Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Goliath Bone

For crime writers my age reading Mickey Spillane was a right of passage. While my cousin had shown me underlined passages in I, The Jury, I didn't read a Spillane novel until I was fourteen. One Lonely Night remains one of my favorite mysteries and greatest influences. I've spent a fair share of my writing career trying to duplicate the opening of that novel, the hellish fog that entombs the bridge Hammer is walking across.

Few writers have been as reviled or misunderstood as Spillane in his early years. Lost in the controversy was the fact that he was a master storyteller whose take on post war America was, politics aside, not only dark and bitter but also true.

From the publishe on The Goliath Bone::

"In the midst of a Manhattan snowstorm, Hammer halts the violent robbery of a pair of college sweethearts who have stumbled onto a remarkable archaeological find in the Valley of Elah: the perfectly preserved femur of what may have been the biblical giant Goliath. Hammer postpones his marriage to his faithful girl Friday, Velda, to fight a foe deadlier than the mobsters and KGB agents of his past—Islamic terrorists and Israeli extremists bent upon recovering the relic for their own agendas.

"A week before his death, Mickey Spillane entrusted a substantial portion of this manuscript and extensive notes to his frequent collaborator, Max Allan Collins, to complete. The result is a thriller as classic as Spillane’s own I, the Jury, as compelling as Collins’s Road to Perdition, and as contemporary as The Da Vinci Code."

Collins is especially adroit as using the Hammer persona but carefully, persuaively bringing it into this century. No easy trick. What could have been little more than a stunt becomes here a rich, gripping updating of the Hammer persona, making the Goliath Bone a compelling and clever adventure that honors the best of both Mickey and Max Allan Collins.

There's another colaboration on itsway and I can't wait to read it.


Dave Zeltserman said...


I the Jury was the book that got me hooked on crime fiction. I think I was 14 also when I read it.

Collins' has clearly mastered writing Spillane. His two HCC Quarry books feel a lot like Spillane, and his Ms. Tree character in the HCC book was Mike Hammer with the female body parts! I'm looking forward to Goliath Bone.

Cullen Gallagher said...

I have this on my shelf as well, really looking forward to it. I quite liked "Dead Street." I hope the other Spillane/Collins collaborations will come out soon.