"HE WAS THE KILLER AND I WAS THE TARGET.”
It should be a mellow time for America’s toughest PI. He and Velda are planning their nuptials, and Captain of Homicide Pat Chambers is nearing retirement. Then an assassin’s bullet almost brings Mike down on his office doorstep. Could the attempted hit have anything to do with the impending release of a serial killer put away by Mike and Pat? There’s also the small matter of the $89 billion in Mafia money stashed in a cave, in a location known only to Hammer. With everyone from wiseguys to the US Government on his tail, Mike must prove that he is just as sharp, and deadly, as ever.
What's billed as the penultimate Mike Hammer novel, a posthumous collaboration between Collins and Spillane (Complex 90), will leave even die-hard fans wondering whether the effort to complete the manuscript was worthwhile. Instead of the gritty violence and razor-sharp prose that made the series and its lead iconic from the outset, this outing offers plot contrivances and silliness and whether they originated with Spillane or not is irrelevant. As the book opens in the late 1990s, Mike Hammer, who's in his mid-60s, is shot twice as he goes to his New York City office, but the hit man, conveniently and improbably, takes off before insuring the PI is dead. This is but a prelude to a storyline centering on a treasure trove of $89 billion (yes, billion) that Hammer has squirreled away, the reopening of an old serial killer case, and a string of odd cop deaths. Labored prose (e.g., "the sky did a tympani number and that wet gray blanket over the city finally let go") doesn't help.