Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago Title: Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago
Release: August 14, 2018
E-Book: Amazon Google Play Nook Kobo iTunes
Digital Audiobook: Amazon Google Play Kobo


Scarface and the Untouchable is an extraordinary achievement. The writing is riveting, the research impeccable—including material never published before—and the history of a city and a country teetering on the brink of total lawlessness is a sober warning for our own age.” - Sara Paretsky, author of the bestselling V.I. Warshawski novels

Scarface and the Untouchable revolutionizes our understanding of Al Capone and Eliot Ness. An indispensable exercise in Prohibition-era excitement.” - Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Dante Chamber

“A gripping take on Chicago’s past that reads like a novel.” - Chicago Magazine

Scarface and the Untouchable reads like fiction. But it’s real. Collins and Schwartz bring to life an era of American which will never be replicated.” - Oscar B. Goodman, legendary “mob attorney” and three-term mayor of Las Vegas

“Succeed[s] admirably. ... Careful research combined with vivid pulp style.” - Booklist

“The scholarship displayed in Scarface and the Untouchable is extraordinary, probing deeply into the activities, interrelationships and mindsets of the many principal characters.” - BookPage

“An informed and valuable addition to the numerous books about Capone and Ness.” - Publishers Weekly

“A fast-paced tale related with novelistic drama.” - Kirkus Reviews

“More exciting than any film or TV show captured about their story.” - MysteryPeople

“For anyone interested in this eternally interesting historical period, it’s essential.” - The Seattle Times

“Thoroughly researched and expertly executed [...] impossible to turn off.” - AudioFile review of the audiobook edition.



In 1929, thirty-year-old gangster Al Capone ruled both Chicago’s underworld and its corrupt government. To a public who scorned Prohibition, “Scarface” became a local hero and national celebrity. But after the brutal St. Valentine’s Day Massacre transformed Capone into “Public Enemy Number One,” the federal government found an unlikely new hero in a twenty-seven-year-old Prohibition agent named Eliot Ness. Chosen to head the legendary law enforcement team known as “The Untouchables,” Ness set his sights on crippling Capone's criminal empire.

Today, no underworld figure is more iconic than Al Capone and no lawman as renowned as Eliot Ness. Yet in 2016 the Chicago Tribune wrote, “Al Capone still awaits the biographer who can fully untangle, and balance, the complexities of his life,” while revisionist historians have continued to misrepresent Ness and his remarkable career.

Enter Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz, a unique and vibrant writing team combining the narrative skill of a master novelist with the scholarly rigor of a trained historian. Collins is the New York Times bestselling author of the gangster classic Road to Perdition. Schwartz is a rising-star historian whose work anticipated the fake-news phenomenon.

Scarface and the Untouchable draws upon decades of primary source research—including the personal papers of Ness and his associates, newly released federal files, and long-forgotten crime magazines containing interviews with the gangsters and G-men themselves. Collins and Schwartz have recaptured a bygone bullet-ridden era while uncovering the previously unrevealed truth behind Scarface’s downfall. Together they have crafted the definitive work on Capone, Ness, and the battle for Chicago.


Publisher’s Website: HarperCollins

(Video) WGN-9 Interview with M.A.C. and A. Brad Schwartz

(Audio) Stateside (Michigan NPR) Interview with A. Brad Schwartz (Direct link)

(Podcast) Crime Scene #163 / interview with M.A.C. and A. Brad Schwartz

(Podcast) Book Talk with Kory French / interview with M.A.C. and A. Brad Schwartz

(Podcast) Jim Bohannon - 10/12/2018 / interview with M.A.C. and A. Brad Schwartz (starts at 40:00)

The Strand: “10 Surprising Facts About Al Capone and Eliot Ness” by Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz

History News Network: “What the Biographers of Al Capone Think of Donald Trump” by Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz

Larger Cover Image: 1600 x 2421 JPG

Return to Book List