Thursday, April 30, 2015

Another Listen: "Dead Street" by Mickey Spillane

Another Listen: Dead Street by Mickey Spillane, 2006, Overdrive download.

Spillane's last mostly full book that he was still working on until his death. Hard Case Crime picked up the novel and Max Allan Collins - as always - took on finishing off any rough edges. Reading and listening to these Spillane books is always enjoyable but, more and more, I get interested in hearing Collins's stories about Spillane and fixing up the manuscripts that Spillane left for him. If I remember correctly Collins had to finish the ending using Spillane's notes.

Collins idolized Spillane's writing starting back in 1961 when Collins was 13-years-old.  That Spillane turned out to be a nice man in person, was supportive of Collins, and became a collaborator makes for a great story on it's own.

Retired NYPD cop Jack "Shooter" Stang is asked to meet with a veterinarian from Staten Island. The vet tells a tale: 20 years ago the vet's vet father found a young woman washed up on the waterfront. Dad took her to his vet clinic across the street and found out the woman had no memory and was now blind. The dad reads in the paper how a woman wanted by the mob was kidnapped, stuck in a car trunk, and the car went into the drink after Stang chased the car. Dad figures, "This woman is in danger, I'm keeping quiet and I'm going to take care of her."  Twenty years later Dad dies and Son, now a veterinarian himself, comes to tell Stang what happened.

Stang, you see, was engaged to the woman, Bettie. Stang never got over her presumed death. Bettie is living in a Florida retirement town intended for retired policemen and firemen. There is suspicion that Bettie is still in deadly danger of dastardly dudes. Bettie had seen something 20 years ago at her computer firm that archived records. That something must have been evidence against the mob. Son the Vet says Dad the Vet bought a house next to Bettie's and the house is in Stang's name. Stang heads South. Stang tries to find out what threatens Bettie.

Things happen. Stang packs heat. Stang shoots people in the head. Stang looks for a link between Bettie and the mob. Stang finds a link between a 20 year old Plutonium theft and the mob. Are terrorists after the Plutonium? Stang unravels the threads. Stang has anger control issues. Stang is old and retired but starting to feel young again with the 42-year-old Bettie.

1. 1911 love.
2. Filthy and declining NY neighborhood love.
3. Tough guy talk.
4. Tough guy action.
5. It's a Spillane novel so Bettie is also known as Babe, Doll, and Kitten.
6. Greyhound dog!
7. You can tell that Spillane knew bupkis about computers and technology.

No comments: