"Not that I'm apologizing ... I like a black comedy, and I like the freedom of doing whatever sick, twisted thing that comes into my mind. My late mentor Don Westlake said that Richard Stark was Westlake getting up on the wrong side of the bed on a rainy day. Quarry is me when I slept on the floor and woke to a thunderstorm."I was first introduced to Collins' modus operandi when I found several Ms. Tree comics in one of those potluck value-packs you used to find at the Walgreens back in the 1980's. There was just something about the simple and blunt and brutal straight-forwardness of that series that clicked and I did my damndest to find more. (And could someone, anyone, get those Ms. Tree comics the ominbus reprint treatment? 'kay, thanks.) Anyways, I was re-introduced to him a few years ago while burning through those Hard Case Crime novels, where Collins resurrected his snarky and cynical hired gun for three new installments (-- with a fourth pending, I hope, as I'm highly confused with Amazon and their ever shifting release dates right now.) This sent me in search of more, which went nowhere, because those old novels, and even the reprints, went for an insane amount of coin no matter where you dug. Luckily, Perfect Crime Books has them all back in print at a much more reasonable price.-- Max Allan Collins
With Quarry's Cut (originally published as The Slasher in 1977), this time, an opportunity practically lands in Quarry's lap, when he spots a former associate, who used to scout targets for him, in a cafe he frequents, and then traces the creep to the probable target: a pornographer, who is currently shooting his latest and last skin-flick at a secluded mountain lodge before heading to Hollywood and legitimacy for a major minor studio. After bluffing his way inside under false pretenses, our protagonist sizes up the likely suspects among the motley cast and crew, including an old acquaintance he knocked-boots with at some point in the past. Luckily, that carnal encounter ended amicably, so she doesn't blow his cover, but that appears to be the end of Quarry's luck as he tries to sniff out the trigger-man and confirm the intended target. And then things get even harrier when someone starts knocking off the small troupe, one by one, as a winter storm rages outside, trapping them all inside with at least two killers. And maybe more.
What boils done to a proto-body count/snuff movie, Quarry's Cut is a fun and frantic and frenzied foray into the seedy world of smut films and the mob that usually finances them. And having our hard-boiled hero plopped down in the middle of a country cottage whodunit, with that kinda cast for support, is truly inspired story-telling, folks, and just one of the many, many reasons as to why I love Max Allan Collins. His style, like his character, here, is lean and mean and openly disdains any unnecessary filler; just clean and clear-cut; set it up quick and then knock 'em down, and then tease them to the next chapter to do it all over again.
See also, Quarry, Quarry's List, Quarry's Deal, The First Quarry, The Last Quarry, Quarry in the Middle, and, hopefully, Quarry's Ex.