A beat cop winds up on the trail of a deadly mugger, but when it suddenly gets personal, his own life might be the next thing to be snatched….
©1956 Ed McBain (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
“The 87th Precinct [is] one of the great literary accomplishments of the last half-century.” (Pete Hamill, Newsday)
“McBain has the ability to make every character believable - which few writers these days can do.” (Associated Press
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).
It was a coincidence that I happened to read both books during the seasons that they were written about. I was impressed with Mccains atmospheric writing, perhaps because I experienced the seasons as he described them. He was able to capture a feeling of the city, in part because of the different seasons.
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.
"You know her tossed head in the auburn crowns of molting autumn foliage, Riverhead, and the park. […] You have seen her naked streets, have heard the sullen murmur of the wind in the concrete canyons of Isola, have watched her come awake, alive. […] She is big and sprawling and dirty sometimes, and sometimes she shrieks in pain, and sometimes she moans in ecstasy.
But she could be nothing but a woman, and that’s good because your business is women.
You are a mugger."
- Ed Mccain from "The Mugger"
By todays standards Mccain's writing may seem quaint, but it captures the essence of 1950's cop novels.
The 87th precinct is a series that you can easily get sucked into. I don't read a lot of books, but these are so well written that I feel like I've known the characters for a very long time. They read very easily, I even catch myself laughing, or getting excited at appropriate times during the story.
I have loved the 87th precinct novels since I stumbled upon the first one about three decades ago. I have read them all in print multiple times. I was disappointed when I joined audible that there wasn't any available and waited impatiently for them to be produced. Unfortunately, when they finally became available, it was with Dick Hill reading them. I do not like this reader he ruins the story for me. I will continue to purchase these books because I love McBain's works but I can only stand to listen to them one book at a time with long breaks in between. I wish they had used George Guidall or Richard Ferrone (he does wonderful with the John Sandford "Prey" books). With either of those readers I wouldn't have been able to stop listening to marathon 87th! Any chance for a redo with either of these readers?
I don't like the way he reads. His characterization sounds terrible and he overacts in his reading.
Please find another place for Mr Hill. He needs to stop reading books for you.
First, Dick Hill's narration is perfect for this series. Dark, gritty, somewhat sarcastic. Very well done and good distinction in voices and dialects.
Ed McBain, or Evan Hunter, was a prolific hard-boiled detective novel. The 87th Precinct series is the culmination of his work.
The Mugger is not extraordinarily suspenseful. It is a systematic, procedural manual that mixes the character development with the building plot. It's not a whodunit, in that you're not likely to guess the murderer, because the clues are very subtle. Maybe you will if you're sharper tan I, but the twist at the end took me by surprise. I could look back and see how it made sense, but was not able to put it together going forward.
All of his books are like that. I read the entire series starting in the middle in the early 1970s, but then quickly darting back to the first and pulling them from the library, used book stores, and catching up to grab a few newly arrived at the book store before Hunter died.
It's a great series and I urge it to be read in order from book 1 through the end. The characters grow, age, marry, mature, have kids, the kids grow up too. It's wonderful, dark and hard-hitting.
The book is an easy, enjoyable read. Nostalgic for those that grew up in the 50's. literary work it is not, a hard core police procedural it is. Characters are multi faceted and being developed further with each novel. Not much to add to all the previous accolades, just sit back and let the stories take you back to a simpler time before CSI forensics, when cops ruled, women wore skirts, and bulls were gods... Dick Hill provides a theatrical narration that brings you back to the days of radio, great job. Enjoy!!!
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