Posts Tagged ‘The Lusitania Murders’

Kill Him Goodbye

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

As I write this, the news of Osama Bin Laden’s news is fresh – my son Nate called me late Sunday night to tell me that Bin Laden had been killed and that the President was about to speak – so I don’t feel comfortable this week with my normal plug-flung update.

I live in the Midwest, and Mickey Spillane (for much of his later life) lived in the South, but Mike Hammer was the quintessential New Yorker. Mickey felt strongly about Bin Laden’s assault on his city and his country…so much so that his last Mike Hammer novel, which I had the honor of completing, was a 9/11 story (THE GOLIATH BONE).

Goliath Bone

I can say this much: somewhere Mickey is smiling. I know Mike Hammer is. Bin Laden taking a bullet in the eye is perfect. Couldn’t have written it better myself. Even Mickey couldn’t have.

The book I was working on when the Twin Towers went down was THE LUSITANIA MURDERS. That particular crime/disaster had eerie echoes of 9/11, and I immediately questioned whether I should go on with it. Again, as a Midwesterner, I do a lot of business in New York, and for several days I was doing my best to get in touch with editors and friends (my agent Dominick Abel and my mentor Don Westlake among them), to make sure they were alive and well. It was an odd time, and for several weeks, a lot of us in the storytelling game – particularly those who deal in crime and violence – found ourselves questioning exactly what it is we do.

Soon writers and other entertainers came to their senses – storytelling is in the blood of the human race – but it was a self-reflective and extremely weird time. Weird enough for Mickey to set aside one “last” Mike Hammer novel (the still-to-be-completed KING OF THE WEEDS) to begin another (THE GOLIATH BONE). He wanted Mike Hammer to weigh in.

This is from THE GOLIATH BONE. It is a passage mostly written by Mickey. It was on a scrap of his distinctive yellow paper and perhaps was not meant for the novel, but I felt it was perfect and wove it in:

You stand at the heart of New York City and look east to where the twin monuments once stood, gargantuan edifices that reached into the sky proclaiming wealth and power and hopefully indicating peace. There’s an oddball quietness there now, not the absence of noise, but the stillness of sounds that people make, like laughter and satisfaction. As they go by that once busy avenue that housed the magnificent businesses of the world, they avert their eyes, their voices become subdued but, if you listen real close, you can hear someone swear at the bastards who tried to murder a city. It’s an empty space now, but some day the snakes who live for destruction across the ocean in their own empty spaces of sand and caves would meet the snapping teeth of the avengers.

In italics, of course.

Speaking of Mickey and Mike, we have had a terrific review from Bookgasm about the forthcoming, very New York-centric Mike Hammer novel, KISS HER GOODBYE. The “her” of the title is New York City. Do check this one out (both the review and the novel).