THE GOLIATH BONE
A New Mike Hammer Novel
By Mickey Spillane
With Max Allan Collins
You would have expected the father of America’s toughest private-eye to go out with a bang! And he does, in this, one of the two remaining Mike Hammer books Mickey Spillane was writing at the time of his death. Thankfully his close friend, and literary protégé, Max Allan Collins was on board to complete them. It’s a loud bang of action, humor and a long fulfilled romance that had me hooked from page one.
Nobody wrote tough-guy pulp like Spillane. It was a talent that never left him over his sixty year career as a crime writer. Mike Hammer is out and about on a cold New York City winter night when trouble comes calling in the form of two young people hurrying down the street unaware they’ve picked up a menacing shadow. Never one to mind his own business, Hammer takes off after them and their mysterious pursuer and arrives in the nick of time to save them from being gunned down. Hammer never goes anywhere without his trusty Colt .45 automatic. With a dead man at his feet, and two frightened innocents, Hammer whisks them off to the security of his office and thus the tale begins.
The would-be victims are college sweethearts recently returned from a trip to Israel. After camping in the Valley of Elah, the two accidentally uncover a human femur bone the size of a railroad tie. They believe it to be the only remains of the biblical Philistine giant, Goliath. The couple, Mark and Jenna, smuggle the bone out of the country by mailing it to a friend back home. Once back in New York, they retrieve it and are on their way to the university to deliver it to their respective parents who are both archeologists. Thus ends their tale at the point of being attacked by the unknown assassin and Hammer’s timely appearance. Hammer immediately realizes the political implications of their discovery and the dangers they entail, to include the botched murder attempt.
Leave it to Spillane to deliver a topical thriller, post 9-11, with Hammer ready to take on Islamic terrorists all by his lonesome. The plot moves at a fast clip and before long Hammer is embroiled with foreign dignitaries, government agents and criminal arms dealers, all the while having to protect the two young lovers. Thus the subplot of his long overdue marriage to Velda, his gorgeous, loyal secretary is truly poignant. Ever the skilled story-telling magician, Spillane pulls a few aces out his sleeve, including the reason why it has taken Hammer so long to make an honest woman of her. Their marriage and honeymoon adds a fitting chapter to Hammer’s last case. The feelings of these two characters, their enduring love and its joyful resolution reminded me of what William Faulkner called “…the truths of the heart.”
But worry not, pulp fans. Before the two can sail off into the sunset, there is still the matter of a ruthless killer who has left a trail of bodies for Hammer to follow like a grisly invitation to a climatic showdown. Mike Hammer never walked away from a case until justice had been meted out; the kind dispensed from the barrel of his .45. THE GOLIATH BONE is no exception. This is one hell of a ride you do not want to miss!