Review: 'Dead Street' by Mickey Spillane

Cover of Dead Street by Mickey Spillane and Max Alan CollinsThis Mickey Spillane novel was finished after his death by his friend and fellow crime novelist Max Alan Collins. It was part of the early rollout of Hard Case Crime, a fun imprint of pulp mysteries and hard-boiled crime fiction with charmingly lurid cover art. The story's a brisk read with the cynicism and Chandleresque patter one expects from a writer like Spillane, but the plot feels like something that wasn't fully baked yet.

Retired New York police detective Jack Stang moves to Florida, right next door to the love of his life 20 years after she was believed dead following her kidnapping by mobsters. This is no coincidence, but instead the first in a set of events set into motion that lead to a widening conspiracy involving national security, old mobsters, and old cops. You'll never read a novel where a man who thought his true love was murdered, and a woman who has developed blindness and amnesia to forget him entirely, pick things up more easily. Perhaps I'm conditioned by soap operas to expect a reunion like this to play big, but Spillane and Collins make it seem as mundane as a pair of high school sweethearts running into each other again at their 20-year reunion.

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