Ask Not

Written by Max Allan Collins
Review by James Hawking

This is the third and presumably final entry in a trilogy on the JFK assassination which began with Bye Bye, Baby, about the death of Marilyn Monroe, and continued with Target Lancer, focusing on a plot to kill Kennedy during a visit to Chicago in October, 1963. Collins is particularly strong at evoking Chicago in the sixties through Private Investigator Heller. A murder attempt causes Heller to revisit his previous involvement with the CIA’s attempt to use gangsters to murder Fidel Castro. This leads him to New Orleans and eventually to Dallas, where he encounters his fellow West Sider Jack Ruby.

Borrowing from the vast and confusing conspiracy literature, suspects in the Kennedy assassination include the CIA, the Chicago Outfit, and LBJ, as witnesses to the assassination plot die under increasingly suspicious circumstances. No definitive conclusion is reached, but the extensive research (for which Collins generously credits his associate George Hagenauer) shreds the credibility of the Warren Report. The sex and violence are in the tradition of Mickey Spillane, an erstwhile partner of Collins, creating an impressive and thought-provoking entertainment. Recommended.