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Kiss Her Goodbye: An Otto Penzler Book (Mike Hammer Novels) Hardcover – May 25, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews
Book 17 of 16 in the Mike Hammer Series

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Editorial Reviews


"The violent death of his old cop mentor calls Mike Hammer back to New York and more of the same death-dealing intrigue he first made his specialty in I, the Jury 64 years ago.

According to Capt. Pat Chambers, all the evidence indicates that Insp. Bill Doolan, retired and facing the end stages of cancer, shot himself in the heart. But Mike (The Big Bang, 2010, etc.) isn’t buying it, and it’s not long before new evidence bears him out. A waitress is killed in a senseless mugging only a few blocks from Doolan’s funeral. A friendly hooker who has dinner with Mike is struck by a hit-and-run driver who was obviously aiming for her companion. The waitress’s ex-boyfriend, who supposedly left town years ago, turns up dead. What can an aging private eye do? "I was older. I was jaded. I was retired," reflects Mike. "But I was still Mike Hammer." Naturally, he’s lionized by everyone in the Big Apple, from rookie Congressman Alex Jaynor to kinky ADA Angela Marshall to reformed crime-family scion Anthony ("don’t call me Little Tony") Tretriano, to hot Latina chanteuse Chrome, who sings in Anthony’s club, to Alberto Bonetti, the druglord whose son Sal Mike killed in self-defense. Sal will be followed into the great beyond by over two dozen souls, most of them sent hither by Mike.

Working from an unfinished novel by the late Spillane, Collins provides the franchise’s trademark winking salacity, self-congratulatory vigilantism and sadistic violence, topped off with a climax that combines the final scenes of two of Mike’s most celebrated cases." --Kirkus Reviews

Book Description

HMH Hardcover
Previous ISBN 978-0-15-101460-6
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Mike Hammer Novels
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; First Edition edition (May 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151014604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151014606
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,504,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By enubrius VINE VOICE on March 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's probably hard for anyone born after, let's arbitrarily say, the Viet Nam era, to believe, but Mickey Spillane was once considered the most violent writer in America. Moreover, his books were considered borderline pornography for his "graphic" sex scenes. Do I need to add that, for a time in the mid 60s, or thereabouts, his books outsold all other titles in the world, except for the Bible!
What no one (at least of the literati) EVER said about him, in life, or after his passing, was that he was a good writer. Well, maybe he wasn't. But he was certainly one of the most influential writers of his generation.
All due credit to the influences of Hammett and Chandler, but, for every "hard-boiled" writer in their tradition, there are 5 in the Spillane tradition. Moreover, while Hammett was a frail consumptive reliving his past, and Chandler was an Anglophile snob, Spillane LIVED his Mike Hammer persona pretty much until his death in 2006 at age 88.
And, he had a hard core of believers who treasured his writing even when the mass market had, mostly, turned to other, more "modern" writers.
One of those was/is Max Allan Collins, no slouch himself in the writing department. Collins' passionate championing of Spillane was more than just lip service and so, when Spillane knew his time was almost up, he asked that Collins take on some of his unfinished works and continue the tradition.
"Kiss Her Goodbye" is the third work that Collins has taken on, after "The Goliath Bone" and "The Big Bang", and like its predecessors, this latest, which, for those who need to know the plot... never Spillane's strongest point... concerns Mike Hammer coming back to New York (after the events of "...Bang") and getting involved in the "suicide" of an old friend that, "just doesn't feel right".
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Hey, I remember when I,THE JURY first appeared, and I was one of those thoroughly captivated by the Mike Hammer character. In fact, I satirizewd the Spillane style in a piece I wrote for San Jose State College's LYKE literary magazine, naming my character "Sludge Hammer". This was around 1953.

So it's great to see Mike still around even after his creator's death. But alas, we can't really call this good writing. That's not to say that one won't enjoy it though. Don't look for credibility and you won't be disappointed. And don't try to keep count of the dead bodies in this.

I will say that this is inspiring me to look up the old Mike Hammers and re-read them.
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Format: Hardcover
Mickey Spillane was a master of the noir title: My Gun Is Quick remains my favorite, but almost equally high on my list of stellar titles are I, the Jury; The Big Kill; and Kiss Me, Deadly. Kiss Her Goodbye just doesn't have the same danger-laden pizzazz. Its subdued title notwithstanding, the novel feels very much like a Mike Hammer story: edgy, violent, fast-paced and action-filled.

Hammer was always a bit too self-righteous for my taste, too given to seeing himself as an avenging instrument of justice and too frequently indulging in rants against the many categories of people he believes the world would be better off without. Although it's been years since I last read a Hammer novel, the latest installment depicts a somewhat more introspective Mike Hammer than the one I remember. I wouldn't say he's mellowed; he doesn't kill anyone until about two-thirds of the way through the novel but the body count rises dramatically as the novel nears its end (particularly when Hammer tells us he "passed the grease gun across a sea of faces and turned them scarlet and screaming"). Still, Hammer engages in less moralizing than he did in some of the earlier novels and his misogynistic opinions are a bit more muted (both of those changes are improvements, in my view). Plots in a few Hammer novels seem like an excuse for Hammer to go on a rampage, dispensing street justice with his .44.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Shortly before his death, Mickey Spillane told his wife Jane, "When I'm gone, there's going to be a treasure hunt around here. Take everything you find and give it to Max (Allan Collins)_he'll know what to do."
And boy, does he. Without a doubt, Kiss Her Goodbye is my favorite so far of the new Mike Hammer novels written by Spillane and Collins . In the introduction Collins explains that he wrote the book by combining, shaping, and expanding two of Spillane's partial manuscripts from the 1970s. The result is very impressive.
This one begins with Mike Hammer in Florida recuperating from wounds received in a shootout with some New York mob boys. His old friend Pat Chambers calls to let Hammer know that another old friend, an ex-cop Hammer considered his mentor during his own short time on the NYPD, has apparently committed suicide. Hammer heads north for the funeral, but in his gut he doesn't believe that his friend killed himself. Shortly after the funeral a young woman's body is discovered close enough to the funeral home to make Mike wonder if there may be some connection to what he feels is a faked suicide. As Hammer investigates he finds more questions than answers and begins to realize that there is some much larger game afoot behind the two deaths.
I think Collins made a wise decision to leave this book set in the time period it was intended for rather than updating it. Hammer plows his way through the 1970s, visiting a celebrity hotspot Disco molded after Studio 54 and fitting in about as well as you would expect. I grew up in the 70s, which may be one reason I like this book as much as I do.
Kiss Her Goodbye is interesting in that early on Hammer isn't quite the self confident mayhem machine readers are familiar with.
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