Thursday, January 4, 2018

FFB: Act of Fear by Michael Collins

Michael Collins was an author new to me until this year when I read a review of one of his Dan Fortune books. The piece intrigued me enough to search out the first Fortune novel and that’s where I started, with Act of Fear.

Dan Fortune is a private investigator living in the Chelsea section of New York City, the neighborhood he was born in, raised in and turned to crime in during his juvenile delinquent years. His criminal career ended before it really got started when the teenage Fortune injured and later lost an arm during a heist. He straightened out and started snooping to earn a living.

In this 1966 novel, a young guy from the neighborhood hires Fortune to look for his friend, Jo-Jo, a car mechanic who disappeared. No one has seen or heard from him in several days.

Fortune accepts a fee and goes looking for Jo-Jo, but the guy is harder to find than the PI expected. A couple of serious crimes were committed in the working-class area including the mugging of a cop and the murder of a young woman. Fortune figures Jo-Jo was either involved in one or both of the crimes or knows too much about them to hang around where the perpetrators can find and kill him. Fortune worries that the bad guys may have already disposed of Jo-Jo and that is the reason no one has seen him.

Collins, the pen name of Dennis Lynds, creates a vivid picture of this tight-knit neighborhood, its hard-working people, and the hoods who prey upon them.

This is a decent mystery with well written scenes, good action, interesting observations on life in the old neighborhood, and unexpected touches like the phantom pain Fortune often feels in the missing arm.

(For more posts on books, check out Patti Abbott’s blog.)


  1. Elgin, I have this one on the pile somewhere. I'll try and dig it out if I ever my house and get my books settled back in!

    1. Col – I think you will like it. I am going to look for the next book in the series.