Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kiss Her Goodbye by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (Mike Hammer series)

Only a telephone call from his best friend, police captain Pat Chambers, could bring Mike Hammer back to New York. There was simply nothing for him there anymore. And his health's not so great, either, after that firefight that ended in the death of Sal Bonetti and left Hammer with numerous pains, in particular a "hot spot" behind his ribs. So, he's been relaxing and recuperating in Florida and not missing the city a bit.

When Pat tells Mike that their pal Inspector Bill Doolan killed himself, Mike is on his way. After the funeral, though, something nags at Hammer, and he begins to have doubts. Sure, Doolan had cancer, and maybe he would want to do away with himself before the disease made his every living moment hell, but it's just not Doolan's style. And yet maybe it could have been his wish, given how he was living his final years as a playboy, to go out in a flash.

But when the corpse of Ginnie Mathes turns up and Dulcie Thorpe is hit-and-run'd right beside Mike, Hammer knows that, as unofficial as he wanted this visit to be, he'll have to break out the .45 and the porkpie and do what he does best. Only this time without his girl Friday, Velda.

Kiss Her Goodbye is the third Mike Hammer novel finished by author Max Allan Collins from documents in the late Mickey Spillane's files. The first two were The Goliath Bone and The Big Bang (with the non-Hammer Dead Street before that).

Collins has really hit his stride with this one. He captures the disco era skillfully, yet assures that it doesn't feel old or out-of-date to modern readers — though that didn't keep a Bowery Boys reference from eliciting a grin. Kiss Her Goodbye also serves up a superlative mystery that kept me guessing, sometimes even more after a question was answered than before, delivering a couple of really great twists.

There are several more unfinished novels and other works remaining in the Spillane archives, but Kiss Her Goodbye is at this writing the last Hammer contracted for. I for one am glad to see Hammer in brand new adventures, and I know many of you are, too. So let's keep him there. What this means is that, if you want to see more, you need to speak up with your almighty dollars. Accolades and passionate discussion are all well and good, but the only way the publisher knows that these books are in demand is if they sell.

1 comment:

August West said...

I really like this one. It's the best of the three new Hammer novels so far from Collins/Spillane.

Related Posts with Thumbnails