*** True Detective, Max Allan Collins, 1983
Collins can write, which comes as no surprise. He wrote Road to Perdition. This was an early attempt to reinvent the noir tradition. As indicated in the notes, his mentor and his agent said he needed to rewrite it because it was in first-person and over 100,000 words. His other mentor, Mickey Spillane (!!), called it the best private eye novel he'd ever read. Collins fired his agent, finished the novel, and it sold to the first publisher his new agent shopped it to. He went on to write 18 Heller novels, so far.
I have likes and dislikes with this novel, mostly likes. Great noir vibe, first person voice nails it. Great story woven into actual historical events with actual people from 1932. Buckley did this with the Blackford Oakes espionage novels and I ate them up. Collins brings it with the Heller series.
My only dislike relates to excessive backstory, which is info-dumped in the early chapters. He could have addressed the word-count objection by jettisoning whole chapters and weaving the essential information into the narrative.
Chapter 1 opens as it should, and develops as it should. Then we hit Chapter 2, which covers the Heller family history going back 100 years to his great-grandfather and working forward to the shooting at the end of Chapter 1. Twenty-plus pages of pace-killing back story. This happens in a few other places, to the point I skimmed to get back to the story.
But the story itself is excellent. It's worth getting and reading. And who knows, you may like the family history and the tour of Prohibition Chicago and not skim at all.