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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mickey's Cold War
This novel is based on an original manuscript written by Mickey Spillane, one of two entrusted "for safekeeping" to Mr. Collins shortly before his death. It was originally scheduled for publication in the 1960's, but never appeared. It is now made possible through Collins' collaborative effort.

Complex 90 is set during the Cold War, pitting one-man army Mike...
Published 12 months ago by Ted Feit

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3.0 out of 5 stars Off Mike
If you ever decide to revisit the Film Noir genre of the 40s and 50s may I suggest ‘Kiss Me Deadly’, a pretty looney film about a shining briefcase and the maverick PI sent out to recover it. This Private Investigator was no other than Mike Hammer, star of a series of books written by Mickey Spillane. Unfortunately, Spillane is no longer with us, but before...
Published 2 months ago by Sam Tyler


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3.0 out of 5 stars Off Mike, 11 Aug 2014
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If you ever decide to revisit the Film Noir genre of the 40s and 50s may I suggest ‘Kiss Me Deadly’, a pretty looney film about a shining briefcase and the maverick PI sent out to recover it. This Private Investigator was no other than Mike Hammer, star of a series of books written by Mickey Spillane. Unfortunately, Spillane is no longer with us, but before his death he gave some unfinished manuscripts to prolific crime writer Max Allan Collins. ‘Complex 90’ is the result of one of their collaborations and you may be glad to know that it is almost as insane as the movie.

‘Complex 90’ opens inside the Pentagon. Mike Hammer is under armed guard having escaped from behind the Iron Curtain taking out over 40 Russians whilst doing so. Sit back dear reader as Hammer describes what happened to him during his time in the East and what happened next as he becomes target number one on the KGB hit list as soon as he, once more, stepped on US soil.

If ‘Complex 90’ was to stand trial it would have to declare itself responsible of all crimes and take the blame for a few other infractions it did not even do. This book is that much of a guilty pleasure. Those expecting a hardnosed and well developed slice of crime noir have come to the wrong place. Spillane books have all the trapping of the genre, but he was always more interested in creating a shoot first, make a plot up second, school of writing and that continues you here.

I am usually not a fan of a book opening up in the present and writing about the past. There is always something disappointing about knowing that a hero is going to survive, or how many people they took out. However, in the case of ‘Complex 90’ it works well. There is a real sense of joy in the action as Collins takes Spillane’s notes and writes a fun action thriller that leaves the PC brigade crying in its wake.

The bulk of the book is not actually set in Russia, but back in the USofA. Here things settle down into a more routine crime novel, but unfortunately not the best the genre has ever seen. Cold War thrillers can be a little simple for my liking; the lumbering boogieman that is Russia is an easy way to create a series of bad guys without actually developing any characters. That is certainly the case here as the story moves from action thrills to routine crime noir.

Despite its lack of intelligent insight into the criminal mind I was enjoying this pulp fiction a lot. Hammer is a very amusing character; misogynistic and a little crazy at times. However, even I was a little perturbed by some of the more adult scenes. Hammer is popular with the ladies; kind of like James Bond in a fedora and rumpled trench coat. He shoots men and beds women. I understand this vernacular within the world of pulp noir and am happy for it, but one scene in particular is beyond the pale. It is borderline hilarious in its shocking nature, feeling out of place in the rest of the book.

With this in mind ‘Complex 90’ goes from a book that crime fans will enjoy to having a guidance warning attached. If you have read other books in the pulp genre then there is nothing to worry you here. However, those new to the likes of Mike Hammer and the way of the gun may find proceedings a little too shocking. Original review on bookbag.co.uk
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mickey's Cold War, 27 Sep 2013
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Ted Feit (Long Beach, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mike Hammer - Complex 90 (Mike Hammer Novels) (Hardcover)
This novel is based on an original manuscript written by Mickey Spillane, one of two entrusted "for safekeeping" to Mr. Collins shortly before his death. It was originally scheduled for publication in the 1960's, but never appeared. It is now made possible through Collins' collaborative effort.

Complex 90 is set during the Cold War, pitting one-man army Mike Hammer against the entire might of the USSR. It begins when he takes on a job as a bodyguard to protect a U.S. Senator during a party in his home. A gunman invades the home, shoots and kills another security person, a friend named Marley, and a bullet hits Mike in the thigh. Mike replaces Marley as the Senator's bodyguard on a trip to Moscow on a fact-finding tour. There Mike is arrested and taken to a prison, from which he escapes, killing 45 Russians, and, after two months, crossing into Turkey, where he gets on a plane to return to the U.S. Russia demands extradition, and Mike thumbs his nose. (All of this action transpires very early in the book.)

Will it be a major international incident, or will Mike overpower both the American and Soviet governments? Of course, the gore and sex which play a prominent part in the novel are trademarks of Spillane, purely Mike Hammer at his wise-cracking best. It's hard to tell where Spillane leaves off and Collins picks up.

Recommended.
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Mike Hammer - Complex 90 (Mike Hammer Novels)
Mike Hammer - Complex 90 (Mike Hammer Novels) by Max Allan Collins (Hardcover - 10 May 2013)
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