Revew: Killer’s Payoff by Ed McBain (87th Precinct #6)

A well-to-do man is shot in the face while walking in Isola. The weapon is, of all things, a hunting rifle. An informant tells Bert Kling at the 87th precinct’s detective desk that Seymour Kramer, the victim, was an extortionist, giving the detectives a likely motive. Was Kramer killed by one of his […]

Reviews: The Con Man and Killer’s Choice by Ed McBain (87th Precinct #4 & #5)

The Con Man is exactly what you’d expect after the three previous volumes: A series of crimes that may or may not be related, the detectives of the 87th fanning out to crack the cases, a look at how policework is done, and the 87th’s great characters.

The joy for the crime-minded […]

Review: The Pusher by Ed McBain (87th Precinct #3)

A patrolman stumbles across the body of a young Puerto Rican immigrant in the basement of a filthy tenement building. It’s set up to look like a suicide, but the scene is so poorly staged that it appears the killer wants it to be known that this was murder. Why?

After two good […]

Review: The Mugger by Ed McBain (87th Precinct #2)

The Mugger, the second of Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct novels, begins directly after the events of Cop Hater (although it’s in no way necessary to read Cop Hater first). Detective Steve Carella is away on his honeymoon, so McBain takes the opportunity to give us some quality time with some of the precinct’s other employees, notably rookie cop Bert Kling, who gets talked into an unauthorized murder investigation, and compact judo expert Hal Willis, who’s on the trail of the title villain, sometimes with Detective Eileen Burke (making her series debut).

No sophomore slump here, as The Mugger is in nearly every way an improvement on its predecessor. The mystery is better, and the characters are developing quite nicely. It’s also a bit darker, featuring a murdered teenager and vicious police brutality (which seems shockingly cavalierly treated).

[Minor spoiler below the fold]

Continue reading Review: The Mugger by Ed McBain (87th Precinct #2)

Review: Cop Hater by Ed McBain (87th Precinct #1)

The city in these pages is imaginary. The people, the places are all fictitious. Only the police routine is based on established investigatory technique.

Thus begins each entry in Ed McBain’s massively successful and influential 87th Precinct series. And while I felt it should be noted when looking at the first book in […]