Spillane: King of Pulp Fiction Title: Spillane: King of Pulp Fiction
Release: February 7, 2023
E-Book: Kobo
Digital Audiobook: Kobo Google Play
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The first-ever biography of the most popular and most influential pulp writer of all time, written by the collaborator who knew him best

Beginning in 1947 with I, the Jury, and continuing with his next six novels, Mickey Spillane quickly amassed a readership in the tens of millions, becoming the bestselling novelist in the history of American publishing. Surrounded by controversy for the overt violence and suggestive sexual content of his iconic Mike Hammer private eye novels, Spillane was loathed by critics but beloved by his readers. And the success of his tough, hard-boiled writing left a lasting mark on the mystery genre, inspiring scores of followers and indelibly shaping crime fiction in the decades that followed.

There is, however, more to the life of Frank Morrison Spillane than his books. Born in Brooklyn, raised in New Jersey, the young son of a bartender worked as a circus performer and fighter pilot before his writing career took off, and, through writing, he went on to a career as an actor, a crimestopper, and a Miller Light spokesperson in commercials so popular they ran for a quarter of a century.

These stories and more are included in Spillane: King of Pulp Fiction, the definitive biography of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, written by the author’s friend and collaborator, Max Allan Collins, and pulp fiction scholar James L. Traylor.

Audiobook Sample


Publishers Weekly: Starred review. “Illuminating … This definitive work is indispensable for any fan of the revolutionary Spillane and his two-fisted novels.”

Kirkus: “A full-dress biography of the most polarizing practitioner of 20th-century crime fiction…. Fans who’ve been waiting for a life of Spillane will gobble this up.”

Wall Street Journal: “Spillane is an engaging, capacious and largely celebratory account, presenting the writer, his works and their multimedia adaptations as worthy of serious consideration.”

Eddie Muller, host of Noir Alley: “Spillane almost single-handedly created the market for ‘pocket books’ in the late 1940s, and he was one of the first authors media-savvy enough to promote himself as a character.”

Book Reporter: “There is so much here to sink your teeth into and enjoy. Great biographies must capture the individual portrayed — his spirit, his accomplishments, and the times in which he lived and worked. Spillane does all of this so expertly that it reads almost as well as a Spillane novel. [...] a leading candidate for inclusion on my list of best biographies of 2023.”


Audio interview with Terrance Gelenter

Interview with M.A.C. and James L. Traylor for Book Reporter

Interview with James L. Traylor for the Washington Times

Larger Cover Image (800 x 1200 JPG)

Publisher’s Website (Penzler Publications)