HEAT (1981) was written under the pen name of prolific crime fiction writer, Ed McBain. He also wrote under Evan Hunter. His 87th Precinct novels are categorized as police procedural(s) and are the longest running with over fifty books in the series that started with Cop Hater in 1956.
The stories are all set in the fictional city of Isola and features a diverse and large cast of characters. One of the main recurring roles in the story belongs to Detective Steve Carella of the 87th Squad. I like him. He’s a solid character. This is my sixth Ed McBain book. I love to read them because the books are good, short, quick reads. Continue reading
The Heckler (1960) by Ed McBain is the 12th book in a series of 55 books featuring the detectives at the 87th Precinct. The series ran from 1956 to the author’s death in 2005. This long-standing series has several recurring characters in it but we mainly follow Detective Steve Carella. One thing I didn’t know when I started that these novels have a nice yet subtle romance in them as an added bonus. I’m a romance reader at heart so I appreciate the combination of mystery and romance.
The plot of The Heckler is hinted at by the title. Someone is making prank calls to several store owners. Making threats and telling them that they must vacate the premises by the end of the month or else. Come to find out this is a caper in progress that comes straight out of a Sherlock Holmes novel and with a villain who enjoys thwarting the police with misdirection. “L. Sordo” which is Spanish for “the deaf man” makes his first of many appearances in the series. Meyer Meyer, who’s so named because his father thought it would be a nice joke to make his son’s first name his surname, heads up the prank call cases. Meanwhile, Detective Steve Carella heads up a murder investigation of a body found in Grover park. The rest of the novel, which clocks in at about 177 pages on my Sony Reader, has Carella and Meyer working separately on their cases even though their cases might be related. Continue reading
Hark! (87th Precinct Novel) by Ed McBain (Evan Hunter), follows Detective/2nd Grade Stephen Carella and his team, set in the fictional city of Isola. This was my first Ed McBain novel and I dived right in bypassing the first book in the series, Cop Hater (1956). I wasn’t lost but I don’t recommend you doing the same. There’s a lot of interpersonal relationships in here that I missed the development of and I regret not reading them in order. The author has added more characters to this long-standing series but there are recurring characters that you get to know outside the precinct and my favorite is Steve Carella.
I like the premise of this novel. The villain uses missives from Shakespeare’s plays to taunt the police about his next move. He also uses anagrams and palindromes to effectively stump them in order to pull off another heist and stay a step ahead. It’s a cat and mouse game with some added suspense and humor to keep you turning the pages until you reach the end.
Is revenge a recurring theme for McBain? It seems so but then I haven’t even put a dent into this series yet. Hark!, the fifty-fourth book in the series begins with an act of betrayal. Gloria Stanford ditches her partner in a heist. She left him for dead and then walked away with the loot. When he catches up with her though, he doesn’t allow her to explain anything. He just shoots her twice in the chest and then walks away. The Def Man, the villain, who keeps popping back in/out of the series has resurfaced to cause trouble once again. Continue reading
Reading the 87th Precinct novels are like visiting with old friends. If you’ve never read this series, I highly recommend reading them in order. I am reading them out-of-order and am regretting it. I will grab “Cop Hater” the first in the series and print only and go from there. The biggest highlights for me in reading this series: the humor, the witticisms, the dialogue, the characters, the recurring villains (The Deaf Man) and the interrelationships and most importantly for me, the relationship between Steve Carella and his wife, Teddy who is deaf/mute.
Ed McBain’s (he also wrote as Evan Hunter) mysteries are quick reads for me and “Money, Money, Money” (2001) no exception. The start of the novel grabbed me immediately and most of the books in this series usually do. The plots in his books aren’t usually this complicated at least in the last three that I read. In here, we have terrorists, drug dealers, money laundering and petty thieves. The following article has a few minor spoilers in it so if you don’t want any details then this is a good place to stop reading. Also, at the end of this article is the complete reading list for the 87th Precinct series. Continue reading
“The Pusher” written by Ed McBain (who also wrote as Evan Hunter) is the third book in the 87th Precinct series that started with Cop Hater. Surprisingly, The Pusher being published in 1956 still reads well today. The series is told in third person and has a large and diverse cast of characters. It’s only after the author’s death that I’ve grown to appreciate his work. In the afterword, the author sums up the premise of the series saying it’s about the “conglomerate hero in a mythical city.”
“There are, to be truthful, a lot of troubles with murder–but there’s one in particular.
It gets to be a habit.”
Much of the story takes place in the fictional city of Isola. In, “The Pusher,” a high-ranking cop learns an ugly truth about his son and finds himself compromising his job and his principles to protect him. Continue reading