Mickey Spillane wrote detective novels half a century ago. It's well-known that he was not very well-liked by the literary community. There's a veiled derisive reference to one of his stories in one of the later Philip Marlowe novels. Even after all of this time, Spillane still gets little respect.
This is unfortunate, but this collection goes some way towards fixing that I think. The three books presented here are the first three Spillane wrote, published just after World War II, and Max Alan Collins' thoughtful introduction puts them in context so the reader knows what they're looking at. Basically, if you've seen plot twists or devices in other stories that appear here also, it's a good bet that Spillane invented them, and someone else used them (usually while not crediting Spillane himself).
The three books included in this series are I, the Jury (1947), My Gun is Quick (1950) and Vengeance is Mine (also 1950). All three are variations on the same plot, which apparently is a Spillane hallmark. The main character, Mike Hammer, is somehow involved in a murder, knows the victim, and swears revenge on the killer. He then spends most of the book sorting through clues, talking to witnesses, and getting beaten up. There's then a final scene where Hammer has figured out who the killer is, and confronts said killer. The killers never get arrested: Hammer shoots them, so that there's no trial.
The dialog and situations are very dated, and somewhat hackneyed. My wife read one of these books sometime ago, and her observation is very appropriate. Spillane invented the genre, but he's been imitated so much that the original looks a bit cliched.
That being said there are some really amusing cultural indicators here. For instance, while the books were considered scandalous at the time, there are no four-letter words in the text (none are spelled out anyway). There's much breathless necking and so forth, but the sex is actually pretty tame. In the first book, Hammer actually won't have sex with the girl he's romantically involved with because they aren't married yet. The slang is so dated that at times it's unintentionally funny: Hammer and his best friend Captain Pat Chambers call one another kid repeatedly, for instance. Hammer walks around telling everyone that he's going to kill the murderer in a fashion that no one would condone today, and no writer would try to slip past an editor.
I really enjoyed these books, and I would recommend them to anyone interested in detective novels, and noir fiction. They are definitely anachronisms, but they're fun, nonetheless.