US crime writer Mickey Spillane, who created the tough private eye Mike Hammer, has died at the age of 88.
Spillane relished his tough-guy image
He wrote his first novel, I The Jury, in 1946. Two dozen books followed, including 12 Mike Hammer novels.
Notable titles included The Killing Man, Vengeance is Mine, and My Gun is Quick. His book Kiss Me Deadly was made into a classic 1955 film noir.
Spillane's literary trademarks were violence and a blunt, gritty style. He died at his home in South Carolina.
There was no immediate word on the cause of death.
Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1918, Spillane grew up in neighbouring New Jersey, and started his career as a comic strip writer.
The writer, whose real name was Frank Morrison Spillane, became a Jehovah's Witness in the early 1950s.
He had few literary pretensions, and said that "If the public likes you, you're good".
Spillane had critics among fellow writers. Rival detective novelist Raymond Chandler described his work as "nothing but a mixture of violence and outright pornography".
But Spillane was immune to such criticism.
"Those big-shot writers could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar," he once pronounced.