I, the Jury

I, the Jury



The Pequod Review:

Mickey Spillane (1918-2006) seems to be sliding into obscurity today, but he was a detective novelist of enormous popularity from the late 1940s through the 1960s. As recently as 1980, an astonishing seven of the top fifteen all-time bestselling *fiction* titles (not merely mystery titles) were Spillane books. It’s easy to see why: his novels are simple private eye mysteries, with clearly defined good guys and bad guys, and are written in a spare and muscular prose. His dialogue is often ridiculous in its over-the-top masculinity, and even Spillane himself was derisive of his work (to say nothing of his audience). But he wrote fast and thrilling plots, and a couple of his better books revealed a decent talent for character development. In this book (I, the Jury), Mike Hammer’s best friend is murdered and he promises to hunt down the killer:

Jack, you’re dead now. You can’t hear me anymore. Maybe you can. I hope so. I want you to hear what I’m about to say. You’ve known me a long time, Jack. My word is good just as long as I live. I’m going to get the louse that killed you. He won’t sit in the chair. He won’t hang. He will die exactly as you died, with a .45 slug in the gut, just a little below the belly button. No matter who it is, Jack, I’ll get the one. Remember, no matter who it is, I promise.