I’m not an author, I’m a writer, that’s all I am. Authors want their names down in history; I want to keep the smoke coming out of the chimney.
As I have said before, working on my Smith-Corona Super-Speed has re-awakened my interest in Mickey Spillane. This week I re-read One Lonely Night, Spillane’s fourth novel and his first to take on the Red Menace.
Published in 1951, One Lonely Night is the story of Mike Hammer investigating the death of a young woman so terrorized by communist spies that she jumps off a bridge rather than let Hammer save her. Hammer the alienated, avenging angel must do what the cops and the government cannot do.
The opening paragraphs of One Lonely Night are pure Spillane. They are hard-boiled beauty.
While Spillane always claimed to have no artistic aspirations as a writer, I would argue that only a true artist could write some of the lines that he wrote. He was a poet of the lonely streets.
Here are the opening paragraphs of One Lonely Night as well as some great poetic lines from My Gun is Quick and Vengeance is Mine. Read them and tell me who you think is a better poet of the lonely streets than Spillane.