Ruthless tough guy private eye Mike Hammer returns in a cold war thriller set around 1964-65 in Complex 90, the latest Mickey Spillane thriller completed by Max Allan Collins.
(See my previous reviews of earlier Spillane-Collins collaborations here.
Hammer returns to the US after spending three months on the run in Soviet Russia. While acting as a bodyguard to a United States senator on a public relations trip in that country, Hammer had been kidnapped by the KGB, apparently out for revenge after the detective's previous run-ins with Soviet Intelligence in One Lonely Night (1952) and The Girl Hunters (1962).
MIke being Mike, he manages to break free and get himself back to America while leaving behind a big body count. Unfortunately Washington is taking heat from the Russians over extraditing Hammer for his "crimes" and may just deliver the detective to them.
Add the presence of Russian agents on American soil trying to capture/kill Hammer themselves, a mysterious NASA project somehow connected to the proceedings, some surprising revealations from Hammer's partner/lover Velda, and the return of an old enemy previously thought dead, and you've got one exciting fast paced thriller that keeps you glued to the page from start to finish. And that great nasty final scene when Hammer finally settles accounts... Well, you'll be left breathless by then.
Collins as usual manages to "get" Spillane's inner voice and tone. There's no jarring clash of writing styles, and the characterzations and situations all feel right. Collins also fills in some continuity gaps from previous Spillane novels, including explaining why one character who had appeared in previous novels subsequently left Hammer's universe.
Reserve our copy of Complex 90 here. It's worth reading.
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