Frank Morrison Spillane, widely known as Mickey Spillane (March 9, 1918 – July 17, 2006), was an influential American crime novelist renowned for his detective character, Mike Hammer. Spillane’s novels were notable for their blend of crime, action, and sexual undertones, and he sold over 225 million copies of his books internationally. In addition to his writing, Spillane also dabbled in acting, famously portraying Mike Hammer in the 1965 film “The Girl Hunters.”

Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Spillane was the only child of his Irish bartender father and Scottish mother. He graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in 1936 and briefly attended Fort Hays State College in Kansas. Before establishing himself as a writer, Spillane worked various jobs, including as a lifeguard and a trampoline artist for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

During World War II, Spillane served in the Army Air Corps as a fighter pilot and flight instructor. He was stationed at Greenwood, Mississippi, where he met and married his first wife, Mary Ann Pearce, in 1945.

Spillane’s writing career began in the comic book industry, where he wrote stories for major characters such as Captain Marvel, Superman, Batman, and Captain America. He worked for Funnies, Inc., writing two-page text stories syndicated to various comic book publishers. His byline appeared on most of these “filler” stories, and a collection of his early works was published in “Primal Spillane: Early Stories 1941–1942.”

His foray into novel writing started with the goal of buying a country house. He wrote his first novel, “I, the Jury,” in just nine days. The book introduced the iconic character Mike Hammer and was a significant success, setting the tone for Spillane’s subsequent works in the hardboiled crime genre.

Despite criticism from the literary establishment for the overt violence and sexuality in his novels, Spillane remained unfazed, often remarking on the commercial appeal of his work over literary accolades. His books were known for their dramatic and provocative cover art, contributing to their popularity.

Spillane’s Mike Hammer series was highly successful in the 1950s and 1960s, with an impact that extended to comic books and film adaptations. Despite the mixed reception from critics, his work profoundly influenced the crime and detective fiction genres. Mickey Spillane passed away in 2006, leaving behind a legacy as a master of crime fiction and creator of one of the most enduring characters in the genre.

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  • 1989 first trade edition: The Killing Man, by Mike Hammer (Mikey Spillane)

    The Killing Man is a crime fiction novel written by the renowned author, Mikey Spillane, under the pseudonym Mike Hammer. The story follows the protagonist, Mike Hammer, a private investigator, as he investigates a series of murders that seem to be linked to a notorious criminal organization. Along the way, Hammer encounters various obstacles and challenges, including corrupt law enforcement officials and dangerous criminals. As he delves deeper into the case, he uncovers a web of deceit and betrayal that threatens to unravel his investigation and put his life in danger.

    The novel is a classic example of the hard-boiled detective genre, characterized by its gritty realism, tough-talking protagonists, and intricate plots. Spillane’s writing style is fast-paced and action-packed, with vivid descriptions of violence and suspenseful scenes that keep readers on the edge of their seats.