Collins had a long-standing friendship with Spillane and that partnership has resulted in some fantastic collaborations. This manuscript was one that was given to Collins, by his friend, for safekeeping. In the introduction, Collins writes that the story is set in 1964 and is, a followup to 1961’s “The Girl Hunters”
Interestingly enough, I hadn’t read “The Girl Hunters” but I had no trouble following along with the plot. Mike Hammer is always Mike Hammer, especially when co-authored by two great voices of Crime Fiction.
In a bit of a reverse twist, the novel opens with Mike Hammer facing a government panel of sorts. He’s in trouble, it seems, which is a pretty normal situation for him. This time, in the midst of the cold war, Mike Hammer has stumbled into a bit of a mess. He’s made a daring and dangerous escape from Russian and left a trail of dead bodies behind him.
The infamous, Mike Hammer, begins to talk through what happened on his ill-fated trip abroad. It all started when Hammer took a job as a bodyguard for a senator and accompanied him to Russia. It doesn’t take very long for trouble to find the well-known private eye. After his friendly and seductive Russian guide disappears, Hammer finds himself in custody at a prison like facility. Then begins his escape.
The international incident has brought a lot of attention down on Mike Hammer; but why is he at the center of the storm? That, my friends, is the question of the novel.
This is crime fiction at its finest. There’s an intriguing plot full of twists and ‘double agents’, there are glorious and sexy ‘dames’, and Mike Hammer unapologetically battling his way through his captors toward the truth.
Official description: Hammer accompanies a conservative politician to Moscow on a fact-finding mission. While there, he is arrested by the KGB on a bogus charge, and imprisoned; but he quickly escapes, creating an international incident by getting into a fire fight with Russian agents.
On his stateside return, the government is none too happy with Mr. Hammer. Russia is insisting upon his return to stand charges, and various government agencies are following him. A question dogs our hero: why him? Why does Russia want him back, and why (as evidence increasingly indicates) was he singled out to accompany the senator to Russia in the first place?