Lady Goes Live

August 2nd, 2011 by Max Allan Collins

I am beginning the writing of LADY GO, DIE! today. The prep for this one has been extensive, as this is only Spillane manuscript that dates to the early period of the Mike Hammer books. In fact, you can’t get any earlier than this – the 20,000 word partial manuscript was probably written in 1947, shortly after I, THE JURY. That makes it the second Hammer novel.

By way of prep, I have been reading – and marking up like a school boy getting ready for the big test – large-print copies of I, THE JURY, MY GUN IS QUICK and THE TWISTED THING. The latter – published in 1966 but written before the official second Hammer, MY GUN IS QUICK – is particularly instructive, because it uses the same smalltown setting (fictional Sidon on Long Island) and has a few shared characters. Some of the latter will require me changing character names. Readers of THE TWISTED THING may recall the vividly rendered small-town cop/thug Dilwick. He appears prominently in LADY GO, DIE!, but will appear (unfortunately – because “Dilwick” is a wonderful, typically Spillane moniker) – under a different name in the finished novel.

Interest in the new Spillane/Hammer novels, to be published by Titan, was high on the net this week. Most of the write-ups are reworkings of the original New York Times piece.

This nice article, however, comes out of a phone interview I did, and it’s worth checking out.

In the meantime, the buzz about Harrison Ford as Wyatt Earp (in BLACK HATS) continues, apparently unslowed by the somewhat disappointing opening of Ford and Daniel Craig’s COWBOYS & ALIENS. They tied with the SMURFS. Too bad it wasn’t one movie, because that would have been more interesting, probably, than either existing film – COWBOYS & SMURFS? I’m there.


Cowboys & Aliens

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3 Responses to “Lady Goes Live”

  1. Joe Menta says:

    An interesting topic… when you write these new Hammer books, do you try to make them fit comfortably, continuity wise, between existing Spillane titles in the time period where each particular Spillane/Collins collaboration is set? Or should we just relax and simply enjoy them as alternate takes on the periods Spillane covered on his own?

  2. I do try to fit the novels into the continuity of the existing Hammer novels. More than that, I attempt to make them sound like the Hammer novels that are written around the same time. So for GOLIATH BONE, I put my emphasis on THE KILLING MAN and BLACK ALLEY.

    In LADY, GO DIE! this means slang terms of the late ’40s and less profanity — “Cripes” not “Christ,” for example. And you won’t see Mike saying, “Shit” or “Fuck” — he in fact says, “I said a nasty word.”

  3. Joe Menta says:

    Cool insight, thanks.