Skin - Max Allan Collins & Mickey Spillane

Released July 2012

Max Allan Collins
Mickey Spillane

Book Review by Jen Beams

Detective Mike Hammer faces probably the most disturbing case late into his career. When a pile of human remains is discovered on the side of the road, Hammer is determined to piece together the mystery. This determination is only fueled when a good-looking news reporter and her camera man, two of the first few at the scene with Hammer, mysteriously disappear. Somewhere out there is a deeply disturbed suspect who wants to make sure he leaves no witnesses, or detectives for that matter, to report his crimes.

As I read in the author’s note, the first author, Mickey Spillane, left manuscripts for many short stories for his co-author, Max Allan Collins, to finish and publish after Spillane’s death. This particular story is from later in Spillane's career and it seems there is an entire Mike Hammer series. I’d definitely read more of these stories. If Collins were to combine these short stories into a collection, it’s something I’d absolutely invest in.

I expected more virtue from Detective Hammer. The ending was especially cruel of him, but I'll leave it to the reader to discover what I mean. However, not having read about any of his other mysteries, I wouldn’t know about a probable backstory to his less-than-moral conduct. Part of me wanted to read more character development and more details regarding the motive of the deranged murderer, while part of me was glad to be left to use my imagination for certain aspects you come across while reading Skin. Plus, it is a short story and by its nature, would not contain as many details as a novel.

Overall, I was impressed with the story and it was a quick and easy read; perfect for the busy man or woman. I would like to read more from Spillane and Collins. 

Editor's Note: I'm going to show my age a little here, but for any reader unfamiliar with Mike Hammer, if you have a Netflix Instant Watch account, you can catch a Mike Hammer movie, My Gun is Quick. There were also three different spins on television: Mike Hammer, starring Darren McGavin, ran from 1958 to 1959; The New Mike Hammer, starring Stacy Keach, ran from 1984 to 1989; and then Mike Hammer, Private Eye, again starring Stacy Keach, from 1997 to 1998. You can get more insight into Mickey Spillane's characters through any of these.


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