I was cleaning up the other day and I found this piece of memorabilia. I thought some of my readers might appreciate it.
I know, I know, me being a fan of Spillane doesn’t make much sense. We’re miles apart as far as politics and writing style. But he had a great attitude about writing. He called himself a writer not an author. He considered himself a workman, a mechanic, a guy who performed a service. He felt that if you bought a hotdog it should taste good, and if you bought a book you should be entertained.
Anyway, I used to send the old guy notes, usually on his birthday or at Christmas. One year I sent him a card for his 85th birthday. A couple of weeks later this letter came in the mail.
Imagine my surprise. Here’s a letter from Spillane, in my mailbox, complete with strike-outs and inappropriate language. You can tell that 9-11 had really torched his shorts and they were still smoldering. I could just picture him banging the letter out on that old typewriter of his.
If you’ve never read anything by Spillane I recommend you try One Lonely Night (1951). It’s my favorite — short, intense, gut-wrenching in parts, and a true hard-boiled masterpiece. While trying to thwart a violent communist cell, Mike Hammer wonders if he’s any better than the killers he kills.