RARA-AVIS: Re: Something's Down There

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 09 Oct 2003

Vern Smith (via Kerry) says:

>All right, I confess. After giving up on Mickey Spillane's last two novels
>- - The Killing Man and Black Alley - I started thinking the so-called Grand
>Master of Mystery had lost his edge. But stop the presses on this literary
>obit already.
>Now, while others will rush to proclaim as much, I'm not saying Something's
>Down There is Spillane's best. His 1947 debut, I, the Jury, remains one of
>the finest crime books ever, and a damn tough act to follow. That said,
>this new one is just as tough to compare to the rest of the catalogue.

Sheesh. Although I too saw the echoes of Benchley and Hemingway, I thought Spillane's latest was, well, pretty uneven, and at times extremely dated. It's almost as if it was shoved in a back drawer back in the fifties, and dragged out recently, given a brief, uneven updating (Commies? DVDs but no cellphones?) and released in time for the holiday buying season.

It's not a horrible book, and it's not going to ruin his reputation or anything, but it won't greatly enhance it, either. Maybe what Spillane needed in this one was actually more comic book action, not less. Instead I found it all rather subdued; edgeless if you will, for someone who used to write with such venom and passion. A shaggy dog story with a slightly fishy smell. Hammer was at times almost psychotic; the hero here seems more like just a grumpy old man.

Which is fine -- it's just that I wasn't expecting this relatively light-hearted adventure yarn.

Still, it's good to have the Mick back, and it's nice to hear Vern's still out there, too. Kerry, get him to join the list.


Kevin -- # Plain ASCII text only, please. Anything else won't show up. # To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to # majordomo@icomm.ca. This will not work for the digest version. # The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

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