Thursday, May 23, 2013
I was thirteen or fourteen when I first read Mickey Spillane and his
influence is still with me. That's why I'm such a fan of the
Spillane-Max Allan Collins collaborations and COMPLEX 90 is the wildest
Imagine Hammer having to accompany a United States Senator (as a
bodyguard) at the height of the Cold War. Imagine Hammer being
kidnapped by the Soviets and being forced to do the impossible--escape
while killing forty-five Russians. Imagine Hammer going in front of a
Senate Committee that is accusing him of causing an International
Incident that could destroy world peace. Some of the Senators want to
send him back to Russia to let them deal with him.
Now imagine Hammer having to elude both U.S. Authorities as well as the
Russians while he investigates the real reasons behind all these
dangerous and baffling events.
Even if you aren't a speed reader you will be by the time you finish
this one. One compelling scene piles on another with Collins having a
lot of fun with Hammer at his most violent and the era at its most
reactionary. (One of my favorite scenes is when Hammer gives a guy fifty
bucks to decoy the real Hammer can away--I thought If only this poor schlub
knew what he could be getting into :).
While Mickey Spillane is the source of the novel (this is
based on an unfinished Spillane partial) the superior craftsmanship,
the sly humor and the relentless pacing that have made Max Collins an
increasingly important mystery writer are all here in plain sight.
I'm sure Collins had a great time writing it because people sure are
having a great time reading it.