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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two Novels Co-Written By One Author, 21 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Candyland (Paperback)
Candyland was co-written by two writers, who are actually the same writer: Ed McBain and Evan Hunter. The novel is split into two sections, two distinct parts, like two novels put back to back: the one written by Evan Hunter--and the one written by his pseudonym Ed McBain. (In actual fact both names are a pseudonym for his real name, but I can't be bothered to get into that before this whole section gets too convoluted and confusing).

It's an interesting premise, albeit narcissistic and egomaniacal in a way. The first part of the novel is about a sex addict called Benjamin Thorpe who is in New York for the night, away from his wife, and he's looking for sex. And it's pretty hilarious. It had me hooked and I kept laughing throughout. It's by far the strongest section of the two, and could easily be sold separately as a novella, with only a tweak or two to the end, just to give it more of a conclusion.

The second part, the Ed McBain part, is told from the perspective of a rape-homicide detective Emma Boyle, who is investigating the death of a hooker. In the first part of the novel, Benjamin Thorpe came into contact with this same hooker, and along the way he naturally becomes a suspect, thus tying the two sections of the novel together. We, the readers, do not know whether he has killed the hooker or not, so the suspense and mystery is sustained throughout the second part and it definitely holds the attention, although not as much as the first. It's enjoyable--but compared to Evan Hunter's first part, it doesn't quite match up. The first book is funny and engaging, whereas the second part is a by-the-numbers cop investigation, Ed McBain's forte.

However, this didn't ruin my enjoyment of the novel at all. Read separately, the two parts could work on their own, and read together they work nicely too, one story complimenting and alluding to the other. It's just a good read, a fun novel written by two of the greats--meaning one of the greats, Ed McBain, who unfortunately passed away after a long battle against cancer a few years back.

But a word of warning: if you're offended by swear words, or you're a prude, you shouldn't read this--both plots revolve around sex and the language is explicit from page one.

For everyone else, make sure you check it out, especially the first section. You'll (probably) love it.
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Location: London

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