A 1001 MIDNIGHTS Review
by Bill Crider:

NICK QUARRY – The Hoods Come Calling. Gold Medal 747, paperback original; 1st printing, March 1958. Cover art: Barye Phillips.


   Nick Quarry (a great pseudonym) was one of the names used by prolific paperbacker Marvin H. Albert, who also wrote entertaining books as Al Conroy and Tony Rome. Most of the Quarry novels are part of the series featuring Jake Barrow, a tough private eye in the Spillane tradition. The Hoods Come Calling is the first book in the series.

   Barrow returns to New York after two years in Chicago, where he has been trying to forget his wife’s infidelities. All he wants from her is the $1600 he left in their joint account, which he plans to use to buy into a private detective agency.

   He goes to her apartment to pick up the money, and she shows up drunk. He carries her upstairs and is seen by the neighbors. When he leaves for a minute, she is murdered. Barrow conceals the body, but he is soon being hunted by the police, as well as by his wife’s hoodlum friends. He must prove his innocence by finding the guilty party.

   Along the way, there is a bit of 1950s sex (not too graphic) and a considerable amount of violence (which Quarry handles very well). The familiar story has just the right mixture of action and detection to keep things moving along at a rapid clip, and Barrow makes a credible hard guy, though his character seems a bit inconsistent at times.


   There is at least one nice surprise in store for the reader; and the ending, in which Barrow proves to be not quite as dishonest as the hoods believe him to be, is quite satisfactory.

   Other lively Nick Quarry novels include No Chance in Hell (1960), Till It Hurts (1960), and Some Die Hard (1961).

   Reprinted with permission from 1001 Midnights, edited by Bill Pronzini & Marcia Muller and published by The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 2007.   Copyright © 1986, 2007 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust.

Editorial Note: A few years ago Bill Crider wrote a lengthier article about Marvin Albert, the man behind the Nick Quarry moniker, for the primary Mystery*File website. Follow the link to check it out. Included is a complete bibliography for Albert, including work he did under all of his several pen names.