I just read in The New York Times that Mickey Spillane, author of hard boiled detective thrillers, passed away last week at the age of 88. May you rest in peace, ya mensch. I've never read any of Spillane's books, but I've read several by three other titans of the genre, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammet and James Cain. One of my favorites is "Love's Lovely Counterfeit" by Cain. Another contemporary author I've read is Michael Connelly. I read his novel "Angel's Flight," based in today's racially charged Los Angeles. It also is excellent.
Their work explores the base, dark sides of human nature -- fear, greed, lust for power, jealousy, violence -- that lurk inside all of us. But they brilliantly contrast the darkness with more noble facets of human nature such as loyalty, courage, love, integrity and perseverance. Reading each book is the emotional equivalent of eating a magnificent 10 course meal. I love it.
Check out some of these fantastic quotes from Spillane:
It was Monday again, a rainy, dreary Monday that was a huge wet muffler draped over the land. I watched it through the window and felt the taste of it in my mouth. “Kiss Me, Deadly,” 1952
His tux was the latest style, but on him it was all eyewash because he was still the dock-type hood and no tailor was ever going to change him. “Survival ... Zero!,” 1970
You would want to kiss the lusciousness of those full lips until the thought occurred that it might be like putting your tongue on a cold sled runner and never being able to get it off. “The Killing Man,” 1989
(By the way, the picture above is the cover art for Spillane's novel "The Long Wait," 1952. I've a hunch that's a femme fatale.)