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Publisher's Summary

Christmas is coming. But erudite attorney Gerry Fletcher got his present early: His wife’s body with a knife buried in it. Though he shamelessly cops to being happy she’s dead, his alibi is airtight and all signs point to a burglary gone bad. But even when detectives Steve Carella and Bert Kling follow the clues to a junky punk and get a full confession, Carella can’t quit thinking there’s something about the case that’s as phony as a sidewalk Santa’s beard. Maybe it’s because the victim’s husband wants to pal around with the suspicious cop on a cryptic pub-crawl through the urban jungle. Or maybe it’s the dead woman’s double identity and little black book full of secret lovers. Whether she was Sarah the shrewish wife or Sadie the sex-crazy swinger, there’s more to her murder than just a bad case of "wrong place, wrong time". And Carella won’t rest till his cuffs are on the killer.

©1971 Hui Corporation (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Ed McBain is a master, and I thought Dick Hill was too...

Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct novels are classics of the police procedural genre. They are early, foundational books in the now long running tradition of no nonsense mysteries based firmly upon the routine work of homicide detectives. This one is no different. It’s a great entry in the series and is still highly readable and entertaining in 2018.

I’ve listened to and loved Dick Hill’s performances of several Harry Bosch novels. Before that, I always read Michael Connelly’s books. They’re terrific in either format, but Hill brings something very special to those stories and to the main character, and I now prefer listening to them. So I bought this book based solely upon these experiences, thinking narration would be a perfect fit for McBain’s books as well. Why wouldn’t it?

Well, for some inexplicable reason, Dick Hill decided to put on some new accent throughout this narration that I can only assume was his idea of what “tough guys” sounded like in McBain’s day. And it simply doesn’t work. In fact, it’s awful. It ruins the entire listening experience.

Just listen to the simple (I didn’t and I regret that now) to get an idea of what I’m talking about. He talks like that throughout the whole book, and I’m assuming that carries over into all the other 87th precinct books he did. What a shame this is. I still think Hill is a great narrator, but he (and his director/whoever else signed off on this choice of narration style) screwed up big time here.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A good choice

Discovered This story in Alfred Hitchcocks book The Best Of Mystery .The audio book is much better and the narrator did a great job of portraying each character.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • Atlanta, ga, US
  • 08-11-17

narration not a fit

I couldn't get into this because the narration didn't seem to fit the writing and I couldn't follow the sentences and diolouge shifts because the pauses and inflections and emphasis seemed to have no pattern.

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  • BDHumbert
  • Fort Pierce, FL, United States
  • 04-30-17

Another

Solid entry. This series has become my go to listen when I am not sure what I am in the mood for - never fails me