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Ed McBain was born in New York City. Married Anita Melnick, 1949 (divorced), 3 children (Ted, Mark, Richard); married Mary Vann Finley, 1973 (divorced), 1 stepdaughter (Amanda); married Dragica Dimitrijevic, 1997.
During World War II he served in the US Navy, and then took a university degree, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. A few months of teaching in high school were followed by a job in a literary agency in New York. He describes himself at this time as "fiercely ambitious", doing a full day’s work in the agency and spending all his nights and weekends writing. His first success, published under the name Evan Hunter, was THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE (1954) — a tough novel of New York life, about an idealistic teacher in a slum high school. It was later made into a film with Glenn Ford and Sidney Poitier.
Since then he has written more than eighty novels, writing under several names, but most famously as Evan Hunter and Ed McBain. He has also written many screenplays, including the one for Hitchcock’s film THE BIRDS. As Ed McBain, he is the author of the 87th Precinct novels, the longest, the most varied, and possibly the most popular crime series in the world. These novels are about a team of policemen, usually including Detective Steve Carella, and are set in an "imaginary city". There are fifty-two 87th Precinct novels to date. The two most recent titles are THE LAST DANCE and MONEY, MONEY, MONEY.
Mystery Writers of America Award, 1957, for short story THE LAST SPIN. Grand Master Award, Mystery Writers of America, 1986, for lifetime achievement. First American to receive the British Crime writer’s Association Cartier Diamond Dagger, 1998. Frankfurt Origial e-Book Award, best fiction, 2002.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. The late (and much missed) Ed McBain is best remembered for his classic 87th Precinct police procedural novels, but this timely reissue by the innovative Hard Case Crime imprint reminds us of his protean talents. Hardboiled at its hardest, this novel was originally published 60 years ago (as 'The Proposition' by Hunt Collins) and follows the corpse-littered travails of a literary agent whose unpopular partner with a surfeit of female lovers has been murdered, with a Hollywood deal worth millions at stake. A trail of femmes fatales and shady individuals of all ilk, fast-paced pulp dialogue, evocative descriptions of places, people and feelings and a gripping first person narrative voice make this a true page turner and a testimony to McBain's storytelling talent as well as an exemplary thriller that hasn't aged one bit. Also features a bonus short story starring private eye Matt Cordell from the also recently resurrected 'The Gutter and the Grave'. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. The latest rediscovery in the enterprising Hard Case series that resurrects forgotten pulp classics, often by big name authors, or new titles in the tradition by contemporary writers, always with suitably garish and nostalgic covers suitably aligned to the gaudy subject matter. McBain is, of course, best known for his immense 87th Precinct series of police procedurals but he also made his apprenticeship in the pulps, and this novel, initially published almost 50 years back under his Richard Marsten pen name, is a breezy read with just the right amount of sensationalism, femmes fatales, noir tropes and adrenaline-fuelled action, is a perfect beach read (if you don't mind askew glances at to the cover...). Drugs, a terribly flawed main character with a a weighty sense of doom, jazz, melodrama, murdered vamps, razor-sharp dialogue, all the ingredients fit into perfect place. A guilty pleasure. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
July 2013 Guest Editor Cath Staincliffe on Cop Hater... McBain more or less invented the police procedural charting the daily work of cops in the big city. This was the first 87th precinct novel with an ensemble cast of characters who work in an atmosphere of camaraderie (and occasional conflict) and engage in banter as a way to cope with the demands of the job. Tropes that are now de rigueur for many police procedurals and have influenced my work.
His death earlier this year has resulted in only two books finished in what was going to be an on-going series about women whose lives or children are suddenly threatened. This centres on kidnapped children in Florida and their motherâs desperate attempt to find them. He is very good.Comparison: Tony Hillerman, James Lee Burke.Similar this month: John Case, Laura Lippman.
First in a new series from this top notch crime author, each of which will feature an endangered woman whose life, or childrenâ€™s lives are threatened
This is Ed McBain back at his best. This latest novel is set in the infamous 87th precinct. Kidnapped hip hop stars and references to Lewis Carroll as well as Fat Olieâs new romance with a voluptuous cop make this a different kind of police procedural novel thatâs witty and fresh as well as a strong story.
