The Last Stand by Mickey Spillane


Reviewed by Allen Hott

Having been a Mickey Spillane fan back in the 40s and 50s I was looking forward to The Last Stand when I read about how the manuscript supposedly was found in good condition and ready to be published. I feel certain that there was some work done to it by Max Collins who wrote the introduction.

Overall the book is pretty good but not exactly what I expected. To begin with it is in fact two separate stories. The first one, A Bullet for Satisfaction, is a Spillane type and basically centers around a police officer, Captain Dexter, who is heading up an investigation into the killing of a major political figure. Dexter and his partner, Fred Jenkins, begin digging into the case and find several attorneys who are politically active seem to have had some encounters with Mayes Rogers, the murdered politician.

However the more digging into the case the more other things seem to pop up that may or may not have some bearing on the killing. Besides competing politicians, there also appear to be some kinds of things going on with not only Rogers’ wife but also at least one other woman, a Ginger Bass. Ginger immediately brings yet another woman, Jean Banner, into the equation and at least tries to implicate her if not into the murder at least into some relationship with Rogers.

And to make things even more complicated as the investigation begins moving along; Captain Dexter begins an involvement with Ginger Bass! Just tons of happenings in a small town with cops, their involvement with women, and drinking while working on cases!

The story moves along well and carries the reader completely to the end where, personally I felt like I had missed something along the way! But give it a shot. You may have better reading abilities and understand it all perfectly.

The Last Stand is not only the title of the book but it is in fact a completely separate story from A Bullet for Satisfaction. However where the first story is at least more what I remembered of Spillane stories, The Last Stand, is almost a one hundred and eighty degree turnaround! It is however also an interesting story and it does not only carry the reader along very well to end but at least to me it has a satisfactory ending.

This story is about a pilot who is racing with other pilots in vintage planes and in the midst of the race his plane develops problems and he luckily makes a rather rough landing in the middle of the desert. As he begins making his way toward a group of mountains in hopes of finding some civilization there, he meets up with an Indian who has somehow become disassociated with his horse. The two of them, Sequoia Pete (who is the full blooded Indian without his horse) and Joe (who is the pilot) decide to begin making their way back toward the mountains. This take several days and Joe finds out along the way that they are in fact not only in an Indian reservation but that Pete is a member of the tribe.

This is a great story as it tells about these two and several other notable characters and how they get involved with gangsters, the FBI, mean Indians, and other folks all while on the reservation. It may be a bit much to believe as far as the actual truth of matters go but it sure makes for an interesting read.

The book in its entirety is a very good read and the reader has to realize that some things aren’t as we think they are or as in my case as I remember them to be. Not quite like the Mike Hammer books that I recall by Spillane but still interesting and worth the reader’s time!