I reread the first chapter of Mickey Spillane's One Lonely Night the other day. I hadn't read it in decades. It's a very striking chapter in which the tough guy detective hero, Mike Hammer, struggles with a disturbance in his soul, a doubt as to whether he is actually a good guy or a bad guy. In the book, this has been brought on by a judge who has let him walk free, but who has righteously condemned him as a monster who lives just inside of the law.
This time, when I was reading, I thought - oh my, the detective's self-doubt is a stand-in for the writer's self doubt after being shredded by a chorus of self-righteous critics.
So, today I was at the library, and was looking at what somebody else wrote about Spillane in an introduction, and this guy, who knew Spillane personally, specifically put forth the same theory.
Spillane, back in the fifties, sold tons of books but was a lightning rod for criticism.
He rubbed the elite the wrong way
In the culture wars of his day.