Garrity (Dave J. Garrity, David J. Gerrity) (pulp fiction writer)



David J. Gerrity was one of several old army buddies and cronies of Mickey spillane who slid into the writing game on Spillane’s coattails. “Why not,”

Gerrity told the bibliophile Lynn Myers. “You sit at Spillane’s table for a couple of hours and drink beer with him and you could steal enough of his throw-away ideas to write twenty topics. . . . It looked like an easy way to make a buck.” When Gerrity finally had a manuscript together, Spillane helped get it published by Gold Medal topics. Kiss Off the Dead, published under the name “Garrity,” was about a cop framed for murder. It had plenty of blood, guts, and broads, in the best Mike Hammer tradition. He followed it with a second hard-boiled tale, Cry Me a Killer, brought out by Gold Medal in 1961.

Gerrity never achieved anything like Spillane’s success as a writer. He kept his day job, in the merchant marine, and did not publish another topic for six years. By then, in 1967, Spillane was no longer the force he had been, but Gerrity pursued the connection explicitly with his detective story Dragon Hunt, published by Spillane’s softcover house, Signet, and featuring on the back cover a photo of “Dave J. Garrity” sitting beside his “close friend . . . world famous writer Mickey Spillane”; inside, the story included a guest-star appearance by Spillane’s hero Mike Hammer. Dragon Hunt’s “mayhem and metaphor and . . . sudden-sex tempo” were among the reasons the back copy said “Mickey thinks it’s the greatest.”

Gerrity then wrote a pair of race-car novels and, in the mid-1970s, three Mafia revenge thrillers, one of them sporting a big Spillane endorsement on the cover (“I wish I had written it!”), all originals for Signet. In addition Gerrity ghostwrote two lurid memoirs, one for the legendary stripper Georgia Southern (Georgia: My Life in Burlesque) and the other for Fred Otash (Investigation: Hollywood), in which the notorious ex-L.A. cop, private detective, and Hollywood fixer (the source of a lot of author James Ellroy’s sleazier Hollywood lore) recounted some of his colorful exploits with everyone from Judy Garland and Frankie Avalon to Mickey Cohen and Yma Sumac; the topic contained a foreword by—who else?— Mickey Spillane.

In later years Gerrity had little luck in getting his work published. He died of cancer at age 60. At the time of his death he lived just down the road from his pal Spillane.


  • Cry Me a Killer (1961);
  • Dragon Hunt (1967);
  • Hot Mods, The (1969);
  • Kiss Off the Dead (1960);
  • Never Contract, The (1975);
  • Numbers Man, The (1977);
  • Plastic Man, The (1976);
  • Rim of Thunder (1973)

As Fred Otash:

  • Investigation: Hollywood (1976)

Next post:

Previous post: