Monday, April 28, 2014

King of the Weeds -- Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins

This is another in the series of posthumous collaborations between Collins and Spillane, and it finds Mike Hammer getting close to Medicare age.  Don't worry, though.  Hammer might be contemplating marriage and retirement, but he's as sharp and as quick as ever when he has to be.  And he has to be right from the start, since the book opens with a bang.

There's a lot going on in the story, which is a sequel to Black Alley (you don't have to have read that book to know what's going on, though).  A man (Rudy Olaf, known in prison as the King of the Weeds) whom Hammer and Pat Chambers nabbed 40 years previously is about to be released because he's now thought to be innocent of the string of murders for which he was sent up.  He's going to get a big sum of money from the city in recompense, and Chambers' career will be ruined into the bargain.  Also, someone's after nearly $90 billion (yes, that's billion) that's buried in an undisclosed location up in the Adirondacks.  As it happens, Hammer knows exactly where the money is because it was buried by an old army buddy who confided the location to Hammer.  If you've read any crime fiction at all, you won't be surprised when Hammer's hunch that the two things are related turns out to be correct.

Fans will be happy to discover that Hammer hasn't mellowed a bit with age, not that anyone would ever have expected such a thing.  He's as tough and resourceful as always, and so is Velda, for that matter.

There's an explosive climactic scene, and a quieter concluding one, with another of those great endings that have always been a Hammer hallmark.  Hammer tells a character that he understands irony and goes on to prove it with a snapper of a closer.  

This is another big winner for the Spillane/Collins team.  Check it out. 

1 comment:

Gerard said...

A good thing about these Spillane/Collins reviews is that I'm going to buy the book anyway. So, I'm not adding yet another Crider Approved™ novel on the TBR pile.