For March, our Murder in the Afternoon book club will celebrate the month that marks the hundredth year of hard boiled writer Mickey Spillane’s birth. With the creation of tough guy detective Mike Hammer, Spillane launched the paperback boom that gave us a new generation of great genre writers. We will be discussing his fourth Hammer book, One Lonely Night.
The story begins with Mike walking along the bridge on a rainy night after a judge has read him the Riot Act about his tactics. A woman runs toward him, chased by a gunman. He shoots the man down, but frightens the woman so much, she jumps off the bridge. Out of a mix of guilt and blood lust, he tracks down those responsible in a back alley trail of politicians and (this being the 1950s) communists.
There will be a lot to talk about with One Lonely Night — how Spillane reacted to his critics, Hammer’s relationship with violence, and genre fiction in the age of the Red Scare. We will also be showing a documentary, Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane, directed by friend and fellow writer Max Allan Collins, featuring authors like Lawrence Block, Sara Paretsky, and Walter Mosely.
We will meet on BookPeople’s third floor at 1 p.m. on Monday, March 19. Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer Volume 2 (which contains One Lonely Night) is 10% off to those who plan to attend!
— Scott M.