Gumshoe fans got some good news this week. Titan Books has plans to publish three unfinished Mickey Spillane crime novels, all of them starring the hard-boiled vigilante P.I. Mike Hammer.
Spillane, who was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, died in 2006, leaving his manuscripts in the hands of frequent collaborator and fellow crime writer Max Allan Collins. Collins will finish Spillane's posthumous works.
Collins said the books were set aside at various points in Spillane's career when the sex and violence in his crime novels were getting him in trouble at church. Spillane was a Jehovah's Witness.
"He could not reconcile his work with his religion," said Collins, adding that Spillane was kicked out of his church at various points during his life due to the edgy, lawless universe he created on the page.
Spillane's signature character, Mike Hammer, was a World War II veteran who took what Collins called a "double-fisted approach" to crime fighting.
The first book that Titan Books will publish in 2012 is "Lady, Go Die!" Spillane wrote most of it after his inaugural (and most famous) book "I, the Jury."
Collins said his biggest task would be to deliver a signature Spillane surprise finish.
"He always said: 'Nobody reads a book to get to the middle,'" Collins remembered of Spillane. "Boy, I've got to deliver on that ending."
After "Lady, Go Die" hits the shelves in May of 2012, Titan will publish "Complex 90" followed by "King of Weeds" in 2014.