Mike Hammer's in bad shape, and no wonder--it's nearly 50 years since his historic debut in I, the Jury, and seven years...

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BLACK ALLEY

Mike Hammer's in bad shape, and no wonder--it's nearly 50 years since his historic debut in I, the Jury, and seven years since his last outing, The Killing Man. This time Mike's exchanged shots with mob scion Azi Ponti, son of Lorenzo Ponti, last of the old dons. And Mike's not the only one who's feeling his age. His old army buddy Marcos Dooley, shot by Azi's surviving brother Ugo, is dying--but before he goes out, he sets Mike on the trail of $89 billion the old don hid away from his sons, and Dooley hid away from everybody. The pointy-heads in Washington want the money; so does Lorenzo; so does Ugo, probably. All Hammer wants is to avenge Dooley and get married to his monumentally patient gift Friday Velda. The treasure hunt could'ye been tossed off by anybody, but only Spillane would have his hero, who's determined to wait for holy matrimony to consummate his nuptials, call his sweetie ""doll"" and ""kitten"" and have her tell him, ""Up yours,"" or people his cast with computer nerds and cops retired from the Prohibition detail and old G.I.s who talk about WW II as if it had ended last week. In fact, trying to figure out where Dooley stashed that cash is much less entertaining than trying to figure out just when this adventure takes place, and how old ageless Hammer and lush Velda, who's still a looker, are. Longtime fans (the only conceivable audience) will find Hammer's quaintly dated narration, compounded equally of sadism and sexual prudery, an archeological treasure worth far more than that measly $89 billion.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 1996

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1996