Published by Titan Books
Hammer and Velda go on vacation to a Long Island beach town.
Hammer becomes embroiled in the mystery of a missing well-known New York party girl who lives nearby.
When the woman turns up naked and dead astride the statue of a horse in the town square, Hammer feels compelled to investigate.
Mickey Spillane is the legendary crime writer credited with igniting the explosion of paperback publishing after World War II as a result of the unprecedented success of his Mike Hammer novels, feeding the public’s appetite for sexy, violent, straight-talking crime stories. He also starred as Mike Hammer in The Girl Hunters. Mickey Spillane died at the age of 88 in 2006.
Max Allan Collins has been honoured by and has more than risen to the challenge of being executor of the lost and unfinished works of Spillane’s estate and provides a seamlessly finished novel which is beautifully put together by Titan Books.
I was blown away by the dust jacket, a powerful and stark graphic statement which does in graphics what Mike Hammer does on the pages in between – he’s all about big bold statements and he just doesn’t mess about . Inside the jacket we’re treated to a great photo of Mickey Spillane and his signature engraved and filled in green into the black cover – a beautiful, monumental event of a book.
The story itself had me gripped from the get-go, with Mike Hammer supposedly taking a break from New York with his secretary, but just happening upon a beating being dished out in an alleyway by what appear to be a bunch of less than honest cops. From that point on, he and Velda have to put their vacation on a back seat as Hammer takes on the local cops, the mystery of a naked woman’s body found draped on a statue of a horse (Lady Godiva – style), and the investigation into other killings which may or may not be connected.
It’s impossible to see the joins in the book, Max Allan Collins picks up the Spillane flow so well and the novel powers along, propelled by some great action pieces and the unmistakable Hammer-style of justice being served at every available opportunity. With a great tale with barely a spare word and a great twist along the way, this is like Raymond Chandler having sunk a case of Red Bull – fast, action filled, witty and thoroughly enjoyable hardboiled crime fiction at its best.
And you can get yourself some law here.