This has been an excellent series of reprints, and all the credit goes to Max Allan Collins for jumping onboard the revived interest in Hard-Boiled detective fiction since Frank Miller's Sin City. But, I feel, it is time for the series to end. The first two volumes of the series reprinted Spillane's initial six novels, which are deservedly the most well-known and notorious due to Spillane's now-classic 'Hard-Boiled' narrative style, and his unflinching portrayal of sex and violence that was unheard of in popular fiction at the time. This third volume is good as well, but I feel, in all fairness to the character of Mike Hammer and the reading audience, should be the final volume in the series. The first two novels in this volume represent Spillane's return to writing Mike Hammer, after taking a decade-long hiatus from the character after joining the Jehovah's Witnesses. The third novel is actually the second Mike Hammer novel he ever wrote, but declined to publish at the time due to the strong demand for a Mike Hammer novel loaded with bullets, booze, and broads, to follow up to his initial novel. He instead published The Twisted Thing in the 1960s after the two novels that announced Mike Hammer's return. I feel The Twisted Thing is a strong work in itself, although possibly more akin to a Marlowe or Poirot novel. And it represents a good coda to the series of reprints issued thus far. The next novel in the Mike Hammer series is when the series went downhill in my opinion. Hammer fighting a bunch of free-lovig hippies is somehow incongruent with the elements that make Hammer, well, Hammer. Hammer appears old, and extremely out of his element in this next novel, and becomes increasingly more so as the later novels drag on, seemingly just to give Spillane a paycheck. IMHO, it is akin to Roger Moore assuming the Bond mantle after Connery and Lazenby. Gone are the leisure suit escapades of Bond thoughout country clubs and other chic pre-seventies environs. Bond, played by Moore, just doesn't seem to be one with his environment and the 1970s proved to be no place for James Bond to inhabit. Just as the late 1960s prove to be no place for Hammer, once he consciously enters into them in the 10th novel. The events and situations novels in the Mike Hammer Collection Volume 3 could occur in the same post-war 1940s/50s world that Hammer previously occupied. But no so, starting with The Body Lovers, all the way until the later novels where Hammer goes after Islamic terrorists in post-911 New York City.
Please, Max Allan Collins, end the reprint series now. I would like to keep these three volumes proudly beside by Hammett, Chandler, and Cain collections without adding others. Thanks for all the hard work and dedication you've put into getting these three volumes published.