Home » The Business of Writing » Mickey Spillane’s Work Keeps Coming, 12 Years After His Death

Mickey Spillane’s Work Keeps Coming, 12 Years After His Death

2 March 2018

From The Wall Street Journal:

Mickey Spillane was never adored by critics. He famously said that his own father called his work “crud.” For the mystery novelist, none of it mattered.

“I don’t have fans,” he said in a 1981 People magazine interview. “I have customers. I’m a writer. I give ’em what they wanna read.”

He died in 2006 at 88, but his work hasn’t stopped. In the past 12 years, his estate has released nearly 20 of his unpublished and previously uncompleted novels and short stories, some as graphic novels and audio plays, many of them featuring the hard-boiled private eye he created, Mike Hammer.

“Killing Town,” begun in 1946 and hailed as Spillane’s first but previously unpublished novel, is due out in April. “The Last Stand,” believed to be his final completed work, is expected next month along with another unpublished work, “A Bullet for Satisfaction,” around his 100th birthday on March 9.

This afterlife is due largely to a longtime fan and fellow novelist, Max Allan Collins. Named a 2017 Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, Mr. Collins as a teenager pelted his favorite author with admiring (and unanswered) letters.

. . . .

“We were very different,” said Mr. Collins, 69, from his home in Muscatine, Iowa. “I’m a Democrat. He was to the right of Attila the Hun.”

A friendship nonetheless ensued, and Spillane designated Mr. Collins as his literary executor.

“Give everything to Max,” he told his wife, Jane, Mr. Collins recalled. “He’ll know what to do.”

Ever since Spillane’s death, Mr. Collins has been sorting, assessing, editing and often completing the thousands of pages that Spillane kept in plastic storage tubs at his house in Murrells Inlet, S.C.

“I’ve been doing this since 2006, and I still have a full file drawer of material,” Mr. Collins said. “He called me his wastebasket.”

. . . .

Spillane’s enduring popularity is largely a matter of simplicity, Mr. Traylor said. “It’s not very highbrow, but it’s very real. It’s very Old Testament. It’s eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.”

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal

The Business of Writing

2 Comments to “Mickey Spillane’s Work Keeps Coming, 12 Years After His Death”

  1. He was a hack. So what. I bought his stuff because I liked it.

  2. Good. It’s high time Spillane was recognized for the talented writer he truly was. Who could match him in telling a tale in the first person pov?

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.