Wednesday, 5 November 2008

CARLSON'S MIDDLE-EASTERN EYE

My latest American Eye column is up at Shots, follow this link. It's a joint review of books by Robert Littell (Vicious Circle) and Richard North Patterson (Exile), both of which are set in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the conclusions are a little suprising....

1 comment :

Max Allan Collins said...

Mike, a handful of reviews of THE GOLIATH BONE view it in a distressingly literal way -- namely, doing the math on how old Hammer would be. How old was Poirot? How old was Nero Wolfe and for that matter Archie Goodwin? Christ, how old was Robin Hood? When exactly did Mike Hammer become realistic?

You know very well that the young, intense crazed-avenger Hammer appears only in those early books and, spottily, in the 1962-1970 novels. (THE TWISTED THING is actually a late '40s novel.) The Hammer of GOLIATH BONE is a much tougher extension of the young Hammer into mature age than the Hammer of THE KILLING MAN or BLACK ALLEY (the latter uses recovery from gunshot wounds as a substitute for old age).

In GOLIATH BONE, Mickey was reacting to 9/11 through Mike. He was a contemporary author, responding to current events, through his signature character, with whom he strongly identified. It frustrates me that some reviewers miss the nice resonance that the "murdered friend" Mike is avenging this time around is Manhattan. And that they can't relish a story that provides a classic character with a final case (as was the case with Poirot and Morse, for example).

Your entire heroes-never-die premise is clever but false, since of course this book is not about the death of Hammer at all. I'm proud of GOLIATH BONE and find it disappointing that some Spillane fans carry so much baggage along that they can't enjoy the ride.