Dan Schwent's Reviews > The Consummata

The Consummata by Mickey Spillane
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Feb 04, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: hardcase, 2011, cool-covers
Read from October 08 to 11, 2011

While on the run from the feds after being betrayed, Morgan the Raider gets tasked with recovering some money from Cuban refugees in Miami. His search takes him through Miami's S & M undergound and into a web of sex, lies, and murder. But what does the mysterious masked dominatrix known as the Consummata have to do with things?

Posthumous collaborations are always a crap shoot, emphasis on the crap. Mickey Spillane wrote The Consummata in the 60's and then let it sit after a bad experience with The Delta Factor, the book preceding this one, being made into a movie. After Spillane's death, it was finished by Max Allan Collins. Should he have left it unpublished?

Yes. The Consummata is very dated, feels unfinished, and is rife with cliches. I know that Spillane is one of the first pulp detective writers but that doesn't mean he had the Midas touch by any means. Morgan the Raider is the standard tough guy smart mouth character that Spillane helped pioneer with Mike Hammer. Morgan's attempts humor fell flat for me on most occasions. He's like that unfunny uncle you have that thinks he's hilarious.

I'm going to breeze by the female characters since a lot of this book takes place in a whore house and even the women in the book who aren't prostitutes want a piece of Morgan and go straight for the parts that really bugged me.

The plot was kind of clunky, and like Dead Street, needlessly involved communists and nuclear secrets and the identity of the Consummata was fairly obvious. Even though Morgan did illogical things because the plot required him to do so, he was such a superhuman that there was no time that I thought he as going to get hurt, let alone killed.

The writing was really repetitive. Couldn't Spillane have thought of a phrase other than 'dark delta' to describe a woman's pubic hair? Or gone without describing it altogether? I counted three 'dark deltas' and I may have missed a couple because I started skimming about halfway through. The writing also had an unfinished feel and I get the feeling no felt confident enough to edit what Spillane had written prior to his death. Some good editing might have bumped this up to a three.

In spite of all that, I caught myself digging it a few times. Spillane wrote good action scenes, that's for sure, although the cliche density was pretty high. I guess I have to cut Mickey some slack since he invented some of those cliches. I'm giving it a 2 since I didn't actually hate it. I just found it to be flawed. I guess the new Hard Cases can't all be winners.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Similar thoughts sprang to mind when Samuel Beckett's student attempt at a novel, "Dream of Fair to Middling Women," was published after he died. Awful. You could see where he was going, and it was going to be good, but gawd.


message 2: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten The pulp covers are a LOT more graphic in the trade paperback format. The numero uno graphic cover of the year for me is Getting Off. In a mass market it would be eye brow raising worthy, but as a hardcover it is eye popping.


message 3: by Dan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan Schwent Jeffrey wrote: "The pulp covers are a LOT more graphic in the trade paperback format. The numero uno graphic cover of the year for me is Getting Off. In a mass market it would be eye brow raising worthy, but as ..."

Getting Off is my favorite Hard Case cover so far. I'm surprised Hard Case doesn't sell poster-sized prints of the covers.


message 4: by Jim (new)

Jim I've read a couple of books that Collins finished for Spillane & haven't been thrilled with them. I really liked some of both authors' books, others were just OK, but the combination just hasn't worked for me. I'll be skipping this one. Thanks for confirming that for me.


message 5: by Dan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan Schwent Jim wrote: "I've read a couple of books that Collins finished for Spillane & haven't been thrilled with them. I really liked some of both authors' books, others were just OK, but the combination just hasn't w..."

Glad to take a bullet for the team. Your ten bucks can go toward books that are actually enjoyable.


message 6: by James (new)

James Thane There's an interesting article in the current Mystery Scene Magazine by Lawrence Block commenting on Spillane.


message 7: by Dan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan Schwent James wrote: "There's an interesting article in the current Mystery Scene Magazine by Lawrence Block commenting on Spillane."

Kemper and I got that issue of Mystery Scene at Bouchercon. Block's views on Spillane are similar to mine.


message 8: by James (new)

James Thane I haven't read of of Spillane's books in quite a while, but neither your observations nor Block's makes me want to race out and find one.


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