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February 12, 2007


Don Z. Block

So here is where Tunis was hiding. Absolutely loved the Tunis books, partly because they used the Brooklyn Dodgers as Roy Tucker's team. The author probably did not have to pay for the privilege of using the name. He certainly would be paying a large fee to the NL LA team today. It was a little disturbing, however, to see another Tunis hero (I think it was young Razzle) playing for the hated Yankees. I found myself rooting against the hero just so the Dodgers would win, and that is definitely not what the author wanted his reader to do. However, I never read a Tunis book that I did not enjoy.

As for Spillane, you can't blame Erasmus for him. A school can do just so much. But this awful writer and person, Mickey Spillane, was the most popular crime fiction writer of them all, outselling even Agatha Christie. Writers like Fritz Leiber would parody him but could never outsell him. The commercial success of Spillane reveals something awful and frightening about the intelligence and sensitivity of this country.

I recall a scene from a Spillane movie where the author himself plays Hammer. In one scene in a waterfront bar, Spillane sits down next to a monstrous thug, throws a bullet onto the table, and tells him to eat it. After a sweatful hesitation, the thug does.

I don't think the scene is played for laughs.

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