietnam and carried on the habit when he returned home and found his wife had taken a lover. After he kicks away the jacks holding up the car his wife's lover is working under, he discovers two things: that he lost no sleep over it and that he got away with it. So he lets himself be recruited by The Broker as an assassin for hire.

We first meet Quarry five years later, killing a man in the airport of
Gary Sundell
Early Max Allen Collin's gets a 3.5 star rating. I have some more books in the series on my Nook and will read them sometime soon just to see the improvement in Collin's writing. Having read his run on Batman and Ms Tree I know his writing level from those efforts. Quarry thd character is a hired Killer and as expected in a hard boiled mystery is not a very nice guy. ...more
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had read a few reviews saying that this book isn't the best of the Quarry books, but I chose to read this one first anyway. If they only get better from here, then I think I will end up liking this series a lot!

To me, Quarry is like a Mack Bolan novel that has been put in a blender with healthy helpings of mystery, noir, and maybe even a tiny pinch of pulp. Quarry himself is sarcastic, mean, and largely lacking a moral compass. Despite this, you can't help but root for him.
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So excited to be revisiting this series! I have the newest Quarry novel, QUARRY'S CLIMAX, coming on October 10th (thanks to Titan Books for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review).

Reading these reminds me why I love these old noir/pulp fiction Hard Case Crime books!
Aug 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Good book. Right in the beginning I felt that MAC was overdoing the Parker imitation but soon enough the narrative captured me and I continued. All my criticisms were acknowledged by MAC in his afterwords. this was an early book and he was honing his chops.

Nov 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Enjoyed the book. If you're reading it because of the tv series, there's little relationship between the two. :-) ...more
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been a fan of Collins for awhile and have read several of his books in the Nate Heller and his Disaster series. This is the first Quarry book I have read and I was not disappointed! I recently saw the TV series on Cinemax based on the Quarry books so I was looking forward to reading this.

This first novel in the Quarry series was first published in 1976 and has now been reissued as part of the Hard Case Crime novels. The book is told from the first person perspective of a hired killer. Qu
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: c, 2016

Cult favorite Quarry, the killer for hire, is back in print with this debut novel and four other early works by author Max Allan Collins. They don't come any harder-boiled than Quarry. After carrying out his assignment in a down-at-heels river town, the gunman finds someone has played him for a sucker. To figure out who, he must solve the murder he committed. This new edition includes a previously unpublished Afterword by the author.
My take.......

The start of another
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-case-crime
I really don't understand why some books work for me and some don't. Max Allan Collins books work for me. He writes real absorbing books that are mixture of illustrative and action. He writes without effort and puts down on paper real characters, and his stories are complex yet believable. In the Quarry series he introduces the reader to a tough pulp fiction hitman, Quarry. Quarry takes orders from the Broker in this hard case crime mystery that has enough sex and violence to keep fans of pulp f ...more
Dec 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Have you worked the front office of the fertilizer plant for so long you don’t remember it’s shit you’re selling?”

This is me dipping my toe into 70s Noir, something I have never read before. It was ok but not great - my view of the 70s in general. Lots of shallow sex with deep muffs, greasy queers, and sleepless nights. Add in the violence and I can see this fitting in nicely on Cinemax.

I'm going to put this on my Lovable Criminals shelf, though it's a stretch, because I'll only read an
May 31, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir
I liked reading Quarry first story but you can see it was written by a very young Max Allan Collins. He hasnt mastered the hardcore,nasty qualities of Quarry. The twisted humor isnt there like in the new Hard Case Crime books.

A good novel for being one of his first written but i like Quarry that is more hardcore, more amoral. This story he was almost a good guy which is not what you expect of Quarry.

Still Quarry is rare, interesting for a character like him and is second only to Richard Stark's
Jun 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads
PROTAGONIOST: Quarry, hitman
WHY: Quarry is a hitman who normally works for a man he calls Broker. The assignment is in a small town; Quarry can't figure out why the hit is called on a seemingly harmless man named Albert Leroy. He pulls off the job, but then things go south. He ends up staying in the town after the hit to wrap up the loose ends. A few weak points, but overall enjoyable.
Scott Bell
Did not finish, lost interest.
David Doel
Every once in a while, you need a break from great art to read pure trash.

When I was young, my trash of choice was by the Australian author, Carter Brown. I probably read more than 100 books by him and developed some rules of thumb. All of the paperback editions of his books were between 124 and 128 pages long. If the protagonist slept with a person of the opposite sex (there were a few female protagonists), that person was innocent no matter how guilty they seemed. If sex was refused by the pro
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read a lot of Collins' books, but somehow I'd never dipped into the Quarry series. I'm glad I did. Based on this, the first one, they're tight little crime stories reminiscent of the Parker novels by Donald E. Westlake (writing as Richard Stark). Except whereas Parker is a thief who avoids violence when he can, Quarry is a hitman.

In this one, Quarry has to solve the murder of a guy he just killed. Who hired him to do it? And why? Quarry puts himself into a precarious position by asking ques
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
GodDAMN what a great book. While this book has almost nothing to do with the criminally (get it?) underrated show that got canceled after just six episodes in either story or theme, I flew through this book in two days. The story is awesome, the writing is so cold, cynical, and macho, the protagonist is kind of a bad dude but you still root for him, this was just gold, I loved loved loved it.

Plot: Quarry the hired killer and his partner Boyd are staking out a target, Quarry goes in for the actu
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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

Other books in the series

Quarry (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Quarry's List (Quarry, #2)
  • Quarry's Deal (Quarry, #3)
  • Quarry's Cut (Quarry, #4)
  • Primary Target (Quarry #5)
  • The Last Quarry (Quarry #7)
  • The First Quarry (Quarry #8)
  • Quarry in the Middle (Quarry #9)
  • Quarry's Ex (Quarry #10)
  • The Wrong Quarry (Quarry #11)
  • Quarry's Choice (Quarry #12)

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