As a cop with the city’s famed 87th Precinct, Steve Carella has seen it all. Or so he thinks. Because nothing can prepare him for the sight that greets him on a sweltering July night: fellow detective Mike Reardon’s dead body splayed across the sidewalk, his face blown away by a .45.
Days later, Reardon’s partner is found dead, a .45-caliber bullet buried deep in his chest. Only a fool would call it a coincidence, and Carella’s no fool. He chalks the whole ugly mess up to a grudge killing…until a third murder shoots that theory to hell. Armed with only a single clue, Carella delves deep into the city’s underbelly, launching a grim search for answers that will lead him from a notorious brothel to the lair of a beautiful, dangerous widow. He won’t stop until he finds the truth—or until the next bullet finds him.
The debut novel from EdMcBain’s gritty 87th Precinct series, Cop Hater was hailed by the New York Times as “the best of today's procedural school of police stories—lively, inventive, convincing, suspenseful, and wholly satisfactory.”
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Ed McBain, a recipient of the Mystery Writers of America's coveted Grand Master Award, was also the first American to receive the Diamond Dagger, the British Crime Writers Association's highest award. His books have sold more than one hundred million copies, ranging from the more than fifty titles in the 87th Precinct series (including the Edgar Award-nominated Money, Money, Money) to the bestselling novels written under his own name, Evan Hunter including The Blackboard Jungle (now in a 50th anniversary edition from Pocket Books) and Criminal Conversation. Fiddlers, his final 87th Precinct novel, was recently published in hardcover. Writing as both Ed McBain and Evan Hunter, he broke new ground with Candyland, a novel in two parts. He also wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. He died in 2005.
Read an Excerpt
From the river bounding the city on the north, you saw only the magnificent skyline. You stared up at it in something like awe, and sometimes you caught your breath because the view was one of majestic splendor. The clear silhouettes of the buildings slashed at the sky, devouring the blue; flat planes and long planes, rough rectangles and needle sharp spires, minarets and peaks, pattern upon pattern laid in geometric unity against the wash of blue and white which was the sky.
And at night, coming down the River Highway, you were caught in a dazzling galaxy of brilliant suns, a web of lights strung out from the river and then south to capture the city in a brilliant display of electrical wizardry. The highway lights glistened close and glistened farther as they skirted the city and reflected in the dark waters of the river. The windows of the buildings climbed in brilliant rectangular luminosity, climbed to the stars and joined the wash of red and green and yellow and orange neon which tinted the sky. The traffic lights blinked their gaudy eyes and along The Stem, the incandescent display tangled in a riot of color and eye-aching splash.
The city lay like a sparkling nest of rare gems, shimmering in layer upon layer of pulsating intensity.
The buildings were a stage set.
They faced the river, and they glowed with man-made brilliance, and you stared up at them in awe, and you caught your breath.
Behind the buildings, behind the lights, were the streets.
There was garbage in the streets.
The alarm sounded at eleven P.M.
He reached out for it, groping in the darkness, finding the lever and pressing it against the back of the clock. The buzzingstopped. The room was very silent. Beside him, he could hear May's even breathing. The windows were wide open, but the room was hot and damp, and he thought again about the air conditioning unit he'd wanted to buy since the summer began. Reluctantly, he sat up and rubbed hamlike fists into his eyes.
He was a big man, his head topped with straight blond hair that was unruly now. His eyes were normally grey, but they were virtually colorless in the darkness of the room, puffed with sleep. He stood up and stretched. He slept only in pajama pants, and when he raised his arms over his head, the pants slipped down over the flatness of his hard belly. He let out a grunt, pulled up the pants, and then glanced at May again.
The sheet was wadded at the foot of the bed, a soggy lifeless mass. May lay curled into a sprawling C, her gown twisted up over her thigh. He went to the bed and put his hand on her thigh for an instant. She murmured and rolled over. He grinned in the darkness and then went into the bathroom to shave.
He had timed every step of the operation, and so he knew just how long it took to shave, just how long it took to dress, just how long it took to gulp a quick cup of coffee. He took off his wristwatch before he began shaving, leaving it on the washbasin where he could glance at it occasionally. At eleven-ten, he began dressing. He put on an Aloha shirt his brother had sent him from Hawaii. He put on a pair of tan gabardine slacks, and a light poplin windbreaker. He put a handkerchief in his left hip pocket, and then scooped his wallet and change off the dresser.
He opened the top drawer of the dresser and took the .38 from where it lay next to May's jewelry box. His thumb passed over the hard leather of the holster, and then he shoved the holster and gun into his right hip pocket, beneath the poplin jacket. He lit a cigarette, went into the kitchen to put up the coffee water, and then went to check on the kids.
Mickey was asleep, his thumb in his mouth as usual. He passed his hand over the boy's head. Christ, he was sweating like a pig. He'd have to talk to May about the air conditioning again. It wasn't fair to the kids, cooped up like this in a sweat box. He walked to Cathy's bed and went through the same ritual. She wasn't as perspired as her brother. Well, she was a girl, girls didn't sweat as much. He heard the kettle in the kitchen whistling loudly. He glanced at his watch, and then grinned.
