Over the last ten years or so, work, life in general, and work has required me to move around a lot, and sometimes, as you can imagine, things get lost in the shuffle. One of those things was a book I bought in 2005 and only recently discovered that I had never read. That book was the third in the "Road" series by Max Allan Collins, one of the prose sequels to the "Road to Perdition" saga that began with the famous graphic novel of the same name.

So I set aside other reading material and dug into "Road to Paradise", and five days later I finished. This (for now) concluding episode in the "Road" saga is a heck of a read and packs the usual Collins punch, though some might say it's the most predictable book he has produced. There are only one or two ways to get the action going in a story like this, and the ending is already set in stone for those who read the graphic novel, so predictability can be forgiven because the result is very, very satisfying.

There is one gripe I have, however. This is probably the first book Collins has written that does not contain a graphic sex scene. What the heck else does anybody read Collins for, I ask? Certainly it's not the thrilling stories and punchy plot twists. There is an off-stage sexual encounter between the hero's high school-aged daughter and her boyfriend, and methinks that was indeed best left off-stage, but I will raise holy hell if the upcoming Nate Heller book and maybe even the forthcoming Mike Hammer novels do not include two or three extra graphic sex scenes to make up for the lack of same in the final "Road" book.

I kid, of course.

What I like the most about "Paradise" is that the story takes place not only within my lifetime but in places I have actually been. It's always neat to read stories like that (which is why I like Hammet's Continental Op tales so much; San Francisco was once a stomping ground of mine), and Collins provides the added benefit of historical background, some of which I had not known.

As always, Max Allan Collins provides an action-packed thrill ride that makes you eager for his next effort.

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