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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 November 2004
This, this first novel of McBain's 87th Precinct, is the one that set him on the path to greatness. Before I read it, I'd heard vaguely of him, but wasn't exactly rushing to start a series with over 50 entries. Now THAT, is impressive. In the 40 years plus since this series began, McBain has written a huge number of them, enough to make it [probably] the longest police procedural series ever. It also has the unique twist that there is no central character, but a squad-room full of them who are built upon book-by-book.
I read this book rather timorously, I was expecting it to be okay, no fireworks. To some extent, that's true - there are no fireworks, exactly, but it was so incredibly entertaining to read that I've now purchased every single entry that's currently available in Britain, and have started to gobble them up. So far, I highly recommend every single one.
McBain uses everything: forensics, psychology, melodrama, character, etc etc, to move his stories along. They're snappy, fizz with energy and wit, small bites of sarcasm, and are superbly enjoyable. That's as good a thing as can be said about a novel, really. This first entry is a rather simple story concerning a killer who seems out to get the boys of the 87th Precinct, but it clips along at a great pace, introduces us to some brilliant characters who just get better as the series progresses, and makes a brilliant tapestry of police investigation. I loved it. (Obviously, that's why I bought the rest.)
If you've never tried McBain before, this is an ideal place to start now that Orion seems to be reissuing them all, after having been out of print for so long. It's not a series which demands to be read in order, either (at least, I haven't, and I don't feel I'm loosing anything much) - which is a bonus, because attempting to read a 50+ entry series in order would b a rather daunting task.
McBain is certainly the master of this kind of American crime novel. I've never enjoyed a set of police procedural books more (well, apart from those of Henning Mankell). Pick one up today, because you won't regret it.
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This is the very first of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novels and was first published in the US in 1956 (although it wasn't released in the UK until 1958). In the introduction, Ed McBain explains how the series came about and why he decided to base the books on a squadroom of police detectives, as opposed to one particular hero, and why he opted for an anonymous city, loosely based on New York. Does it matter that the book is now somewhat dated, that the slang is obviously from another era and that the characters hardly age as you read through the series? Not at all. Ed McBain created a whole world around these characters and, if you do read this series, you will get to know, and love, them.

One of the main characters in this series is Steve Carella, who appears in this first novel. There is a heat wave in the city and the detectives are faced with enough problems when a member of the squad is gunned down in an apparently motiveless murder. When another detective is also shot, it is apparent that there is someone targeting the 87th Precinct - but why and who? If things were not bad enough, the press have their own ideas about the murders which make a bad situation infinitely worse. This is a fantastic start to a very long running series which, unlike most, just gets better and better.
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on 3 May 2004
This is the first book in a series of approximately 55 or so (and still counting!) McBain introduces you to the detectives of the 87th Precinct, particularly Carella, Meyer and Kling who feature heavily in the rest of this wonderful crime series.
The book opens with a cop murdered in cold blood with no clues as to who did it, as the detectives are left reeling over this mindless killing, another is killed, again with no real clues or suspects.
It's not a deep book where there are so many twists and turns that you get confused, but it carries enough weight to keep your interest up - I loved it and have since collected nearly all of the 87th series.
Can't recommend Cop Hater highly enough!
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on 20 February 2015
Badly written over described anti climax the worst book I have read period not recommended. The story should have been exciting but author made it very boring glad it's finally over would not recommend.
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VINE VOICEon 7 April 2013
Cop Hater is where Ed McBain started his long-running and brilliant series of 87th Precinct novels in 1956. Reading this slim book again now, it remains fresh, urgent and gripping. The template for all that followed is contained in this one volume, and the introduction by McBain also adds a sense of context to the groundbreaking approach he was taking back then.

The story itself holds up wonderfully well 57 years on from when it first appeared, and you can't say that about too much fiction in this genre. The sleazy, violent beauty of the city is drawn well, the characters all arrive fully formed and utterly believable, and the narrative is direct and pacy - a style that McBain honed and polished as the series developed. For the time, you get the feeling that the book must have shocked some readers, such is the blatantly violent and sensual nature of the material.

The Kindle version is well-formatted with no obvious typos, so the e-versions are certainly worth exploring. It is, however, a shame to have seen the price of the 87th Precinct series edge up by a couple of quid since they appeared in March. Under two pounds a shot makes them worth having, now at just under £4.00 for books this slim, they are not so much of a bargain. Cynical marketing I guess.

Pricing aside, it's fantastic to see these books out again. Anyone yet to discover the wonders of well-told, direct police procedurals in this series should start here and enjoy the journey. Often imitated - but simply never bettered, McBain was a genius at this form of writing.
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on 26 March 2016
It was alright. Having been used to Lee Child, James Paterson, Michael Connolly etc, I found it a little dull with none of the fast paced action and 'thrills and spills' which I enjoy. It's the first Ed McBain book which I have read though so I will reserve full judgement until I have read a few more.
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on 5 October 2014
I love the Ed McBain 87th precinct novels and bought 20 when there was a 'special' kindle daily deal.
It is great to follow the same characters in each book, they all take part in stories to a greater or lesser extent except Steve Carella who is a central pin but they all appear often.
I am glad Ed McBain wasn't encouraged to kill him off early in the series.
All the books are good thriller/cop stories/mysteries.
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on 3 October 2013
I bought this, well because I like detective stories, but also because it was an old story from the mid 1950's I have always imagined how old novels would read like and I wasn't disappointed. It's a very simple easy read, simple plot, although a nice twist at the end, simple characters who you come to like even though there isn't the in depth biography you get in this day and age. A nice simple light read, with the only thi9ng missing is the rain that wipes the slime from the walls, Instead its a heat wave.

If you'd like a quick light read, then this is your book. There is nothing to deep about it, it is just what it is, a nice easy pleasant read. I am looking forward to reading the second book in the series (The Mugger) and others thereafter.
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When you consider that this book was written almost 60 years ago it still seems modern. Not modern in the slang, lifestyle or procedures but in the writing. It has a rather sparse style but still manages to be very atmospheric. You can imagine the heat, the sweat and the detectives' tiredness. I read this book many years ago so the rather simple plot, someone shooting cops, was vaguely familiar but I had forgotten how immersed you get in the atmosphere.
The other reviews have confirmed what I already thought. If you want plot driven narrative Ed McBain is not for you but if you like to live in your reading then this is probably for you.
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VINE VOICEon 22 December 2014
It's thoroughly enjoyable, but the mystery is harder for the detectives to solve than for readers, most of whom will have worked it out well before the end. The characterisation is sketchy, but it doesn't detract; if anything it moves things forwards more quickly.
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