I don't normally take part in the "New in the House" series, as a number of my friends and fellow bloggers do, but I came across something today I have to share. One of the items from my collection that I really regretted losing in the fire was a hardback copy of a Mickey Spillane novel (I don't remember which one) that Bill Crider took to the Milwaukee Bouchercon when Spillane attended and got signed for me. I've always appreciated Bill doing that for me. Well, today I was in Half Price Books browsing through their nostalgia section when I saw a paperback copy of what I consider to be Spillane's best novel, ONE LONELY NIGHT. I pulled it off the shelf to look at it, even though I have a policy of not buying books I've already read, and it had a sticker on it that said "Signed". Of course I had to open up the bag and take a look at the inscription, which starts off (wait for it), "Hi, James." Not me, naturally, but still, there it was in Mickey Spillane's handwriting: "Hi, James."
Yes, it came home with me. And I had to sit down and read the opening chapter again, one of the very best opening chapters in all of mystery fiction. For my money, the only one that can match it is the opening chapter of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, and that's only because that chapter has such a great last line. I'm not sure anything will ever equal the impact the first chapter of ONE LONELY NIGHT had on me when I read it the first time on the front porch of my sister's house in 1970. Reading it today, it's still great. And I have a signed Spillane again.