Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lady, Go Die -- Max Allan Collins & Mickey Spillane

A couple of my favorite collaborators are back and in fine form in Lady, Go Die. This novel was begun by Mickey Spillane more than 60 years ago and was apparently intended to be the second Mike Hammer novel. Spillane, however, put the manuscript aside, unfinished. Max Allan Collins has picked it up and completed it with the usual skill and care that he's shown in doing the same for other unfinished Spillane works.

Mike Hammer and Velda are taking a break from the rigors of big city live with a vacation in a small beach town during the off season. But trouble always finds Mike, and as soon as the story opens he happens on some cops "kicking the hell out of [a] little guy." Hammer doesn't like brutal cops, and he's always going to stick up for the helpless, so he wades right in and rescues Poochie (the little guy), a simple-minded but artistic little fellow who lives hand-to-mouth in a shack on the beach.

The cops, one of whom Hammer knows and doesn't like or trust, have been "questioning" Poochie, the little guy, because they think he knows something about the disappearance of a local woman who has a big-time gambling operation. Her body soon turns up, naked, atop a statue, and Hammer finds himself involved with not only crooked cops but a serial killer, beautiful women (natch), high-rollers, and mobsters.

It's all presented with the usual Collins/Spillane zip and verve, and it proves once again how wise Spillane was to insure that Collins was the one to take care of his uncompleted works. Collins knows how Mike Hammer thinks, and he always gets it right, just as he gets the post-WWII setting right. It's hard to say just where Spillane leaves off and Collins begins, and that's the way we Mike Hammer fans want it, fast and tough, just like Spillane would've done it alone. It's good to know that there are still a few more of posthumous collaborations to come. They're the real thing.

1 comment:

  1. This is the only intentional, posthumous collaboration. All other "completed" works that I ever heard of were started by heirs who hired strangers. These Mike Hammer books were handed by Spillane to Collins for the purpose of getting them finished.

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