Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Review: Skin by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins

Mickey Spillane told his wife before he died to give every little thing that was left behind to his good friend and collaborator Max Allan Collins; and she did.

Skin is one of the stories that the former have started writing and the latter took the task of completing. It stars P.I. Mike Hammer, the most famous character created by Spillane, who all of a sudden finds himself investigating a mysterious case that seems to have more to it than what at first meets the eye.

 It all begins when Hammer, while returning back to town from a meeting of sorts from upstate New York, discovers some dismembered bodies at the side of the road. No longer being a police officer he decides to call Pat Chambers, a man who also attended the meeting, and who’s the Captain of the Homicide Squad. Soon enough the locals join the game as well, followed by an attractive TV journalist called Melodie Anderson.

Melodie seems to be a tough cookie and as she recognizes Hammer, he was her father’s hero she says, she tries to get him to talk to her about the case. Well, Hammer likes being famous, but for the time being he doesn’t seem to have a lot to say. However he exchanges professional cards with the woman and they both head their separate ways.

At first Hammer wants to stay away from the case, but as it seems that’s easier said than done. For starters he’s just too curious to let it go, and then, when the hand of one of the victims is identified as belonging to a famous Broadway producer called Victor King, who’s been reported missing a week before, he has no other choice as to investigate, since he’s hired by the victim’s very young wife to do so.

Well, Hammer has nothing more than his cold logic and his instincts to go on with, and that’s exactly what he does. As he collects bits and pieces of information, as he learns more things about the region, and about a series of events that took place there at years past, he’s certain that if he really wants to find out who the killer is he has to return to the scene of the crimes.

In the meantime Melodie and her cameraman Jason go missing and he has no doubts, than being who she is she’s definitely got herself into trouble. But, what kind of trouble? And do they have anything to do with the case?

As the mystery deepens, the action picks up pace towards the final goal: Hammer’s rough allotment of justice.

I’m sure the noir fiction fans will enjoy this eBook short that seems to come from a different era, but which in reality is a quite modern-world story.

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