It is rare for me to enjoy hard-bitten detective novels. They are usually too sexist and stereotypical. “Murder Never Knocks,” the latest Mickey Spillane story line that Max Allan Collins has completed in the Mike Hammer series, is an exception. It is placed in the 1960s rather than in the immediate post-World War II era. This was a time when women were beginning to become appreciated in business, not just in the bedroom. Mike Hammer and his side-kick Velda, are older and wiser. Velda is no longer just Hammer’s secretary. She is a full-fledged PI, although Hammer is still very protective of her. He still has the usual temptations when it comes to young, beautiful women who come into view, but he no longer sees women as just objects to be conquered; he has a conscience about how they are treated and recognizes their strengths.
“Murder Never Knocks” is about a contract that is placed to kill Mike Hammer, and by extension, Velda. It’s beginning to look as if Mike and Velda will have to retire to Witness Protection when Hammer gets a break and discovers who is behind the hit. The question is whether Mike can get to the mastermind and neutralize him before he does the same with Mike and Velda. Through the eyes of Spillane and Max Allan Collins the reader enters the chilling world of professional contract killers and the world of Broadway show business in the 1960s. Both worlds are fascinating.
“Murder Never Knocks” is the most entertaining and enjoyable of the Mike Hammer thriller detective stories and it is very well written.
Reviewed from a supplied copy.