He went into the kitchen, spooned two teaspoonfuls of instant coffee into a large cup, and then poured the boiling water over the powder. He drank the coffee black, without sugar. He felt himself coming awake at last, and he vowed for the hundredth time that he wouldn't try to catch any sleep before this tour, it was plain stupid. He should sleep when he got home, hell, what did he average this way? A couple of hours? And then it was time to go in. No, it was foolish. He'd have to talk to May about it. He gulped the coffee down, and then went into his bedroom again.
He liked to look at her asleep. He always felt a little sneaky and a little horny when he took advantage of her that way. Sleep was a kind of private thing, and it wasn't right to pry when somebody was completely unaware. But, God, she was beautiful when she was asleep, so what the hell, it wasn't fair. He watched her for several moments, the dark hair spread out over the pillow, the rich sweep of her hip and thigh, the femaleness of the raised gown and the exposed white flesh. He went to the side of the bed, and brushed the hair back from her temple. He kissed her very gently, but she stirred and said, "Mike?"
"Go back to sleep, honey."
"Are you leaving?" she murmured hoarsely.
"Be careful, Mike."
"I will." He grinned. "And you be good."
"Uhm," she said, and then she rolled over into the pillow. He sneaked a last look at her from the doorway, and then went through the living room and out of the house. He glanced at his watch. It was eleven-thirty. Right on schedule, and damn if it wasn't a lot cooler in the street.
At eleven forty-one, when Mike Reardon was three blocks away from his place of business, two bullets entered the back of his skull and ripped away half his face when they left his body. He felt only impact and sudden unbearable pain, and then vaguely heard the shots, and then everything inside him went dark, and he crumpled to the pavement.
He was dead before he struck the ground.
He had been a citizen of the city, and now his blood poured from his broken face and spread around him in a sticky red smear.
Another citizen found him at eleven fifty-six, and went to call the police. There was very little difference between the citizen who rushed down the street to a phone booth, and the citizen named Mike Reardon who lay crumpled and lifeless against the concrete.
Mike Reardon was a cop.
Copyright © 1956 by Ed McBain
Copyright renewed © 1984 by Evan Hunter
Table of Contents
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Ed McBain AKA Evan Hunter has set the standard for police procedural crime fiction. Nobody does it better. In fact, he is the single most influential American novelist in this or any genre.
This book was originally published in 1956. So a lot of the terminology and police techniques are way dated. I don't normally read anything this old, but I wanted to start this series from the beginning. I'm glad that I did. A lot of the slang terms used in this book were those which I had never even heard of. "Being heeled" was akin to our "packing heat" Little things like that kept things interesting for me. I liked that we learned things from different viewpoints, there wasn't just one protagonist. I liked that aspect of the book. And the "who-dun-it" part, I thoroughly enjoyed finding out who the bad guy was - it definitely wasn't who I thought it was!! I would definitely recommend this book.
I liked the deadpan style of this book. I look forward to the rest of the series.
I'd rather give this book 3.5 stars, but Goodreads limits me to whole star ratings. I see a lot of promise in this book series - and I know it's got a good reputation, so I'm looking forward to the other installments. It's possible that the narrator had more to do with my inability to rate this a full 4 stars than the actual quality of the storytelling. He was quite monotone and dry - not much passion. However, I did figure out who the main culprit was from pretty much the moment the character was introduced. So the big 'reveal' at the end wasn't really a reveal at all. But other than that, I enjoyed this first entry.
If I had forgotten why I liked Ed McBain, COP HATER would have made that process a whole lot easier for me. As it was, this was one novel of his that I knew I hadn't read (so why not start at the ground floor?), and this was a series I knew I enjoyed, mainly because it's built around a real (albeit made-up) world with a group of 87th Precinct detectives leading the charge, any of whom could end up on the cutting room floor at any time for any reason. If that isn't enough to scare you straight, then three dead bodies will certainly do the trick, all in less than 225 pages. Needless to say, I was picking grit and grime out of my teeth with a toothpick; I felt a sudden need to wear a shirt and tie; and despite living in New Mexico where humidity often becomes a distant mirage, I could cut through the air with my hand. Steve Carella packed more than enough punch for me, and he was probably my favorite male. Sure, he has his problems and his demons, but that only adds to his character, the way a scar might. As for the women, Alice Bush has more than her share of feminine wiles. She's a pleasure palace packed full of sin, and she turned a simple bedroom undressing into a legendary event, with a 100 piece orchestra not so far out of the equation. Which brings me to a tangent and possible spoiler, so you may want to avert your eyes now. *BEGIN SPOILER* When Carella meets with the recently widowed Mrs. Bush, the femme fatale of this tale, she is absolutely aware of her body and charms. "He had no doubt that even a potato sack would look remarkably interesting on the woman who had been Hank's wife." *END SPOILER* This novel was first written in 1956, and I must admit I'm a bit envious of those times. Forget the stick-thin, runway fashion models with breasts the size of peanuts and legs the size of anemic tree branches. Bring on the women with curves and backsides that can barely be described and legs that could suck the life right out of a man. If all women believe that stick-thin is the new utopia, I may just have to cry. End tangent. If you like your eggs hard-boiled, and you want more than a little realism in your fiction (circa 1956), then you'll probably want to wrap both hands around this novel and hold on tight. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
Ed McBain AKA Evan Hunter has set the standard for 'police procedural' crime fiction. Nobody does it better. In fact, he is the single most influential American novelist in this or any genre. Each installment of his 87th Precinct series is inventive and entertaining. I highly recommend them.