Vengeance Is Mine!

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So I got this book containing three Mickey Spillane novels, his first three in his famous Mike Hammer series. Because I'm a fan of private eye stories, and I like the hard boiled stuff, and who cares about the purists who look down their noses at lurid tales of two-fisted derring-do?

I read the first two novels in the volume years back; because I'm obsessive about this kind of thing, the third was finally chosen off the list by my book-picking algorithm.

What did I learn? That Spillane was not my cup of tea. Mike Hammer is kind of a dick, and I don't mean as in private. Frankly, I suspect he's got serious psychological problems, some strange mishmash of sadism, misogyny, paranoia, and anger issues.

On the other hand, Hammer is the kind of guy you'd want on your side in a scrape. (Unfortunately, the guys on Hammer's side, unless they are recurring characters, like Velda or Pat, usually wind up dead, in unusually unpleasant ways.) And the dames invariably find him dreamy, shedding their flimsy garments without a lot of provocation.

So: Vengeance is Mine! (With the exclamation point in the title). Mike wakes up in a hotel room from a whiskey-soaked bender and finds his co-bendee "dead as hell", his brains scattered by a bullet from Mike's .45. What happened? Mike would like to exact the titular Vengeance! but is hampered by a D.A. who pulls his PI license and his gun permit. Also by total lack of clues.

Lots of sex and violence, which must have been titillating back in the 1950s when it was written. Big surprise at the end (very last sentence, in fact) which (again) people back then might have found shocking and perverse.