cover image A Long Time Dead: A Mike Hammer Casebook

A Long Time Dead: A Mike Hammer Casebook

Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins., $14.99 trade paper (227p) ISBN 978-1-5040-3609-2

Collins (Murder Never Knocks) brings his considerable experience with iconic PI Mike Hammer to these eight formulaic stories adapted from manuscripts that Spillane left incomplete at his death, though the collection is definitely a mixed bag. At his best, Collins captures the feel of a New York City fraught with danger at every turn; at his worst, the prose is purple (an electrocuted man’s eyes are described as “sightless black sockets crying scarlet tears as he cooked in the gravy of his own gore”). The plots are also uneven, including one that enters schlock horror terrain. But others are more down-to-earth and encapsulate Hammer’s somehow-charismatic callousness, such as “A Dangerous Cat,” which has a delightfully wicked ending. Spillane fans will enjoy Collins’s faithful re-creations of Hammer and the violence-prone gumshoe’s supporting cast, including his knockout partner and love interest, Velda, and his one friend on the NYPD, honest cop Pat Chambers. (Sept.)