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Heat 2


Heat 2

Fans of Oscar-nominated director Michael Mann’s classic 1995 flick, Heat, can easily argue that it’s one of his best movies ever. To begin with, it boasts an unbelievable all-star cast, featuring Hollywood heavy hitters like Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer and Jon Voight. Mann described his characterization process as being extensive, including creating full bios and backstories for each of his characters. This made him wonder what might have been going on in their lives prior to what we saw on the big screen and what happened to them after the credits rolled.

Thankfully, Mann has teamed up with one of the finest crime fiction writers in the business, Meg Gardiner, to help answer those questions and flesh out a full reality for his characters. Spanning the years 1988 to 2000, HEAT 2 opens with a quick synopsis of what took place in Heat, specifically the tense face-to-face meeting between LAPD detective Vincent Hanna and criminal mastermind Neil McCauley. Once the dust settles after the foiled bank heist, the only “bad guy” to get away alive is Chris Shiherlis.

"HEAT 2 is an absolute pleasure to read, especially for those who enjoyed the source material, and you won’t want it to end."

The action then picks up literally minutes later when a friend of the gang, Nate, takes Shiherlis to his place in Koreatown. He is in bad shape from a gunshot that had been treated and sewn up by a local doctor the gang utilizes. Nate makes it clear to Shiherlis that he can only be there for 7-8 hours and then must get out of town quickly, leaving his girlfriend Charlene and young son Dominick behind.

Hanna and his team are doing everything in their power to lock down LA to prevent Shiherlis from leaving the area and intend to bring him in. Hanna had been the one who shot McCauley dead outside LAX trying to escape. Shiherlis is given a new identity --- Jeffrey Bergman from Calgary --- and put in the protection of a woman named Frida, who gets him to a private plane that takes him out of the country and under the radar of those looking for him. In other words, he escapes again.

The storyline then shifts back to 1988. We get to see parallel stories of the criminal crew, this time in Las Vegas, and Hanna, who is working in Chicago. Shiherlis, a known degenerate gambler, meets Charlene, who at that time is a high-end call girl. They instantly fall in love, and he vows to take her away from the life she’s been living. Shiherlis also teams up with McCauley, Michael Cerrito and Trejo to clean out a bank, which they pull off without a hitch.

Meanwhile, in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago, Hanna is working a case involving home invaders who are leaving behind bodies and brutally attacking women. As a result of one of these home invasions, a man is murdered, and his wife and 14-year-old daughter are hospitalized after being beaten and raped. It is at this point that Hanna vows to take down this entire gang.

HEAT 2 is an absolute pleasure to read, especially for those who enjoyed the source material, and you won’t want it to end. Whether or not all of the loose ends are tied up by the conclusion of the story is not as important as the journey itself. It’s a great ride, and I would love to see more directors and screenwriters do this with their indelible characters.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on August 12, 2022

Heat 2
by Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner

  • Publication Date: June 27, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062653377
  • ISBN-13: 9780062653376