cover image Mickey Spillane's Murder Is My Business

Mickey Spillane's Murder Is My Business

. Dutton Books, $19.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-525-93901-6

Gathered loosely in a guns-for-hire theme, the 17 stories here are generally good, mostly new and include a few surprises. John Lutz is funnier than usual, telling of a sad sack investigator who thinks he's being paid $50 to push a pizza in a guy's face for a laugh. He's wrong about the job, the pay and the reaction of an organized crime lord hit with anchovies and mozzarella. Joe Hannibal, Wayne Dundee's underrated series shamus, intercedes when a long-legged beauty is pursued by goons in a cab and then discovers that she is suspiciously competent at dealing with the thugs. Lawrence Block's story draws laughs with a hit man who arrives in town, fixated on a bad western paperback and strangely unwilling to kill his target. Closing the collection is a short, seldom-seen, unrepentant Spillane novella, Everybody's Watching Me, featuring a good dame in a tight spot, the kid she befriends and the warring hoods the unlucky twosome find themselves caught between. Other contributors include Andrew Greeley, Carolyn Wheat and Ed Gorman. (Dec.)