Max is best-known for writing the graphic novel Road to Perdition, basis of the Academy Award-winning Sam Mendes film, starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman. His comics credits include Batman, Dick Tracy and his own Ms. Tree. Among his New York Times bestselling novels are Saving Private Ryan and American Gangster. As an independent filmmaker in Iowa, Collins scored twice in 1995 when his first written/directed film, Mommy, became a Lifetime movie of the week and his screenplay, The Expert, became an HBO World Premiere. His current feature, Eliot Ness: An Untouchable Life, is airing on PBS stations nationally.

His innovative series featuring hitman Quarry has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity since director Jeffrey Goodman filmed Max’s screenplay for the award-winning short, "A Matter of Principal," which led to Collins’ novel The Last Quarry and Goodman’s feature film, The Last Lullaby. Quarry (called "Price" in the film) has recently returned in The First Quarry and Quarry in the Middle.