Recently in Mystery Category

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Yes, Mickey Spillane, the guy who wrote such hard hitting novels as I, the Jury and The Delta Factor, actually wrote a screenplay for a never produced western (for John Wayne, no less!) back around 1959! 


If you haven't, here's your chance:

The film opens in the US on November 6th.

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Tough guy private eye Mike Hammer returns in a "new" thriller, Kill Me, Darling, begun in 1954 or thereabouts by Mickey Spillane and completed very nicely by Max Allan Collins.  (Click here to reserve our copy.)

Set in the aforementioned 1954, Hammer comes out of a four month bender (set off when his secretary Velda had left him with little explanation) to investigate former colleague Wade Manley's  murder.  With the help of old buddy Captain Pat Chambers of the NYPD, Mike discovers a connection between the murder victim and Velda, the latter now the latest girlfriend/mistress of Miami Beach gangster Nolly Quinn.  But what connection does Quinn have with the case?  Mike decides to head down to Miami to find out.  And then stuff happens...

Fun from start to finish, Kill Me, Darling (the title is uttered by a character during the end of the book) is a good roller coaster ride with plenty of sex and violence (lots of hoods get dispatched by Mike) to please the audience.  While the plot uses some familiar tropes -Hammer's bender was eventually used by Spillane in his 1962 novel The Girl Hunters (pointed out by Collins in his nice introduction), plus there's a surprise revelation at the climax about another character that harkens back to an earlier Spillane Hammer novel*- , there's still plenty of unexpected twists to be found. I loved hearing the reasons behind other gangsters wanting to hire Hammer to take out Quinn, for example, as well as the backstory that connects Hammer, Chambers, AND Velda to the late Manley. 

Kill Me, Darling is definitely recommended! 

*(If I tell you which Hammer novel, you'll know what I mean.)

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(Above is one of the books I enjoyed reading this year.)

The Greenwich Time just published a list of books recommended by my colleagues and myself.  Click here to read it.

Since I had sent a lengthy list (no, I'm not bragging), some of my other picks were dropped for space considerations.  Anyway, here's what else I had recommended (some may be familiar to readers of this blog):

Rogues, edited by George R. R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, is a fun collection of short stories from several genres by such authors as Neil Gaiman and Connie Willis.  Fans of Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series (adapted for HBO as Game of Thrones) will want to check out the author's contribution, "The Rogue Prince, or A King's Brother", which is a prequel to the aforementioned series.

Jeff VanderMeer's "Southern Reach" trilogy (Annihilation; Authority; Acceptance) which revolves around the mysterious "Area X" and the government's attempts to penetrate it, is one of the most exciting and frightening works of horror fiction you'll ever read.  You'll leave the light on when going to bed after finishing this collection.

Just in time to celebrate the character's 75th anniversary comes IDW's Batman: The Silver Age Dailies and Sundays 1966-1967, which collects the first two years of the caped crusader's newspaper comic strip, written by Whitney Ellsworth and illustrated by Sheldon Moldoff, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella.  Uneven in spots -the strip tried to combine the comic book version of Batman with the then-popular "camp" TV series- this is still a blast to read!

King of the Weeds by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins.  Private eye Mike Hammer tries to prove the guilt of a killer, whose release from prison on a technicality may destroy the career of Hammer's pal NYPD Captain Pat Chambers.  But first Mike has to fight off the mob, who think he's hiding millions of their own money.  Solid thriller with a powerful ending!

Other books I enjoyed included The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah, featuring Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, Lock In by John Scazi, and  The Most Dangerous Book:  The Battle For James Joyce's Ulysses by Kevin Birmingham.  But the most powerful one I read was probably Ron Suskind's Life Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism, a moving and life affirming account of his ultimately successful efforts to communicate with his autistic son Owen. 

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The latest collaboration of the late Mickey Spillane and the still living (whew!) Max Allan Collins,  King of the Weeds, the "penultimate" Mike Hammer novel,  is out now. 


"Death of a Citizen" by Donald Hamilton

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The UK-based Titan Books began reissuing Donald Hamilton's Matt Helm novels from 1960-93 about a year ago.


"Solo" by William Boyd

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SOLO-007.pngAs  with Jeffrey Deaver's Carte Blanche a few years back, the Ian Fleming estate has commissioned another writer -this time, William Boyd- to produce a new James Bond 007 novel.  Solo (click here to reserve a copy from us) is the result.


"Ask Not" by Max Allan Collins

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ASKNOT.pngPrivate eye Nate Heller is back in Max Allan Collins' latest thriller, Ask Not, the immediate sequel to his two previous thrillers Bye Bye, Baby and Target Lancer (both reviewed by me here and here.)


"Target Lancer" by Max Allan Collins

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TARGETLANCER.pngJust in time (though it was published last year) to mark the anniversary of one of this country's worst tragedies  is Max Allan Collins' latest historical mystery novel, Target Lancer.  (Click here to reserve our copy.) 


"Live and Let Die" (1973)

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Live&LetDieMoviePoster.pngIt was forty years ago this week that Roger Moore made his debut as Ian Fleming's James Bond 007 in the eighth "official" installment of the film series, Live and Let Die (1973). 


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