By Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
Cover art by Robert McGinnis
Hard Case Crime, October 2011
When a novel is attributed to two authors, a word of explanation is perhaps necessary.
So from what I understand, the division of labour goes something like this: Mickey Spillane wrote a first draft or an incomplete version of The Consummata sometime in the late ‘60s or early ‘70s. He never got around to completing it; but Max Allan Collins has done so now.
Set in the late ‘60s, it is probably best described as a cold war thriller, the plot centreing on research into an atomic weapons detector. A lot of it concerns a group of anti-Castro Cuban fighters and although the cold war paranoia is only mid-range, it belongs to the same world as Libra and The Cold Six Thousand. There is a lot of incident and action, a fair amount of smart-alecky wisecracking, and a kinky undercurrent too. For ‘The Consummata’ of the title is a world famous dominatrix, while the guy Morgan (Spillane’s hero, who made his first appearance in The Delta Factor in 1967) is tracking is particularly keen on strong women.
Morgan, our hero here, is cynical and has a kind of pretend street knowingness, a tabloid view of the world. As with Fleming’s Bond’s so-called sophistication, you don’t quite buy it.
What I like about Mickey Spillane as a writer though (and putting Max Allan Collins’ contribution to one side for a moment) is how he hooks you in and keeps you coming back. Here each chapter is a house with its front door ajar and its rear door jutting onto the edge of a cliff. Best sentence is awarded to this effort: ‘I looked like ten miles of bad road.’
The Consummata is a twisty, precarious ride and – wouldn’t you know it – the face behind the dominatrix’s mask is a familiar one.
The publisher’s description of the book can be read here.