All Things Mysterious--Volume Six
When Mickey Spillane got out of the Army in 1945 he and his bride Mary Anne wanted to buy a house, so the ex-serviceman decided to make some money by writing a novel, and he sat down and wrote I, the Jury in 19 days. In hardcover and paperback it sold over six million copies, which meant that his financial worries were over, at least for the time being. The adventures of hardboiled private eye Mike Hammer contained more upfront violence than was the norm at the time and, while tame by today’s standards, the Hammer books were considered quite steamy. They were vilified by critics, whose snobbery was often palpable, but sales were through the roof (no doubt helped by the lurid covers drawn for the paperback editions) and Spillane remains one of the best selling novelists of all time in any discipline. It is estimated that his books have sold between 100 million and 200 million copies. Click on the links below to make it two hundred million and one!
‘So you’re the crumb who’s trying to muscle in on my territory,’ barked Hammer. Brand, quaking, was nervously anticipating the .38 in Hammer’s hand barking next. How had he gotten in so deep? All he’d wanted was directions to the florist. He made another attempt to explain.
‘C-can you give me---’ And that was as far as he got.
‘Shut up! I’m giving you nothing!’ Hammer moved behind his desk, opened the bottom drawer and took a slug of whatever was in the bottle.
Brand hoped that the next slug didn’t come from the .38, but he had no chance to react, for just then the office door flew open and a busty blonde sashayed in and perched herself on top of the desk.
Brand forgot his terror for just a moment as he gawped. It was just like in the movies! As the doll opened her mouth to speak, Brand closed his eyes and expected a high-pitched, alluring voice. He was rudely jolted back to reality by a cracked contralto which said, ‘What’s the big idea, dragging me down here at the crack of dawn?’
Hammer growled, ‘Nobody dragged you noplace, sister. Now sit down and clam up! I have some unfinished business with this hired gun from Chi.’
This is it, Brand thought. In an instant, several scenarios rushed through Brand’s mind. Should he beg and plead for his life? Dash for the door? Fake a fainting spell? Wait a minute! Hired gun? But now the bombshell was skating across the seedy office to where Brand was cowering. ‘What about you, handsome?,’ she purred. Brand croaked, ‘W-what about m--’
Then Hammer spoke. ‘Listen, mac, I don’t take kindly to strangers barging in here and trying to take over. Speak your piece before I ventilate you.’
Before Brand could reply, the door slammed open and a force of nature came storming in. A little old lady right out of Central Casting, no more than five feet tall, blue hair, wrinkles, the works. She stalked up to Hammer, grabbed him by the ear and shouted, ‘Look at you! Loose women, demon rum, guns! Didn’t I teach you better than that? Just you wait until I get you home!’ Then she grabbed Hammer by the ear, twisted it, and commenced to drag him across the room. Hammer whined, ‘But Ma--’
‘But Ma nothing! This is the last straw, I tell you! You are grounded for six months! The nerve, carrying on this way!’
She was still yelling at the private eye as she shoved him out the door, and all Brand and the bombshell could do was stare in disbelief. Finally Brand hoisted the bottle and spoke.
Come on over and check out some of our Spillane titles and lose yourself in a world of broads, gats, yeggs, and slugs--from a bottle, a fist, and a gun!
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