"Something's Down There"
(reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer FEB 22, 2004)
"Very slowly, the Clamdip circled the Soucan until they were looking at the bottom. Something inside the sinking boat made a loud, screeching noise, ripping at the wood and metal, then the hulk turned completely over and exposed her barnacled underside....there, as sure as the sun sets, was a big hunk taken out of the bottom of the boat, and where it looked like it was regurgitating steel springs and cotton out of its maw, Peter had jammed the mattress. But it wasn't the mess of garbage that was sliding into the water that made the impact on Hooker.
It was those beautifully regular six-inch saw tooth marks on the top break of the wood that were clearly visible in those few instants that made Hooker feel as though a cold wind had just blown down on him from some northern ice field."
Something's down there...at least, that's what the native Caribs think, since several boats have been sunk by a mysterious creature lurking under the waves, the hulls looking like something big and nasty took a pretty good nibble on them. The more superstitious think it's a monster, maybe even something from the Bermuda triangle, but Mako...and the government agents who come visit after a cruise ship is bit...is convinced that the truth must be a little bit more mundane.
Mako Hooker is a retired CIA agent living a well-deserved quiet life in the sunny Caribbean. He's bought a nice boat, called the Clamdip , and he's hired Billy Bright, a smart aleck native to help him in his quest to spend his days fishing. Thinking that there has to be a simple explanation, (even the idea that some old mines have been shaken loose from the ocean floor) he investigates with Billy's help. Billy will soon introduce him to lovely movie heiress Judy Durante, who is mourning the recent murder of her father, and they begin a pleasant romance. She'll try to help, as will Chana Sterling, who was sent to investigate the ship, and who Mako doesn't care much for since she once shot him for no apparent reason. And things only get worse when Durante's movie company comes down to get a piece of the action...lead by a mob heavy named Tony Pallatzo, another person with whom Mako shares an ugly past...and neither Chana or Tony are willing to believe that Mako's truly retired.
This is a fine book, filled with plots and intrigues, made even better by my favorite two aspects of the book. First, the camaraderie between Billy Bright and Mako is excellent...lightly humorous interaction that helps make this read an easy and interesting experience. The second is the ominous feel to the description of what lurks below the surface, masterfully conducted to keep the reader guessing to the last page.
This book reads smooth and pleasant, a page-turner not just because you need to know what happens, but because the setting, the people, all make you want to keep going. You don't want to leave. Right now, for me, it's cold outside, and I haven't seen the sun for a week...so this escape was doubly welcome.
- Amazon readers rating: from 15 reviews
Read a chapter excerpt from Something's Down There at MostlyFiction.com
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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
- The Long Wait (1951)
- The Deep (1961)
- The Day of the Guns (1964)
- Bloody Sunrise (1965)
- The Death Dealers (1965)
- The By-Pass Control (1967)
- The Delta Factor (1969)
- Erection Set (1972)
- Last Cop Out (1973)
- Something's Down There (January 2004)
- Dead Street (November 2007) (with Max Allan Collins)
Young Adult Fiction:
Mike Hammar Series:
- I, the Jury (1947) *
- My Gun is Quick (1950) *
- Vengeance is Mine (1950) *
- One Lonely Night (1951)
- The Big Kill (1951) **
- Kiss Me, Deadly (1952) **
- The Girl Hunters (1962) **
- The Snake (1964)
- The Twisted Thing (1966)
- The Body Lovers (1967)
- Survival... Zero (1970)
- The Killing Man (1989)
- Black Alley (1996)
- The Goliath Bone (October 2008) (with Max Allan Collins)
- The Big Bang (May 2010) (with Max Allan Collins)
Mike Hammar Collections:
- The Mike Hammar Collection Volume 1 (June 2001) *
- The Mike Hammar Collection Volume 2 (September 2001) **
With Max Allan Collins:
- Dead Street (2007)
- The Goliath Bone (October 2008)
- The Big Bang (May 2010)
- Kiss Her Goodbye (May 2011)
- The Consummata (October 2011)
- A Mickey Spillane Companion by Robert L. Gale (May 2003)
Movies from Books:
- I, the Jury (1953) (1982)
- Kiss Me, Deadly (1954)
- The Long Wait (1954)
- My Gun is Quick (1957)
- The Girl Hunters (1963)
- The Delta Factor ( 1970)
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- Wikipedia page on Mickey Spillane
- Crimetime long interview with Mickey Spillane
- Synopsis of Guardian interview when Mickey Spillane turned 81
- Guardian Unlimited obituary for Mickey Spillane (July 18, 2006)
- Murder Out There review of Something's Down There
- MostlyFiction.com review of Dead Street
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About the Author:
Mickey Spillane was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1918. He was a former comic book writer and one of the originators of Captain Marvel and Captain America. Spillane was one of the world's best-selling authors, a master of the "hardboiled" style. More than 140 million copies of his novels have sold since he wrote his first thriller, I the Jury, in 1947 when he introduced his most famous character and alter-ego, "the chain-smoking, quick-shooting private eye" Mike Hammer. At one time, Spillane had authored seven of the top ten bestsellers in history, and may hve been the most widely read author in the world. His 1962 Mike Hammar novel, The Girl Hunters, was made into a film that starred Mickey Spillane as Mike Hammer, whose script was co-written by Mickey. He has since appeared in a number of other films and television shows, including the Columbo series and the famous Miller Beer commercials as Mike Hammer/himself. In 1979, Spillane published his first young adult fiction, which received the Junior Literary Guild Award. In 1994, he was honored with the title of Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America at the Edgar Allen Poe Awards. Spillane, in his mid-80s, is still writing books.
He lived in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina until his death July 2006.
"If you're a singer you lose your voice. A baseball player loses his arm. A writer gets more knowlege, and if he's good, the older he gets, the better he writes." - Mickey Spillane