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'Get out of your store by the 30th or I'll kill you...'
An 87th Precinct Novel --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Ed McBain was one of the pen names of successful and prolific crime fiction author Evan Hunter (1926–2005). Debuting in 1956, the popular 87th Precinct series is one of the longest running crime series ever published, featuring more than 50 novels, and is hailed as "one of the great literary accomplishments of the last half-century." 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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
Even his "bad" books are entertaining.
The Heckler, thankfully, was one of his better efforts.
Essentially, aside from the usual police procedural stuff, it's the story of "the deaf man", a sadistic logician/mathematician serial-killing ultra-thief super-squirmy recurring character (this is his first appearance, but he crops up in many of the later books in the series), who sets up an elaborate plot to steal two-million-plus dollars from a bank. That's the main section of the plot, and it links throughout the rest of the novel.
As usual with McBain, this was a quick read--I think I read it in two or three days--and it has some great, humorous dialogue, which helps the plot move along swiftly. The characters aren't filled out as much as they are in other books, but it doesn't detract from the read. My only real issue, I guess, was the ending. It seemed a little abrupt and as if McBain just wanted to tie it up in a nice bow, finish it, and get it over with.
It's not a standout book, but it's an enjoyable read; something to pass the time. Start at the beginning and work your way through the series.
McBain follows the poetic line with a calm, hopeful beginning in this 12th visit to Isola. He brings an air of shy innocence to the intro chapter with the cool, pale personification of the early Spring month being a gentle lady that cheers the populace with her approach. But on with the mayhem.
Carella is trying to solve the case of a close range shotgun killing - the victim stripped down to his socks. Meyer Meyer investigates a spate of threatening calls. It's good to see Frankie Hernandez getting a fairer crack of the whip than his first appearance.
This one really is a corker, with a villain who towers above the usual brand of none to smart lawbreakers, a Moriarty figure, a master of probability and percentages, who flaunts his complex scheme, inspired by the Sherlock Holmes stories, one of which Detective Kling coincidentally reads in the squad room - "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League".
McBain's writing is great here with so much going on from the absurdly intricate caper to the captivating collection of characters that doesn't end with just the regulars. Speaking of regulars - where's Cotton Hawes got to? Not that I'm missing him at all. From the gentle beginning, through the tangled investigation, true suspenseful tension and climactic finale I've got to say this was one of the best so far.
My edition had a fascinating little afterword by McBain on the book and the series so far. Miss at your peril.
I'd agree with some other reviewers here that the ending isn't the strongest, in fact McBain almost gets caught up in the technicalities and ingenuities of the scheme cooked up by the deaf man and his gang to the point where the 87th Precinct characters feel a bit secondary to what's going on. Having Carella once again take the brunt of the injuries dished out also doesn't work too well.
Thoroughly enjoying re-reading these fine titles on Kindle - although it is annoying to see that not all the titles are available yet, which will soon make reading them in order something of a challenge. Come on Amazon, get the rest of these titles out there.
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