Part of an interesting trend in the Reagan-Bush era: neo-Spillane, complete with enough right-leaning asides and rants to give more than a few lefties the conniptions. Rockford, Illinois' own private eye is JOE HANNIBAL, a tough (but tender) hard-nosed kinda guy, proud of his blue collar roots, much like C.J. Henderson's Jack Hagee.
In their world, liberalism is for weenies. Real men carry guns, and women are definitely not to be trusted. In fact, sometimes it seems like Joe's most significant other is Bomber Brannigan, his bartender/ex-wrestler sidekick.
The stripped-down short story format suits Dundee well, giving him just enough space to get in, hit hard, and get out. The novels, particularly the early ones, falter occasionally, giving Joe just a little too much space to philosophize and vent. But politics aside (and in all honesty, he's no more strident than, say, V.I. Warshawski), all the Hannibal tales have a sort of wild, rough energy and two-fisted swagger to them that just hits the spot.
Recommended for those of you who aren't getting enough pulp in your diet. They may not always be "correct," whatever that means in these days of the 24-hour name-calling cycle, but they're sure as hell entertaining. Which is one reason why the Hannibal stories have been frequently nominated for various mystery awards, including the Shamus and the Edgar. The other, of course, is that Wayne's just one hell of a writer.
Besides his fiction, Dundee also founded the seminal Hardboiled Magazine back in the eighties, which published much of his and Henderson's early work, which makes him a kind of spiritual father to what I like to call "The New Pulp."
STRAIGHT FROM THE AUTHOR'S MOUTH
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Gene Zombolas for the heads up.
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