Book Review: Mike Hammer: Lady, Go Die!

Once in a great while comes a writer so perfectly matched for the genre he pens, it is outstanding. Responsible for writing the iconic Mike Hammer crime novels, Mickey Spillane was that writer. I, the Jury was the first of the Mike Hammer novels and was so popular it spawned a long running series as well as a few movie adaptations we won’t go into detail on. When Spillane passed away in 2006, the world lost a fantastic storyteller. Spillane’s voice through his craft, however, can still be heard. Thanks to several incomplete works, Max Allan Collins, and Titan Books – these stories, and Spillane’s voice can still be heard. Mike Hammer: Lady, Go Die! is one such novel.

I, The Jury

Nobody needed to put me at gunpoint to read Lady, Go Die. It was a hoot!

Mike Hammer: Lady, Go Die! is the direct sequel to I, the Jury being released almost 70 years after the original! For our film fans the best way I can describe the mood set in this novel is Sin City meets Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Without giving away too much, the book opens with Hammer and his secretary, Velda, seeking some R&R in the beach town of Sidon. Which of course is much needed after the events of I, the Jury. If you are asking “What events?!”, I will take that as a sign that you have not read it. My answer is, “Go pick it up!”. In this beach town a mystery quickly develops involving a missing New York party girl living in the area who turns up naked and dead, positioned on top of a statue of a horse that can be found in the center of town. Mike takes it upon himself to launch a private investigation, as the local PD can hardly be trusted. Some vacation!

Through various twists and turns Mike Hammer investigates the mysterious events and characters surrounding the beach town of Sidon. Set in a post World War 2 America, the hard edge many of the characters carry can be seen as a result of such historic world events. This hard edge shapes Mike Hammer, the story’s protagonist, making him the ideal private detective to take on the crime and corruption evident in Sidon. Whether it is the womanizing, the drinking, the smoking, or the violence – Mike Hammer is a damaged character. Not unlike a certain British secret agent we all know and love. You can’t help but root Hammer on as he obsessively pursues the truth while protecting his friends, new and old, along the way.

Mike Hammer: Lady, Go Die will keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing right until the very end. It is the most classic example of a murder mystery with a unique twist. What is the twist you ask? Well, it seems like a classic, because it is! Written almost 70 years ago and never before released – it is both new and old. For fans of Spillane’s work, you will not be disappointed as it is true to the quality of his early works. Like all good books the end will come too soon. Thankfully Titan Books and Max Allan Collins have more untold tales of Mike Hammer that will be released in 2013 (Complex 90) and 2014 (King of the Weeds). Until then, we can celebrate and appreciate the complete collection of Mickey Spillane novels highlighted by his latest crime tale in Mike Hammer: Lady, Go Die.

Mike Hammer: Lady, Go Die!Mike Hammer: Lady, Go Die!

Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date:
May 8, 2012
Authors: Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane
Hardcover: 272 pages