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Gurglings of a Putrid Stream

Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.

See also:  http://goppf.wikidot.com/swstart

My name:  Brian Martin

I, the Jury by Mickey Spillane

I, the Jury - Mickey Spillane

The first Mike Hammer book.

I expected a hard boiled thriller, but instead got a hard boiled mystery. Like me, you probably won't have a hard time guessing who the killer is, but that's no great accomplishment at this point in time. As for the motive, good luck. Hammer explains it all at the end and maybe it even makes sense (I have my doubts), but that wasn't really the point, anyway. Hammer is the point, and just like his namesake, it's a blunt one.

That's not a criticism, though. I was worried that Hammer would turn out to be an emotionless wrecking ball, but that wasn't the case at all. He's got friends, a sense of humor, and even contemplates children at one point--having them, not killing them. He's a likable guy, most of the time. For the rest, well, he's our imagination come to life. I can't say I always approve of his methods (which, more often than not, involve the threat of grievous bodily harm), but I can't say I've never wished I could solve my problems so easily, either. So what the hell?

It isn't a great book, but it's a pretty good first novel. Oh, sure, some will call it racist (because Spillane uses some of the language of his time) and misogynistic (because they don't understand what the word means), but the reality is, if you look beyond the words, Hammer treats everyone pretty much the same. The good people he likes, the bad ones he doesn't. Pretty straightforward, really. Which is what the whole book is. No great psychological insights, no deep ruminations on the human condition--Spillane just lets the rabbit go and then follows the dogs.