Friday, August 6, 2010

The New Adventures of Mickey's Spillane's Mike Hammer

The Sounds Like a Mystery (SLAM)Yahoo! group has issued a mini-challenge:

"Keeping with our geographic theme, pick 4 books to read between now and the end of the year all set in New York."

I'm in! The first of four titles:

The New Adventure of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer
by M.J. Elliot & Cerney (sp?) two of the writers from the TV show;
Performed by a full cast, starring Stacy Keach, who starred in the TV show in the 1980s
Blackstone Audio
2.7 hours

I picked this title in the SLAM State Challenge (NY) because 1) it is a mystery;2) it is set in NY (locations include but are not limited to: Wall St.,Fulton Street subway station, Brooklyn Heights and Long Island)and;3) Every once in while I go for something different than straight forward narration and grab a full cast production.

THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MICKEY SPILLANE'S MIKE HAMMER features two stories: "Oil and Water" and "Dangerous Days." "Oil and Water" is about the reunion of Mickey Spillane with a former flame, an investigative reporter working on a story about an oil company and a vanished tanker. "Dangerous Days" is about a young woman's connection to a young Middle Eastern man identified by the government as a terrorist threat. The plot lines are basic linear narratives which rely on sound f/x for mood and setting. Anyone familiar with noir mysteries knows immediately who the villain is, so the "whodunit" component is a no-brainer. Without that (the "whodunit" challenge) though, the stories are reduced to little more than a showcase for Stacy Keach. Now, Stacy Keach IS Mike Hammer and he delivers Mike Hammer BUT: The writers of this production attempt to make Mike Hammer relevant by setting the stories in the 21st century. However the language is awkward and forced (e.g. "google" is colloquially used as a verb, not a noun; i.e. you google something, you don't look something up on google.) The sound f/x are sometimes anachronistic (e.g. Mike Hammer pulls into a self serve gas station and the "ding-ding" bell that alerted gas station attendants to hustle out to the customers rings.) [Now I live in a state that has no self-serve gas stations and even I haven't heard that bell in decades!:] But that could be overlooked and/or forgiven except for other production issues which include odd and protracted pauses ("Dangerous Days") and a double take. Also, the engineer who filled out the metadata filled out the fields incorrectly AND mis-spelled "Spillane." It's that inattention to detail that is irksome. That said, the overall production values were better than most full cast "radio-style" dramas being currently produced. Unfortunately that's not enough to bring in any new fans to the Mike Hammer franchise; or appeal to long time fans either. There is a THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MICKEY SPILLANE'S MIKE HAMMER, vol. 2 and THE GOLIATH BONE available, but I think I'll pass.

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