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Judge, Jury, and Executioner: Mickey Spillane, Mike Hammer, and the Private Eye on Screen and on the Page

18 May 2012 2:58 PM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Mickey Spillane grabbed his position in the pop culture pantheon much like his iconic creation, private eye Mike Hammer, made his way through a case: through a sort of literary brute force, blasting away with heavy doses of graphic violence, steamy sex, and a style which reviewers often considered the prose version of a blunt object.

As a mystery writer, Spillane wasn’t as clever as Evan Hunter, nor as introspective as late career Ross MacDonald, nor did he have the insider’s street savvy of George V. Higgins, or the prose command of Raymond Chandler. Read today, some of his stuff seems so familiar and stale and excessive it borders on camp. But, whatever one’s qualitative judgment on Spillane and his canon, there’s no doubt his impact on the mystery genre – and the private eye tale in particular – was both massive and indelible, reaching beyond the printed »

- Bill Mesce

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2012 | 2010

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