MURDER IS MY BUSINESS by Mickey Spillane


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 Collins's new series of hard-boiled anthologies begins snappily with this collection of 17 stories about professional killers. All but one are new, the exception--and the centerpiece of the collection--being nominal coeditor Spillane's 1953 novella ``Everybody's Watching Me.'' This Hammerless tale of a messenger caught between rival gangs and rival cops when he's asked to deliver a death threat from one gang to another is interesting less for Collins's inflated claims about its value than for its uneasy, very characteristic amalgam of sadistic violence and sentimentality. Looking at some of the new stories, you can see how little this basic recipe has changed in 40 years. Lawrence Block, in ``Keller on Horseback,'' lets his hit man get just a little too involved with his latest target; Wayne D. Dundee's ``Hitback'' and Collins's ``Guest Service'' show tough guys going the extra mile for dames in distress; and a bluesy, woozy, elegiac strain of perverted male bonding runs (in order of increasing complexity) through Teri White's ``Runner and the Deathbringer,'' Barry N. Malzberg's ``Improvident Excess,'' Lynn F. Myers Jr.'s ``The Matchstick and the Rubber Band,'' Stephen Mertz's ``The King of Horror,'' and Henry Slesar's ``The Operation.'' Ed Gorman's ``Surrogate'' fizzles into an anecdote no bigger than Edward Wellen's telegraphic three-pager ``A Nice Save,'' and Andrew Greeley (``The Bishop and the Hit Man''), John Lutz (``With Anchovies''), Paul Bishop (``The Man Who Shot Trinity Valance''), and Warren Murphy (``Without a Trace'') deliver sturdy but hardly original performances. Top honors here go to the two stories- -Carolyn Wheat's ``Undercover'' and newcomer Daniel Helpingstine's ``Angel Face''--that mingle tough and tender most grotesquely. A solid collection guaranteed to get your adrenalin flowing, though your brain may remain in neutral.

Pub Date: Dec. 8th, 1994
ISBN: 0-525-93901-6
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1994


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