->''"Pulp writing at its worst was never as bad as this stuff."''
-->-- '''Creator/RaymondChandler'''

->''"Those big-shot writers could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar... If the public likes you, you're good."''
-->-- '''Mickey Spillane'''

In 1947 comic book writer Mickey Spillane and his wife needed money to buy a new house. Hoping to add to his funds, Spillane wrote a novel in just nineteen days called ''I, the Jury''. It introduced the world to HardboiledDetective Mike Hammer, and sold six and a half million copies in the United States alone.

Hardboiled private detectives are expected to be [[KnightInSourArmor world-weary and cynical]]; [[AwesomeMcCoolname Mike Hammer]] however is [[{{Eagleland}} patriotic]] and fueled by rage at the evils of society. Hammer doesn't just bend the law; [[ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight he holds it in complete contempt,]] [[KnightTemplar often dishing out brutal beatings or appointing himself]] JudgeJuryAndExecutioner.

Spillane would go on to create other characters, like Film/JamesBond expy Tiger Mann, but Mike Hammer is his most well known creation. The novels revel in brutal violence and (though tame by today's standards) contained more sex than the competition. Critics (both then and now) have savaged them unrelentingly, yet they continue to be popular.

In 1980 Spillane was responsible for seven of the top 15 all-time bestselling fiction titles in America, and his books have been adapted into film, TV and radio productions. The 1955 ''Film/KissMeDeadly'' is regarded as a classic of FilmNoir. In the 1980s-90s version Mike was portrayed by Creator/StacyKeach.

Music/JohnZorn devoted a ConceptAlbum to Spillanes' "Mike Hammer" novels, simply called ''Music/{{Spillane}} (1987)''.

!!Provides examples of:

