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Downtown Paperback – 6 Sep 1990

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Mandarin; New edition edition (6 Sept. 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749302895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749302894
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 947,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ed McBain was one of the many pen names of the successful and prolific crime fiction author Evan Hunter (1926 - 2005). Born Salvatore Lambino in New York, McBain served aboard a destroyer in the US Navy during World War II and then earned a degree from Hunter College in English and Psychology. After a short stint teaching in a high school, McBain went to work for a literary agency in New York, working with authors such as Arthur C. Clarke and P.G. Wodehouse all the while working on his own writing on nights and weekends. He had his first breakthrough in 1954 with the novel The Blackboard Jungle, which was published under his newly legal name Evan Hunter and based on his time teaching in the Bronx.

Perhaps his most popular work, the 87th Precinct series (released mainly under the name Ed McBain) is one of the longest running crime series ever published, debuting in 1956 with Cop Hater and featuring over fifty novels. The series is set in a fictional locale called Isola and features a wide cast of detectives including the prevalent Detective Steve Carella.

McBain was also known as a screenwriter. Most famously he adapted a short story from Daphne Du Maurier into the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963). In addition to writing for the silver screen, he wrote for many television series, including Columbo and the NBC series 87th Precinct (1961-1962), based on his popular novels.

McBain was awarded the Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement in 1986 by the Mystery Writers of America and was the first American to receive the Cartier Diamond Dagger award from the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain. He passed away in 2005 in his home in Connecticut after a battle with larynx cancer.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Rottweiller Swinburne on 15 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'm a big, BIG fan of Ed McBain, especialy his "87th Precinct" thrillers, and when I started this I expected to enjoy it every bit as much as those other of his books that I've read.
Unfortunately, and for the first time with McBain,I was disappointed.
The trouble with this novel is that it tries to be a comedy in the format of a thriller.

It is Christmas Eve in a cold and snowy New York. Mike Barnes, an orange-grower from Florida, is about to go home after concluding some business in the Big Apple. He stops in a bar for a drink before driving his hired car to the airport. In short order he has his identity and then his car stolen, is implicated in a murder, is mugged, wins a load of money in a crap game then loses it all but meets the beautiful Connie, gets fingered by a plain-clothes cop who wants him to bump off a local crime-lord, is shot by a uniformed cop who thinks he is somebody else and - eventually - gets to the bottom of the whole thing, is cleared of murder and goes off into the sunset with Connie. All in less than twenty-four hours.
Sounds like a hoot and, with a different setting, might have been. The trouble is that McBain tries to apply the same tight, suspenseful methods to this comic caper that he applies to his usual thrillers, ans it doesn't work - not for me, at any rate. The novel is full of comical interludes where excitable Italian-Americans talk over and misunderstand each other, and highly unlikely episodes where Mike keeps bumping into other people - usually cops - that he has already met and who are intent on getting him to do something for them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jacqpote on 25 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
Not a crime novel, but an hilarious thriller; and very good at that.
Cary Grant, unforgettable in 'North by northwest', would have loved to be this orange grower from Florida, embarked in a nightmarish caper through the concrete jungle of downtown Manhattan on Christmas Eve.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
McBain's best non-87th Precinct novel 21 May 2000
By Joseph T. Reeves - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Besides the excellent 87th Precinct novels, Ed McBain has also written several crime and detective novels. Of these, "Downtown" is the best, as well as one of his best, period.
"Downtown" starts on Christmas Eve as Florida orange grower Michael Barnes, in New York on business, runs afoul of bogus cops, thieves, the mob, and a slimy movie producer. McBain piles on the action and absurdity at a furious pace as Barnes sinks deeper and deeper into the worst New York has to offer. McBain has always been adept at infusing his hard-boiled fiction with a sardonic humor that borders on the ludicrous. In "Downtown," he proves he can still walk that tightrope as he balances the hilarity of Barnes' situation with a lean, hard-hitting narrative style.
In fact, McBain's humor is so deliberately distracting, you don't realize it when he turns deadly serious. Michael Barnes may be bounced from one jam to another, but he too has a dark side, like most McBain characters. When pushed enough, he too becomes as deadly as his foes and as hard-boiled as any Raymond Chandler creation. "Downtown" is another example of Ed McBain at his best. Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is the best Ed McBain book—ever 26 July 2014
By Katherine Lahti - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is the best Ed McBain book—ever! It's exciting to read. There's a nice romance that doesn't take over the plot. The plot ticks away at an amazing pace.
If it wasn't for bad luck... 23 Jun. 2014
By C. Wagner - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
His wallet, identification, and money stolen, Michael Barnes then has his rental car ripped by a supposed Good Samaritan. Then, he “borrows” $10 from a felon in the apparent Detective Orson’s office to pay transportation to the airport only to have a fake gun shoved into his face as he exits. Next thing he knows, his ID and auto show up with a body inside and he is the subject of an all points bulletin. And, they know where he lives… It is going to be a difficult job getting back to the orange grove where the police are probably waiting anyhow.
What a way to spend a Christmas holiday, what with Vietnam horror flashbacks and Connie who shot like a butter bar the first time on the range.
Described as humorous, this book is perhaps entertaining and attention grabbing, but not funny in that sense. Nothing describing Viet Nam carnage can make me laugh…
There is a bit of vintage film nostalgia and a surprise Mama…with a knife…and a whiz ban finale.
By Len - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Quite a good book, start to finish. Maybe the good folks of will not appreciate it, but it was very interesting. A whole-heap of different
stuff / action happens to the main character in the span of 24 hours. There are some twists and turns, some surprises, but, I believe all of the
loose ends are tied up when the book is finished. A great book that you don't really have to over-think to get it. I, highly, recommend this book.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Take this trip to New York! 9 May 1997
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reminiscent of the "Out of Towners," this business trip to New York is tough on the hero but endlessly entertaining for the reader. Definitely one of McBain's best
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