It's Mickey Spillane's last book and I was ready for another trip down noir street with Dead Street. Didn't happen.
Spillane died July 17, 2006, and this book which was almost completed, was published in 2007. His friend and confidant Max Allen Collins, prepared the manuscript for publication and completed the last three chapters which Spillane had outlined. I should have paid more attention to the publication facts and not anticipated that this book would be so similar in flavor to some of the earlier hard boiled noir books I've read by Spillane. However, I didn't pay attention,and was slightly disappointed because of it.
The plotline is about retired NYPD cop Jack Stang. He's told that the love of his life, Bettie, is alive, is blind and has no memory of the night she was abducted 20 years ago. The whys of the abduction and Stang's move to Florida where she lives is a part of the story. Scenes shift from Florida to NYC and from the present to 20 years back when Bettie and Stang were living together and engaged. At the time, Stang was a detective and Bettie a computer expert (and virus specialist) who worked for a computer storage company. Computers, of course, were in the early stages of being in every office and household.
Yes, I do think it would be considered 'hard-boiled' but references to 9/11, computers, and oil rich Middle Eastern nations, just threw me off a bit. Now I'm used to a 1950's and '60's setting in Spillane's books. It was disconcerting and I had a difficult time getting past it from the first mention of 9/11 and terrorism.
Still love Spillane's phasing such as "Patience is something that cops learn. The initial eagerness of putting on a uniform is like training a puppy. All bounce and yips with lots of circles to run in." I find Spillane's writing so much fun to read and after reading sentences such as that I found I really missed his writing. Plotline, three stars, writing four stars and it's a Spillane, so four stars it is.
The cover of the book, so '50's, was a bonus. It's so 'pulp fiction' looking thanks to artist Arthur Suydam. Was happy to carry it with me and showing it off when waiting in offices. Imagined people thinking, 'look at her reading that trashy novel.' Spillane would have said with pride, "no, it's a book written by a writer, ma'am."
With that said, I'll take Mickey Spillane's writing over so many, many of today's bestselling "authors."