* BigApplesauce: The stories are usually set in crime infested New York City.
* TheCasanova: All women find Hammer irresistable. Unless they're gay.
* DeadlyGame: "The Body Lovers"
* DeadpanSnarker: Both Hammer and [[SassySecretary Velda.]] But then, in [[HardboiledDetective their business]], it's farely inevitable.
* {{Deconstruction}}: Many times, the filmmakers of the movie adaptations will basically brag about doing this to the Hammer character--and if not, the critics will do it for them. Ironically, ''One Lonely Night'', DirtyCommunists aside, is essentially Spillane having Hammer deconstruct ''himself'', constantly mulling over whether he goes too far--and whether or not he's just as bad as the villains he fights. This eventually leads to his conclusion of "EvilVersusEvil" (see below).
* DirtyCommunists: ''One Lonely Night'' lays this on good and thick.
* DistractedByTheSexy: Mike, very frequently.
* EveryoneLovesBlondes: Hammer's GirlOfTheWeek is inevitably blonde; interestingly however his {{UST}} LoveInterest Velda has dark hair.
* EvilVersusEvil: In ''One Lonely Night'' Mike Hammer finally accepts that this is his role in life, just before he blows away a bunch of DirtyCommunists who are [[MoralityChain torturing Velda]].
-->''I was the evil that opposed other evil, leaving the good and the meek in the middle to live and inherit the Earth!''
* FamousLastWords. The last thing [[spoiler:Charlotte Bennett]] says after being shot by Mike Hammer is "How could you?" Mike replies coldly: "It was easy." This is one scene that's shown in every film adaptation [[spoiler:of ''I, the Jury''.]]
* {{Fanservice}}: Every episode of the 1980's series contained the "Hammer-ettes", busty women in low tops and push-up bras emphasizing their ample cleavage, who'd exchange a DoubleEntendre or two with Creator/StacyKeach.
** The books, of course, are famous for being heavily charged with this trope.
* FatalAttraction: [[spoiler:In "I, the Jury" Charlotte Bennett, the woman Hammer had fallen in love with and planned to marry, turned out to be the killer.]] This is probably the case that turned him from an ordinary PrivateDetective into the dispenser of brutal justice we all know and love.
* FinalExchange: In the end of the novel ''I the Jury'', Hammer shoots the killer, [[spoiler:Charlotte Bennett]], in cold blood.
-->'''[[spoiler:Bennet]]:''' How could you?\\
'''Hammer:''' It was easy.
* FriendOnTheForce: Captain Pat Chambers.
* GeniusBruiser: Mike is pretty strong and tough, and quite intelligent. He's reasonably literate, too -- enough to quote ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'', at least.
* GirlFriday: Velda is Hammer's SexySecretary, but she has her own investigator's license and uses a gun on a couple of occasions too.
* HandCannon: Hammer carries a Colt .45 ([[ICallItVera called 'Betsy']] in the Stacy Keach series) though he sometimes uses a small calibre hideaway or backup gun.
* HardboiledDetective: Helped turn the character type into a parody of itself.
* IndecisiveParody: The Stacy Keach version, which is too serious to be a straight-up farce of FilmNoir, but most of it is played incredibly tongue in cheek.
* IResembleThatRemark: Hammer spends an entire paragraph describing how no one, from the biggest politician to the hardest con, would dare backchat corrupt cop Dilwick because he's a crude, murderous thug who enjoys dishing out violence and bloodshed. No one except Mike Hammer, that is; "Because I'm that way myself".
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: Surprisingly [[DownplayedTrope downplayed]], as Mike usually just has to ''threaten'' to do this, and the villain cracks. Still, that tends to be because said villain "knows", from looking Hammer in the eye, that he's serious.
* LetterboxArson: One episode of the 1957 TV series has an extortion racket demand "protection fees" against arson. Those that don't pay have hydrogen gas pumped into their heating oil intake, where it seeps out, filling the workspaces. The ignition source is the ringer relay on the rotary-dial telephones.
* LotsaPeopleTryToDunIt: An InvokedTrope in ''The Twisted Thing''. After the first murder attempt fails (trying to induce a heart attack in the victim), the killer just puts a hatchet into his head, knowing that his death will lead to a confusion of crimes and suspects as his BigScrewedUpFamily scrabble for the victim's fortune.
* MyGirlIsNotASlut: Mike Hammer can screw around as much as he likes; Velda will still be there for him.
* MysteriousWoman: In the Stacy Keach series, Mike Hammer would repeatedly catch sight of the same beautiful woman (played by Donna Denton) who would then [[StealthHiBye vanish before he had a chance to talk to her]].
* NeedleInAStackOfNeedles: ''The Twisted Thing''. The initial plan was to kill the victim (a wealthy scientist) via a heart attack caused by the stress of his son being kidnapped. When Hammer successfully recovers the boy, the killer simply murders the scientist with a cleaver, knowing his death will lead to other [[GambitPileup murders and countless possible motives]] being revealed, as his BigScrewedUpFamily scramble for his fortune.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: The D.A. (named Lawrence D. Barrington in the Stacy Keach series) can't stand Hammer, and is always eager for a chance to lock him up.
* PoliceAreUseless: Averted. Mike Hammer is generally supportive of the police, regarding them as simply hamstrung by the law. Dilwick in ''The Twisted Thing'' is a notable exception, though he's no InspectorLestrade, merely a DirtyCop.
* PrettyInMink: Quite a few ladies in the 1980s series.
* PrivateEyeMonologue: Naturally, as the novels are written in the first person. Also used in the Stacy Keach series.
* RetroUniverse: The TV version with Stacy Keach is clearly set in the 1990s (the Cold War is over, and Mike makes use of personal computers), but fashions and societal mores are still in the 1940s.
* SassySecretary + SexySecretary: Velda
* SettingUpdate: Happens with every screen adaptation. ''Film/KissMeDeadly'' (1955) was set in Los Angeles and had stolen nuclear AppliedPhlebotinum as a McGuffin. The 1982 remake of ''I, the Jury'' (starring Creator/ArmandAssante) had Hammer as a Vietnam veteran instead of a Pacific Theater World War II veteran, with a plot involving CIA mind control experiments. Stacy Keach's Hammer lived in 1980's New York, though he contined to dress [[OutdatedOutfit anachronistically in a fedora and trench coat]].
* StrangeMindsThinkAlike: Once, unbeknownst to Velda, Mike compares her to Circe in his internal monologue. Less than a minute later, Velda compares him to Ulysses.
* UnsettlingGenderReveal: [[spoiler: The killer's true gender is revealed in the very last word of ''Vengeance Is Mine!'']]
* VaporWear: ''Kiss Me, Deadly'' opens with Hammer picking up a female hitchhiker in a belted trenchcoat. He doesn't realise she's got nothing else on until she slips his hand underneath it to encourage him to get her past a police roadblock.
* VigilanteMan: Lampshaded in the title of the first Hammer novel, "I, the Jury". Even in the Stacy Keach series, the criminal was usually shot (albeit in self defence) rather than being arrested.
* VisualPun: In ''Kiss Me, Deadly'' Hammer kills two Mafia hoods who try taking him for a ride, leaving them under a sign saying DEAD END.
* VomitIndiscretionShot: In all but a few novels, Hammer's victims are often left vomiting after a blow to the stomach or groin.
* [[IHaveYourWife We Have Your Sassy Secretary]]: Happens to Velda on a couple of occasions.
* WhamLine / WhamShot: As a rule, a Mike Hammer novel will tend to have at least one of these as it reaches its end. Most famously in ''Vengeance Is Mine!'', in which a certain fact is revealed in the ''very last word'':
--> [[spoiler: "Juno was a queen, all right. A real live queen. You know the kind. ''Juno was a man!''"]]
* WhatAPieceOfJunk: Hammer refers to his car as his "heap", but in one book it's mentioned there's a Cadillac engine hidden under the hood.
* WhatTheHellHero: One very effective and harsh one right before the beginning of ''One Lonely Night'', courtesy of a judge. Mike is deeply shaken by that, and by the end of the novel starts viewing his struggle against the villains of the piece as EvilVersusEvil.