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Something's Down There: A Novel [Hardcover]

Mickey Spillane
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 2 2003

The master of hard-boiled detective fiction is back -- and better than ever -- with Something's Down There, a blade-sharp thriller set among the islands of the Caribbean.

To the casual observer, Mako Hooker looks like any other grizzled fishing-boat captain trawling the Bermuda Triangle. He's content with his nets in the water and a beer in the cooler, but he's hardly your typical fisherman. Hooker is in fact a retired government operative taking a much-needed respite from his highly secret, highly lethal career in the States. But when local fishermen begin to fall prey to a mysterious sea creature the islanders dub "the eater," he discovers the truth in that old saw about the spy game: You're not retired from the Company until you're dead.

Is the monster a prehistoric beast rising from the depths? Or mines from a sunken WWII destroyer, only now shaken loose by the U.S. Navy's depth charges? Or the work of someone with an agenda even more deeply undercover than Hooker's?

Hooker quietly begins to investigate with the help of his unwitting fishing partner, Billy Bright; a local movie heiress, the seductive Judy Durant; and Hooker's old nemesis, Chana Sterling. The Company sent her as backup, but Hooker doesn't trust power-hungry government agents too far -- especially Chana, who once put a bullet in him for no good reason. As more boats are mauled and the islanders begin to panic, the action heats up and the players multiply: a Hollywood film company arrives on the scene, eager to turn live footage of "the eater" into box-office payoff, and the heavyweight film executive in charge looks suspiciously like Tony Pallatzo, a Brooklyn mobster from Hooker's violent past. As he moves steadily closer to the truth, Hooker realizes that someone (or something) is plotting to stop him, and only his rusty instincts will save him this time.

A riveting story of criminal intrigue, greed, romance, and the mysteries of the deep, Something's Down There showcases Mickey Spillane at his best.

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From Amazon

From Mickey Spillane, the hardest-boiled of detective writers, comes ... a sea story? Surprising but true, and a fun yarn it is. Mako Hooker is enjoying retirement from a life of lethal undercover work, fishing the days away on the remote Caribbean island of Peolle. But his idyll is shattered by the "eater"--an unknown presence in the deep water that bites the bottoms out of boats. As the attacks intensify, the outside world converges on Peolle: the media, a Hollywood film company, and some of Hooker's old colleagues from the Company, one of whom once put a bullet in him. As the intrigue thickens and the action gets nasty, Hooker reluctantly reactivates his old "kill or be killed" skills while trying to solve the riddle of the eater and kindling a romance with a beautiful heiress from a neighboring island.

Spillane published his first Mike Hammer novel in 1947, and though his pace has slowed, he has continued to publish into his 80s. Here, his touch here falters at times, with phrasing or pacing that seem off kilter. But the prose is often vigorous, the characters are well-drawn, the settings are vividly evoked, and the plot contains more angles than a geometry test--capped by an ingenious solution to the central mystery. Something's Down There is a pleasing concoction from a storied writer. --Nicholas H. Allison

