Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hard Boiled - men and women

I've been reading detective yarns as of late. I just finished the third volume of The Mike Hammer Collection.

I liked this one more than the second volume. The writing in the second volume's collection felt forced. Too much hard sex, too much brutal violence, as if it was there just to have it there. I know sex and violence belong in the genre, but it has to have meaning or it loses its place.

Like Robert E. Howard's work, not all of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer stories were published in the order he wrote them. Yet, this book series (the collections I've read) are set up as published in history. I think I would have rather read the stories in the order Spillane originally intended.

Whatever way you cut it, though, I've enjoyed reading all three volumes in this collection and wouldn't mind rereading the first two volumes, again.

I picked up The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps as something to read in order to tide me over for the time being. I've been shopping in book stores and that normally does nothing o depress me. Barnes and Noble may be good enough for the commoner, but for someone who wants more than what the current distributors are pushing hot and heavy, it ain't the place for me. I've just started the book, so no opinions on it, yet.

In the mean time, I'm thinking on new to me hard boiled fiction to read. While cruising the 'net, I came across a quick, nice article on Modesty Blaise, Ms. Tree, and Tara Chace. The article is by a feminist and actually spans three posts. I'm linking to the second post, which begins discussing the characters. The first post discusses the pedigree of the blogger and another that gave a presentation on (strong character) detective females. I've heard of all three of these characters before. I am probably the most familiar with Modesty, but not that much. I do know to skip the 1966 movie, unless I'm watching Our Man Flint and In Like Flint in the same sitting. I'm intrigued by the 2004 release My Name is Modesty: A Modesty Blaise Adventure that was produced overseas. There's also a TV series that I know nothing about.

The article gives me enough info to tease me into wanting to know more about these characters. I've been tempted to pick up something with Modesty in it. I think I will keep an eye out for novels or trades of the original comic series. I much prefer the source material than I do the continuation of the stories following the authors retiring the characters (often the authors' deaths). I am curious to see these depictions of women as hard boiled characters, ready to strike out with guns and quick with the dialogue. If they are half as fun as the characters of Spillane, Chander, or Hammett, the books will be worth the price of admission.

And if all of this has bored you, go check out Inspector Tequila in Hard Boiled


Jim McClain said...

Do yourself a favor and find all of Max Allan Collins' Nate Heller series. True Crime, True Detective, etc. You'll be glad you did.

Derek S. said...

Cool, thanks. I'll add him to the list.

Kaiju said...

I still need to pick up those Mike Hammer volumes.

Great post!

Derek S. said...

You know they're here whenever you decide to borrow them or you can hit up the library.

anarchist said...


Apologies for the off-topic comment, but I couldn't find a contact email for you.

I've recently put out an ebook of my writing, called 'The New Death and others'. It's mostly short stories, with some obvious gamer-interest material. For example I have a story inspired by OD&D elves, as well as poems which retell Robert E Howard's King Kull story 'The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune' and HP Lovecraft's 'Under the Pyramids'.

I was wondering if you'd be interested in doing a review on your blog.

If so, please let me know your email, and what file format is easiest for you, and I'll send you a free copy. You can email me ( or reply to this thread.

You can download a sample from the ebook's page on Smashwords:

I'll also link to your review from my blog.