The call comes from Narcotics, Manhattan South. A low-level drug dealer just got caught in a buy-bust, and he's ready to spill his guts. It wouldn't be a priority-especially not four days before Christmas-but the thug just mentioned the Mafia, and that means all hands on deck. It's just what Michael Welles has been waiting for. An assistant district attorney with a burning hatred of organized crime, he'll do anything for a crack at the mob. He's about to get a chance to bring down the whole clan-but his loved ones' lives are at stake. The dealer they arrested is an unlucky gambler whose debts put him smack in the middle of two of New York's most powerful crime families. Following the man's lead, Michael sets up a massive eavesdropping operation intended to trap the ruthless new leader of the local mob-but what he hears on the other end of the wiretap will make him doubt everything he knows about his family, his wife, and himself. From the legendary Ed McBain, who "e;virtually invented the American police procedural with his gritty 87th Precinct series,"e; Criminal Conversation is as realistic as it gets (The New York Times).
Private detective Curt Cannon has lost his wife, his license, and his will to live, and now all he wants is to crawl into the bottom of a bottle and wait to die. He's in the middle of a bender when Peter D'Allessio finds him and begs him to help get his addict son off the needle. Unwilling to be distracted from his own self-loathing, Curt tells Peter off. Dejected, the little old man is stepping out the doorway when two bullets tear through the air, leaving him dead on the floor of a fetid dive. Curt wants nothing to do with this rotten case, but the mystery has him by the throat and won't let go. To bring the dead man justice, he'll have to climb out of the gutter and remember what it means to be a detective. The story that introduced Curt Cannon, "e;Die Hard"e; is as gritty as mysteries come. Along with the five other stories in this remarkable collection, it's a testament to the limitless talent of Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Ed McBain.
After an intense heat wave, storms threaten to blanket New York City, and three boys walk across town with knives in their pockets and murder on their minds. They're tough kids in combat boots, crossing into Spanish Harlem to pick a fight. And when they see one of their intended victims, they surround him, draw their knives, and plunge their weapons into the poor boy's gut. The attackers flee, and blood pours down the victim's lifeless body, mingling with the sudden rain. But despite the showers, nothing will be able to extinguish the full-blown panic that threatens to set the city aflame. Prosecuting the case falls to Hank Bell, a Harlem-born district attorney with a solemn sense of civic duty. As the case threatens to unravel, Hank will be the only thing that stands between his city and blood-spattered anarchy. The inspiration for John Frankenheimer's classic film The Young Savages, this is a hard-eyed look at a city on the edge of chaos, written by a man who understood urban crime better than anyone else: legendary crime writer Ed McBain.
For the first time since their daughter was born, Zachary and Mary Blake are taking a trip alone, calling it it their second honeymoon. After months of vicious infighting at his broadcasting job, Zach is looking forward to a relaxing vacation on Martha's Vineyard, a paradise untouched by time. But the respite won't last for long. When Mary's body is discovered, the coroner deems it accidental drowning, but Zach can't accept that. One year later, he returns to the island to find proof that his wife was murdered. He has a letter from a resident claiming to know the true story of Mary's death, but when he goes to meet his correspondent, she's been gruesomely murdered. With his nine-year-old daughter, Penny, by his side, Zach begins asking dangerous questions. Unhinged by grief, he'll do anything to find out what really happened, but every move he makes puts Penny's life in greater danger. A hard-driving suspense story, Even the Wicked is a classic crime novel. Written by Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Ed McBain, it explores the terrifying truths lurking in the shadows of a small, sleepy town.
Her name is Nanny, and she's the most cutthroat woman in New York. Prim, slender, and dangerously English, she's responsible for the care of Lewis Ganucci, a spoiled brat whose father just happens to control the city's largest crime syndicate. Working on Mr. Ganucci's sprawling Westchester estate is a dream . . . until Lewis disappears. Mr. Ganucci is vacationing in Capri, and Nanny sees no reason to inform him that she lost his boy. The kidnappers want $50,000, and if she can scrape it together before the boss gets back, she has a shot at staying alive. She recruits a mid-level enforcer, Benny Napkins, to help her get the cash and save the boss's son, kicking off a chain of events so outrageous and delightful that Nanny will die laughing-if she doesn't get whacked first. An uproarious story of kidnapping, extortion, and cold-blooded murder, this is Ed McBain at his best. If you love Damon Runyon or a great Robert De Niro comedy, you'll enjoy this entertaining romp about a mobster on a rampage.
