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It was with a lot of glee that I opened the pages of this book for my first look. It is the latest collaboration between Mickey Spillane and his friend Max Allan Collins. It’s been told that Mickey told his wife to give Max everything after he was gone. “Max will know what to do.” After this fourth book completed from manuscripts left(the third Hammer), it’s safe to say they are in good hands. I’m prejudiced, I suppose, as I’m a long time admirer of both writers’ work.

Mike Hammer returns to New York after a year of convalescence in Florida, recovering from the wounds of a gun battle with a hood(though not completely healed) to attend the funeral of an old friend and mentor that had committed suicide before his cancer reduced him to something less than a man. The thing was Hammer didn’t buy it. He knew his old friend to well and the whole thing smelled of something more.

So the trip was more than just a funeral. He intended to look into it and return to Florida. The city wasn’t the same anymore. It’s the seventies, disco is king, hedonistic thrills reign, and Velda is gone. Just not the same.

Hammer is the only one who doesn’t buy the suicide verdict. It does seem a solid conclusion. Even Pat Chambers thinks it so. That old Hammer nose tells him otherwise and he’s not back in town but a day when bodies start turning up and an attempt is made on his life. The tale winds down to a ferocious climax and an ending that brought back memories of that first blush with Mr. Spillane’s work.

I liked this novel, the best one yet between the two collaborators, and look forward to more. Mr. Collins has a few more partial manuscripts to finish and I couldn’t be more pleased. The book is due out in May and I would suggest one order it now if you’re interested. The more successful these books are, the more likely they will continue.

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