Listened: Kiss Her Goodbye by Mickey Spillane and Max Alan Collins, 2011, Overdrive.com download.
Hammer has been hiding and recuperating in Florida after being seriously wounded in a mob shoot-out. That shoot-out left a mob boss's son dead from Hammer's .45. Hammer gave Velda the harsh brush-off for fear that her hanging around his hospital bed would get her killed. Pat Chambers finds Hammer sends word that their former colleague and mentor Inspector Doolan has died. Hammer hats his heads and goes north to 1979(ish) Manhattan.
Doolan killed himself after a fatal cancer diagnosis. Hammer does not believe Doolan would do that. Pat Chambers lays out all the evidence showing Doolan killed himself. Hammer attends the funeral, meets the mobsters who show up at the visitation, puts a Browning pistol in Doolan's casket, witnesses a murder mugging up the street from the funeral home. Hammer is Hammer and he starts poking around in Doolan's and the mugging victim's background.
Hammer sees things that don't match up. Doolan made enemies as a Police Officer and after retirement worked to clean-up a crime riddled neighborhood. Doolan was also running some private investigations. One of those investigations was at a Studio 54 stand-in. A mobster's son runs the Studio 54 Stand-In but says he is legit. A South American singer named Chrome is a beauty and smiles at Hammer.
Things happen. Someone tries to kill Hammer in a hit-and-run but kills a prostitute instead. An assassin steals into Hammer's hotel room. Public sex and cocaine love at Studio 54 Stand-In. Hammer sex with Assistant District Attorney. Chrome works to seduce Hammer. Hammer wears a hat. Hammer was gone for only a year but everything in NYC seems different. Hammer has also changed and is fighting post-shooting pain and stiffness.
1. Of all the Hammer novels I've read or listened to (and there are plenty more left) I think this one would be most adaptable to a film version. Hammer is reintroducing himself, and us, to New York. his friends and allies and enemies. This has the usual mix of action, cogitation and sex along with Hammer's worry and wanting for missing Velda.
2. Christa Faust recently commented online how she sick she is of tv and movie scenes set in night clubs with characters hunting and chasing each other through crowds of gyrating
people under flashing lights. Hammer visits the Studio 54 stand-in and does not approve of the sex and drugs. Hammer is never confused about what he believes and why he acts but others don't understand his reasoning on sex, drugs, and violence.
3. The brief Foreword on this one says that Collins combined two manuscripts and wrote everything together. The novel is dedicated to Stacey Keach. It's weird listening to Stacey Keach read a dedication to Stacey Keach.
4. Hammer visits a the mobster who sent the hotel room assassin. Hammer is looking for information and, maybe, a truce. Things don't turn out that way and Hammer goes on a killing spree with his .45 and battlefield pick-up M3 submachine gun. Velda later says he killed 24 people. Not very believable but fun to listen to and there is a nicely done section where Hammer is hammering away with his gun and has a flashback to the war in the Pacific.
5. That flashback felt more Collins than Hammer, it reminded me of Heller.
6. Hammer biography note. I wondered what the timeline was for police and Army. Hammer mentions he lied about his age to join the Army and then joined the PD after discharge. He lasted a couple years with the NYPD until he quit the job. Doolan knew Hammer was not right for police work and helped push Hammer out. Hammer knew Doolan did this and accepted that Doolan was right about Hammer's personality and methods.