Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Consummata: A Heck of a Yarn!

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The Delta Factor is my favorite Mickey Spillane novel. I like it even more than all of the Mike Hammers combined--seriously. There's something about that book. It's less of a hard-boiled story and more of a swashbuckling adventure that really sucks you in. The hero, modern pirate Morgan the Raider, is coerced into helping the U.S. government rescue a scientist from communists--or something. Anyway the usual Spillane hokum results and it's one hell of a book with a great cliff-hanger ending and if I tell you too much about it I'll ruin the book. I wish Spillane had gone further with Morgan the Raider instead of writing about secret agent Tiger Mann, and I still mourn the trees killed to print that swill. If Spillane had wanted a "Bond like" character, Morgan the Raider was fresh and original and a kick to read about. Tiger Mann was as ridiculous as his name.

I was delighted to learn a few years ago that Spillane had written part of Morgan #2 but never finished it. Until the day he passed I thought, maybe, he'd get around to it, but now his pal Max Allan Collins has completed the work, and The Consummata, published by Hard Case Crime, is the result.

Film tie-in cover
The cliffhanger ending of The Delta Factor really gets your imagination going because you wonder how it might be resolved. I was afraid the genuine article would not match my vision of that resolution, and that I might not enjoy it because there was no way it could live up to the blockbuster in my head. Truthfully, the novel doesn't come close, and I had to jettison any ideas I had at page one.

The Consummata is a fun book and I enjoyed it a lot, finishing it in three days. Many plot lines from The Delta Factor are resolved, and we get another cliffhanger at the end which was a nice touch. What we also have here is yet another blend of the Spillane/Collins style, and it's a kick to try and figure out where one ends and the other begins, and the other way around. Sometimes (just like Hammer in the recent Collins-completed novels) Morgan the Raider sounds a lot like Nate Heller, and that's always fun to catch. There are two other moments where you can tell Collins was doing the typing--just two--but I'll let you find them. One involves a piece of weaponry that had not been invented at the time the original manuscript was typed; the other is a Collins trademark. But never mind all that.

The Consummata is a rip-roaring thriller and I think you'll like it. I really enjoyed being reunited with Morgan and Kim and meeting his new friends and the ending leaves the door open for Morgan #3 should Collins decide to do it, or if The Mick had further Morgan adventures planned than we have been led to believe. If Max doesn't want to do Part Three, my original idea for #2 would work for #3; in other words, Max, I'm available....I'm cheap....and I'm not hard to find.

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