From Publishers Weekly

Eighty-five-year-old Spillane (I, the Jury; Erection Set; Tomorrow I Die) shows little evidence of advanced age in this entertaining island adventure featuring ex-spook Mako Hooker and his Carib fishing partner, Billy Bright. Mako, retired on remote Peolle Island, devotes himself to drinking Miller Lite, fishing and boating, but he soon learns what aficionados of spy fiction already know well: you never really retire from the Company. Trouble arises on several fronts: a malevolent leviathan of unknown species begins slashing huge chunks out of the bottoms of fishing boats, and still-functioning WWII-era mines from sunken ships appear on the surface of the ocean, prompting the U.S. government to send in a team of agents and re-activate Hooker. Also in on the fun is ex-mobster Tony Pallatzo, now known as Anthony Pell, the head of a movie unit determined to capture the sea-dwelling monster on film, and lovely agent Chana, an old enemy against whom Hooker still holds a grudge: "for a second he wished he had been packing his .45 and the piece was in his hand with the hammer back so he could turn and shoot her guts right out of her beautiful belly and it would finally be all over with for all time." In Spillane's world, men still call women kiddo and baby and refer to each other as pals and buddies. True to his tough-guy heritage, Mako slays the dragon, finds himself a beautiful dame in the process and receives his just reward: "Muscles in her stomach rippled against his hands, saying quiet things that he could hardly believe." Classic Spillane.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
3.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-Plotted Suspense!!!!! May 14 2004
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Forget that Mickey Spillane wrote this novel, and forget that you have ever read about Mike Hammer . . . because this is not a Mike Hammer story. If you are willing to do those things, you have an enjoyable story ahead of you.
Many people forget or never knew that Mickey Spillane helped write Captain Marvel and Captain America comic books before launching his Mike Hammer books. To me, Something's Down There harkens back to those origins.
Mako Hooker is a retired lethal operative for the Company. Now he spends his days kicking back on his vintage fishing boat and trying to keep his mate, Billy Bright, from calling him "Suh." They fish to eat what they catch, and generally enjoy a Miller Lite or two as they do. Billy's gradually introducing Mako to the delights of island cuisine in the process.
This tranquility is broken when many local fishing boats are sunk by something large that "eats" through the bottom of their hulls. Life gets even more complicated when former colleagues from the Company arrive to find out more about what's going on. Chana Sterling in particular is not welcome, having once shot Mako. Then, leftover mines start showing up on the beach.
But there's a positive side. Billy's helped arrange for Mako to meet a beautiful heiress, Judy Durant, and Mako's soon smitten. But Judy comes with complications too. Her father was killed mysteriously, and her father's former partners run the family businesses without any say-so from her. One of the CEOs is a man Mako recognizes as a Brooklyn mobster, Tony Pallatzo, who Mako knows to be a bad guy. Mako's soon watching his back.
One of the great parts of the story is that the suspense builds remarkably as more and more discoveries are made about the "eater.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A superior effort from an acknowledged master. March 19 2004
After leaving "the Company," Mako Hooker retired to the remote Caribbean island of Peolle, where he spends his days fishing aboard his boat, the Clamdip. His brief idyll ends when something starts attacking and sinking boats in the region, part of the mysterious Bermuda Triangle. The locals blame a sea creature, dubbing it "the Eater." Although Mako's seen the damage wreaked first hand, he hasn't come to any conclusion regarding the attacks.
The attacks draw the attention of the Company, and, before you can say "intrigue", Hooker is once again forced to rely on skills and instincts he happily suppressed upon retiring from the spy game. Trying to uncover the source of the mayhem, his investigations are complicated by the presence of aggressive Company operatives, an opportunistic Hollywood film crew, and a budding romance with a sultry heiress.
A successful author for over half a century now, Spillane still knows how to grab and hold a reader's attention--at eighty-five, his story telling skills remain undiminished. Sure, a few anachronisms creep in, and Mako is little more than a Mike Hammer/Tiger Mann hybrid, but those quibbles are easily ignored considering the story's brisk pacing, non stop action and colorful characters. In the final analysis, the book delivers all we've come to expect from a Mickey Spillane novel over the decades--plentiful action, riveting suspense, and a competent, tough hero who can take whatever his enemies have to throw at him. An explosive tale of intrigue and espionage, loyalty and betrayal, Something's Down There is a superior effort from an acknowledged master of mystery and suspense.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but flawed story Jan. 11 2004
Aging cold warrior Mako Hooker has retired to the islands where he fishes and doesn't do much else. But rumors of a boat killer are starting to mount and the Company,' anxious to pick up political favors, sends a team into the area to find out whether the long extinct mega-shark has emerged. Because Mako has seen the six-inch broad bite marks that the killer has left. Along with the Company team, a cruise ship filled with millionaires and a Hollywood filming team are in the area.
Mako's friend and boat captain pushes Maco into a relationship with be beautiful millionaire Judy (a.k.a. 'Doll'). That is the good news. The bad news is that the woman on the Company team is gunning for a chance to kill Maco and one of the Hollywood men is a Mafiosa. The Mafiosa may be playing legitimate now, but Mako knows that it's only a matter of time before he decides to go for illegal profits. A number of suspicious deaths in his past make Mako even more suspicious.
Author Mickey Spillane has been writing hard-boiled action for more than half a century and he can still turn out captivating action. Still, SOMETHING'S DOWN THERE didn't seem quite put together. I wasn't clear why the Mafiosa had to be there and what illegal objective he was seeking that even a legitimate Hollywood manager (if there is such a thing) wouldn't be doing. The boat-killer is an intriguing concept but was perhaps too easy to guess and its final resolution seemed unsatisfactory to me. And the relationship between Mako and Judy seemed just a little too sexist for me to buy into. Finally, Spillane's characters occasionally date themselves, talking about World War II as if it was a recent event and as if veterans of that war were still active in espionage.
SOMETHING'S DOWN THERE is flawed, but it is still interesting and occasionally compelling. Spillane maintains a way with words even in a story that is not his best.
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