A Triple-Shot Anthology From the Undisputed Master of Detective Fiction.
In Mickey Spillane's classic detective novels, the action exploded in a bone-crunching catharsis. Men and women didn't make love, they collided. Tough brutes used their fists to drive home a message. Tougher broads used guile. And no one's morals were loftier than the gutter. No apologies. Little redemption. They rendered critics powerless, shocked intellectuals, inspired a new wave of pulp mayhem, and left the public hungry for more.
Given their hot, fever-pitch prose and breathless pacing, Spillane's Mike Hammer novels quickly became one of the most successful series in publishing history--an innovative, no-holds-barred, ultravisceral explosion of sex and violence that made Hammer a literary legend, and Spillane, one of the bestselling authors of all time. After fifty years, neither has lost their power to sucker punch the reader.
Find out for yourself in this first-time ever omnibus featuring the first three Mike Hammer novels by the living master of the hard-boiled mystery...
Mickey Spillane's first three Mike Hammer mysteries I, the Jury; My Gun Is Quick; and Vengeance Is Mine! are collected in The Mike Hammer Collection: Volume 1, with an introduction by Shamus Award-winner Max Allan Collins, who finds "[s]omething personal...at the heart of every Spillane novel." Hammer is a foul-mouthed, violent vigilante and a sucker for beautiful damsels in distress, some of whom pull the wool over his eyes. With his trusty, sexy assistant Velda keeping him honest (sort of), he exacts revenge on racketeers, cheats and murderers.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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June 10, 2001
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Excerpt from The Mike Hammer Collection by Mickey Spillane
Chapter 1 from I, The Jury
I shook the rain from my hat and walked into the room. Nobody said a word. They stepped back politely and I could feel their eyes on me. Pat Chambers was standing by the door to the bedroom trying to steady Myrna. The girl's body was racking with dry sobs. I walked over and put my arms around her.
"Take it easy, kid," I told her. "Come on over here and lie down." I led her to a studio couch that was against the far wall and sat her down. She was in pretty bad shape. One of the uniformed cops put a pillow down for her and she stretched out.
Pat motioned me over to him and pointed to the bedroom. "In there, Mike," he said.
In there. The words hit me hard. In there was my best friend lying on the floor dead. The body. Now I could call it that. Yesterday it was Jack Williams, the guy that shared the same mud bed with me through two years of warfare in the stinking slime of the jungle. Jack, the guy who said he'd give his right arm for a friend and did when he stopped a bastard of a Jap from slitting me in two. He caught the bayonet in the biceps and they amputated his arm.
Pat didn't say a word. He let me uncover the body and feel the cold face. For the first time in my life I felt like crying. "Where did he get it, Pat?"
"In the stomach. Better not look at it. The killer carved the nose off a forty-five and gave it to him low."
I threw back the sheet anyway and a curse caught in my throat. Jack was in shorts, his one hand still clutching his belly in agony. The bullet went in clean, but where it came out left a hole big enough to cram a fist into.
Very gently I pulled the sheet back and stood up. It wasn't a complicated setup. A trail of blood led from the table beside the bed to where Jack's artificial arm lay. Under him the throw rug was ruffled and twisted. He had tried to drag himself along with his one arm, but never reached what he was after.
His police positive, still in the holster, was looped over the back
of the chair. That was what he wanted. With a slug in his gut he never gave up.
I pointed to the rocker, overbalanced under the weight of the .38. "Did you move the chair, Pat?"
"It doesn't belong there. Don't you see?"
Pat looked puzzled. "What are you getting at?"
"That chair was over there by the bed. I've been here often enough to remember that much. After the killer shot Jack, he pulled himself toward the chair. But the killer didn't leave after the shooting. He stood here and watched him grovel on the floor in agony. Jack was after that gun, but he never reached it. He could have if the killer didn't move it. The trigger-happy bastard must have stood by the door laughing while Jack tried to make his last play. He kept pulling the chair back, inch by inch, until Jack gave up. Tormenting a guy who's been through all sorts of hell. Laughing. This was no ordinary murder, Pat. It's as cold-blooded and as deliberate as I ever saw one. I'm going to get the one that did this."
"You dealing yourself in, Mike?"
"I'm in. What did you expect?"
"You're going to have to go easy."
"Uh-uh. Fast, Pat. From now on it's a race. I want the killer for myself. We'll work together as usual, but in the homestretch, I'm going to pull the trigger."
"No, Mike, it can't be that way. You know it."
"Okay, Pat," I told him. "You have a job to do, but so have I. Jack was about the best friend I ever had. We lived together and fought together. And by Christ, I'm not letting the killer go through the tedious process of the law. You know what happens, damn it. They get the best lawyer there is and screw up the whole thing and wind up a hero! The dead can't speak for themselves. They can't tell what happened. How could Jack tell a jury what it was like to have his insides ripped out by a dumdum? Nobody in the box would know how it felt to be dying or have your own killer laugh in your face. One arm. Hell, what does that mean? So he has the Purple Heart. But did they ever try dragging themselves across a floor to a gun with that one arm, their insides filling up with blood, so goddamn mad to be shot they'd do anything to reach the killer. No, damn it. A jury is cold and impartial like they're supposed to be, while some snotty lawyer makes them pour tears as he tells how his client was insane at the moment or had to shoot in self-defense. Swell. The law is fine. But this time I'm the law and I'm not going to be cold and impartial. I'm going to remember all those things."
I reached out and grabbed the lapels of his coat. "And something more, Pat. I want you to hear every word I say. I want you to tell it to everyone you know. And when you tell it, tell it strong, because I mean every word of it. There are ten thousand mugs that hate me and you know it. They hate me because if they mess with me I shoot their damn heads off. I've done it and I'll do it again."
There was so much hate welled up inside me I was ready to blow up, but I turned and looked down at what was once Jack. Right then I felt like saying a prayer, but I was too mad.
"Jack, you're dead now. You can't hear me any more. Maybe you can. I hope so. I want you to hear what I'm about to say. You've known me a long time, Jack. My word is good just as long as I live. I'm going to get the louse that killed you. He won't sit in the chair. He won't hang. He will die exactly as you died, with a .45 slug in the gut, just a little below the belly button. No matter who it is, Jack, I'll get the one. Remember, no matter who it is, I promise."
When I looked up, Pat was staring at me strangely. He shook his head. I knew what he was thinking. "Mike, lay off. For God's sake don't go off half-cocked about this. I know you too well. You'll start shooting up anyone connected with this and get in a jam you'll never get out of."