Friday, March 31, 2023

A Look Back At Mickey Spillane: My Washington Times On Crime Column, Part Two, On 'Spillane: King Of Pulp Fiction'

The Washington Times ran my On Crime column, part two, on the fine biography of the late crime writer Mickey Spillane. 

In last On Crime column, I interviewed Max Allan Collins, the co-author of “Spillane: The King of Pulp Fiction,” a fine biography of the late crime writer Mickey Spillane.


Spillane, who died in 2006 at the age of 88, wrote the Mike Hammer crime novels and other crime thrillers. Although he received some of the worst book reviews ever written, his novels were bestsellers. As I noted in my previous column, Spillane was unabashedly conservative and unpretentious. He was also self-deprecating about his work, calling his novels “the chewing gum of American literature.”


He later became as famous for mocking his tough-guy image in beer commercials on TV as he was for his novels.


The late Raymond Chandler, one of my favorite writers, dismissed Spillane, having his iconic private detective character Philip Marlowe drop what he noted passed for a crime novel in a trash can — as no garbage can was available.


Another of my favorite writers, Elmore Leonard, felt differently about Spillane. Writing in Time magazine after Spillane’s death in 2006, Leonard wrote: “I remember when ‘I, The Jury,’ Mickey Spillane‘s first novel, came out in 1947. I was in college and had just come out of the service the summer before. Forceful and full of energy (it had to have been, since he wrote it in nine days), the book knocked me out.


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