Author Rating: D

Mickey Spillane was, among other things, the author of a couple dozen hard crime novels, most notably a baker’s dozen featuring private investigator Mike Hammer. The first Hammer novel was published in 1952 (I, The Jury), the last (Black Alley) in 1996.

I really wanted to like Spillane’s writing and was disappointed to find it of such poor quality.

Survival … Zero (Read 6/22/09) Meh.

Mike Hammer gets a phone call from a friend who has just had his guts ripped open. It’s a slow month, so Hammer decides to investigate. Inexplicably the murder of Hammer’s friend is tied to a Soviet plot to release a virus in to kill the entire population of the United States.

Mike Hammer comes across as a self-righteous asshole. That wouldn’t necessarily be a problem but the narrative is confused and confusing. The story has more holes than my colander. Published in 1970.

The Killing Man (read 6/24/09) Meh

I gave this up in fairly short order when I realized that it was just more of the same. Spillane managed to change or grow not a whit in 19 years.

If you want to read some good hard-boiled crime or detective stories, I recommend John D. MacDonald or Richard Stark. Life is too short to waste on Spillane.