Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Mike Hammer Omnibus Vol 2

By Mickey Spillane.

Vol 2 contains three novels;
One Lonely Night
The Big Kill

Kiss me Deadly

I keep thinking I'm done with noir and then I keep going back to it, for just one more book. This time it was three books in one and I went back because I'd already read volume one so why the hell not?

Alas, the river is running dry now and I'm more or less done with Mike Hammer. Over the course of six novels the character has increasingly become something strange. Less a detective, and more of a psychotic killer with a license. I don't mind moral ambiguities, but I can't quite see the fun in a protagonist who actually enjoys killing people. The undercurrent of revenge that fuels Mike Hammer novels doesn't justify page after page of the character's ranting obsession with bringing pain and death to his enemies and frankly it gets pretty tedious in the long run.

The stories themselves are poor in quality. Mike Hammer goes up against a variety of antagonists, including Soviet backed Communists, the Mafia and a wide range of disposable thugs, and despite getting captured and tortured almost as often as Mel Gibson, manages to always come back swinging, usually with a couple of beautiful women throwing themselves at him wantonly.

The 'sex' aspect of the novels is probably the strangest. Noir is supposed to be sexy, but there is no actual sex. Mike Hammer kisses a lot of women and acts as if in kissing a woman, he's made love to her, but there is precious little action beyond the occaisional French kiss and whilst I don't demand sexual content, the consistent lack of it in a genre which regards iself as highly sexual is a bit unusual. Perhaps I'm just too much of a European reading an American genre, but like You Tube directs, sexual content is apparently bad, whilst beating human beings to a pulp and enjoying it, is just popular entertainment.

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