When a sniper begins gunning down cops from the 87th Precinct in cold blood, it’s up to Detective Steve Carella to solve the case. With three cops already dead, Carella delves into the city’s underworld to search for the killer.
©1990 Ed McBain (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
“McBain has the ability to make every character believable - which few writers these days can do.” (Associated Press)
“McBain forces us to think twice about every character we meet…even those we thought we already knew.” (New York Times Book Review)
Really enjoyed this trip down memory lane. This police procedural takes you back to a time before CSI forensics and the "bulls" were the king of the streets and tough as nails. Corruption, abuse, and sex was part of a "bulls" every day life. being nice did not solve crimes. I find McBain's characters to be realistic and not as one dimensional as Elmore Leonard. Light, entertaining stories with a nostalgic flair. I recommend and am in the process of reading "The Mugger".
First of all, it's cops, it's hardboiled detective fiction, it's an old, old book, and Dick Hill narrates. For a mystery buff, that's all it should take to buy this novel.
One feature this book has that I really appreciated is the author's preface from the late Evan Hunter (née Salvatore Albert Lombino). In it Hunter/McBain tells the backstory of the 87th Precinct series. Despite the fact I had read the entire series, it answered questions about why and what went into the books.
One of McBain's techniques was inserting police forms and criminal notes into the book, these visuals don't translate well and slow the book's flow, but I don't know how else the audio team could handle them.
The book is the first in a series and it's crucial to begin to learn the members of the Precinct and watch them grow, age and evolve over the next 25 or so books. They grow, marry, divorce, die, kill, and solve crime after crime. Police tactics and interaction with citizens, witnesses and criminals also evolve. Remember that the first book predates the Miranda warning.
The books are hardboiled detective fiction. Gruff, growling dialogue, vivid narration, and you'll be enthralled. The books show their age in slang and idioms, but over all it's groovy. Oh wait, that'll be in like, book 15 or so.
So download, pour yourself a rye on the rocks, turn off all the lights but the one by your chair, and listen. Dang, you'll love it. Just remember when it was written.
The first book "Cop Killer" was set against a heatwave in the middle of Summer.
The second book "The Mugger" takes place in Fall (Autumn).
I happened to read both books during the seasons they were written about. I was impressed with McBain's atmospheric writing, perhaps because I experienced the seasons as he was describing them.
McBain describes the city as if it were a woman (his words) and the reader can thus feel the dress sticking to her skin; Whether it is the sweltering summer sweat, or leaves falling around her ankles onto wet pavement.
Once the mood is set, the actors are introduced: the criminals and the crimes they perpetrate, the enforcers of peace, and the families at home.
“The body lay outside an abandoned, boarded-up theater. The theater had started as a first-run movie house, many years back when the neighborhood had still been fashionable. As the neighborhood began rotting, the theater began showing second-run films, and then old movies, and finally foreign-language films.”
- Ed Mccain from "Cop Hater"
By todays standards Mccain's writing may seem quaint, but it captures the essence of 1950's cop novels.
Surprising well written. Best part was Dick Hill's narration especially his description of the sudden rain after a heat wave in the era before AC. Beginning of Chapter 16.
First 2 minutes of Chapter 16; Dick Hill may be overly dramatic, but it's very entertaining!
Written during a time before CSI and Law and Order, Cop Hater takes the reader back to a time when police work was pounding the pavement. No technology, no women in the workplace, "foreigners" looked at as if they were exotic animals, smoking indoors and everyone dressed in their Sunday best, are just a few things that make Cop Hater so enjoyable. The reader has to figure out the who-dun-it without the cell phone records or DNA evidence. It makes you wonder, how did anything ever get done before David Caruso and his Aviator sunglasses?
Reading allows me to travel through time; to visit the world's unique and stunning places. To become somebody I am not... It is glorious.
Dick Hill is always excellent and he doesn't let you down with this books. At times it felt over-acted but my final judgment is that it goes with the style of writing. 1950s cop dramas have a completely different feeling than the modern mysteries I have read in the past couple years. This book feels old at times, and the narration plays into that vintage ambiance. However, it is well-done. The mystery is a good one. The protagonist is one I like and who seems more real and dimensional than others often do. I imagine I will read more of this series at some point.
Maybe - it would depend on what he was looking for
Probably not. The problem with classic fiction that "started the trend" is by the time you get to read it it has been copied and restructured over and over until it's lost its strength. I still really love Raymond Chandler and Rex Stout. I don't think that has happened to them yet.
No. I thought it was a pretty good performance. Sounded like a Walter Winchell news reel at appropriate times.
Gringo Sincero de Donde Crece la Palma
Enjoyed the politically incorrect language and attitude of the 87th precinct in images easily gleaned from Hugh Hefner picture books. Well crafted and very well voiced by Mr. Hill.
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