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.