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This big volume, the third in the series, is an incredible value with a very high gem-to-dud ratio. Mickey Spillane's "Mike Hammer: Dark City" run of Sunday paper serials is presented in its original turn-the-book-sideways glory; Jack Kirby's "The Money-Making Machine Swindlers" is a retro blast, complete with cautionary monologue from the femme fatale. An opportunity is missed with the selection made to represent Will Eisner's The Spirit; the story chosen is tame and insubstantial. But there are a few standouts that make this book a strong buy candidate even for people who don't normally go in for noir: Max Allan Collins's Ms. Tree taking maternity leave; a lengthy continuity from Dashiell Hammett's newspaper strip Secret Agent X-9, with art by the great Alex Raymond; and most spectacular of all, an utterly odd story (author unknown) of a blind painter, set in the realm of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct. This wide-ranging collection is high on both visual appeal and entertainment value. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.