- Publisher: MacMillan Publishing Company. (April 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0816155569
- ISBN-13: 978-0816155569
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,333,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Twisted Thing Hardcover – April, 1994
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The story starts with strong and continues strong all the way throughout. At the beginning, Hammer is just driving along, minding his own business, when he "heard the screams through the thin mist of the night and kicked the car to a stop at the curb." He finds a hysterical child sitting in a pile of rubble and then sees what the kid was screaming about: "the mutilated body of what had been a redheaded woman. At one time she had been beautiful, but death had erased all that." "She had been in her later twenties, but now time had ended for her. She lay there on her back, naked except for the remnants of a brilliant green negligee that was still belted around her waist. Her breasts were poised in some weird, rigid defiance, her long tapered legs coiled serpentine-like in the throes of death." "Half-opened eyes had looked into some nameless terror before sight left them and her mouth was still frozen in a silent scream of pain." There are few writers alive or dead who can open a book with such a description. Spillane does and he does it well. Within pages, the reader is deep in the action, wanting to know what happened to the lady and how Hammer is going to deal with it. Of course finding bodies is nothing new for Hammer.
This is a good, solid detective story with Hammer working to ferret out the clues as to what happened to the redhead in the green negligee as more bodies start popping up. The usual Hammer associates are found in this book.Read more ›
Old NYPD crony Pat Chambers makes only a brief appearance (there is another compliant cop to serve as Hammer’s legal shield and deus ex machina) and supposed fiancee Velda none at all. Hammer’s conflict with Chambers over Velda, a huge component of The Girl Hunters and still festering somewhat in The Snake, is only hinted at in one line here. On the other hand, Hammer does refer (without elaboration) to the startling conclusion of Spillane’s first Hammer novel, I the Jury, which cemented both Hammer’s reputation as a borderline psychopath and Spillane’s as a writer willing to do anything to make a splash.
Otherwise, The Twisted Thing is pretty much a Hammer standalone novel, which is fine. It is vintage Spillane with its tough guy talk (like all Hammer—and Mann—books, it is narrated in first person), convoluted mystery, convenient clues, plot-advancing coincidences and stupendously preposterous conclusion. The story starts with Hammer’s investigation of the kidnapping of a rich scientist’s 14-year-old son, which soon leads to a number of murders (including one with a meat cleaver), all of which takes place in the small Upstate New York town of Sidon. Along the way Hammer deals with crooked (and murderous) local cops, a lusty dame or two and even some lesbians. Of course he gets knocked around a time or two but always comes up swinging.Read more ›
The Hammer of The Body Lovers (and the previous one, The Twisted Thing) is more a traditional crime investigator than the angel of vengeance he is in many of the early books, and I like him much better in this guise. The plot is also more interesting in this kind of book with the innate interest factor of the murder mystery driving the narrative. In the vengeance driven books, Hammer comes off as more of a lunatic loose cannon and the plots tend to be repetitive. Plus, Spillane's apparent inability to flesh out his character from his original one-dimensionality isn't as much of a problem when the story is plot—rather than character—driven.
Unfortunately, Spillane was near the end of his Hammer books at this point, with only Survival…Zero yet to come until he revived the character one more time in the late 1990s for a couple of final installments (several others were finished from Spillane’s manuscripts and published after his death).
If you like hard boiled crime novels of the old school, The Body Lovers would be a good choice.
The book opens in typical Spillane fancy talk: “The little guy’s face was a bloody mess. Between the puffballs of blue-black flesh that used to be eyelids, the dull gleam of shock-deadened pupils watched Dilwick uncomprehendingly. His lips were swollen things of lacerated skin, with slow trickles of blood making crooked paths from the corners of his mouth through the stubble of a beard to his chin, dripping onto a stained shirt.” Wow. What amazingly descriptive prose. There are few writers even today who could take the time and effort to so carefully describe a beating in the back of a police station.
The characters in this book include a boy genius, a crooked smalltown cop, a man-woman, an ex-stripper hired to watch over the boy genius, and the rich man’s family which included Alice Nichols, the nymphomaniac, who had “deep brown eyes that kissed mine so hard I nearly lost my balance. She swept them up and down the full length of me.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Twisted Thing
Four men are beating a man to get a confession. Dilwick was the dirtiest cop known. Mike Hammer is a match for him. Read more
The Body Lovers
Mike hears a child’s scream from the site of a torn-down building. An eight-year old boy found the body of a woman! Mike called the police. Read more