Re: RARA-AVIS: Mike Hammer's strength and heroism

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 25 May 2004

<<The critic's demand for a noble knight errant is an arbitrary requirement that has more to do with current fashion than it does with good writing.>>

I don't think the criticisms of Spillane had (or have) to do with the lack of noble knight errant, but with the psychological shallowness of his characters.

While I admire him as a technical writer of violent scenes, I do find him shallow. In a short story I gladly put up with shallow or dubious psychology if there are compensations, but in a novel I find it intolerable. That is why Spillane doesnt's grip me (and why I don't read him anymore). If you don't believe in a writer's characters, the rest --including brilliant action scenes-- is immaterial.

By the way, the much-maligned Bellem (whose work I've been rereading with great intereset) did a far better job of characterization than Spillane.



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