It appears everything old, is new again. Not only does Max Allan Collins third installment of the Maggie and Jack Starr series, Seduction of the Innocent, take us back to the days of dames and dolls, but gives us the 50s era version of evil things bent on destroying our children and society, the comic book! Where today we have Facebook and video games, things were much simpler back then.
As with the first two in the set, Collins gives us the full pulp treatment of this tale from a bygone era of fiction that was once the domain of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Collins has a knack for capturing not only the voice but also the gritty feel of the setting, he captures the edge, without going over it.
Those new to the series may struggle with the languid pace that Collins uses to set up the storyline, by the half way point the hook will be firmly set and you’ll be looking for a firm handhold as the story takes on breakneck pace. The magic is in the mystery and the hunt for answers.
While many of the masters of the genre have seen a cyclical be-birth of interest in their work with re-releases of Chandler and Hammett classics every few years, what Collins and his cohorts at Hard Case Crime have managed to do is breathe new life into the form with slick writing and even slicker packaging.