To escape the daily grind, Steve Richmond leaves his advertising firm for a vacation on Lake George, hoping for two weeks in paradise. Instead, he finds mosquitoes, a drafty cabin, damp blankets, and locals desperate to take him for every penny he's worth. On the bright side, there are plenty of beautiful girls, and the adman has just settled in when he finds one at the end of his dock, stark naked and dripping wet from a swim in the lake. They share a cigarette and a kiss, and Steve is starting to feel love's bloom . . . until he meets her sister. Caught between two women, Steve's vacation takes another cruel turn when he returns to his quarters after a day on the lake to find one of the locals with an icepick buried in his back. There's no doubt the sisters are involved. To survive his vacation, this executive will have to find the killer, but first, he'll need to overcome the temptation of the ladies of the lake. Don't Crowd Me is one of the first novels published by Ed McBain-who went on to become one of the greatest crime writers of the twentieth century-and showcases the mastery of character, storytelling, and blood-red suspense that would make the author a legend.
Phil Colby is just cruising into Sullivan's Corners when the motorcycle cop flags him down. Phil isn't worried; he wasn't speeding, and as a city cop on holiday in a neighboring state, he expects a certain amount of understanding. But the local cop is unimpressed by his brother in blue, and he doesn't buy the story that he borrowed the car from a fellow detective. He drags Phil in for questioning, and a relaxing vacation becomes a nightmare. When Phil and his fiancee, Ann Grafton, finally get free of the local force, the only place they can find to stay is a room in a sleazy motel on the edge of town. When Phil steps out from a shower, there's an underage prostitute in his bed, blood on the walls . . . and no sign of his beloved Ann. To find her, he'll have to tear Sullivan's Corners apart-and destroy the evil that lurks beneath the surface of this peaceful country town. A grim story of sexual slavery, Vanishing Ladies is a novel ahead of its time. From the legendary Ed McBain, creator of the famous 87th Precinct series and screenwriter of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, this is noir at its rawest.
Inside the concrete walls of Bernard High, brutal young men scrap for survival, fighting with their wits, their knives, and their guns. Brawls are common in the hallways, and more than one student has been carried out on a stretcher this year. Now, Mr. Kemp is the next target. A mild-mannered teacher in far over his head, he's about to be thrust into the middle of a string of muggings happening right inside the school. It's a jungle in there, and Kemp is at the bottom of the food chain. A tale of animal justice in a school ruled by the power of the switchblade, "e;The Jungle Kids"e; is an incredible story. Along with "e;To Break the Wall,"e; it served as the inspiration for The Blackboard Jungle, the novel about a cutthroat inner-city school that was adapted for the screen and made Ed McBain a household name. With twelve stories of crime, violence, drugs, and gangs, most of which were originally published in the legendary pulp magazine Manhunt, this collection showcases city life through the eyes of disaffected teenagers. What could be more terrifying?
When Claire Cole meets a sailor at the hospital, he's just another enlisted man in need of her care . . . until he mistakes a nurse's compassion for true love, and a few dates as the beginning of a grand romance. But then Claire visits the USS Sykes to tell him that it's over, and something in him snaps. He curses. He begs. And when that doesn't work, he gets angry, wrapping his hands around her throat and squeezing until he sees the life leave her eyes. The nurse's death sends a shockwave through the ship, and the brass immediately start an official investigation. When a yeoman sailor commits suicide, the men in charge are content to write him off as the killer, but communications officer Chuck Masters doesn't buy it. There's a murderer on the Sykes, and Chuck must find him before he claims his next victim. Drawing heavily from firsthand experience-legendary author Ed McBain served on a naval destroyer during World War II-Murder in the Navy, also published as Death of a Nurse, showcases a master of crime fiction at his best.
For three generations, footwear company Julian Kahn has been synonymous with high fashion. And for Raymond "e;Griff"e; Griffin, head of Kahn's cost department, it would be a perfect place to work were it not for Mr. Kurz. A petty tyrant installed by the bank when ownership's grip on the company began to slip, Kurz has made the life hell for every one of his employees. When he's fired, Griff and the other executives rejoice, unaware that things are about to get a whole lot worse. The Kahns are selling the company to multinational conglomerate Titanic Shoe, and to oversee the transition, Titanic sends the devil in the form of Jefferson McQuade. A brute of the boardroom whose specialty is psychological warfare, McQuade hasn't come to oversee a merger, but to break the company's soul. His first target is Griff, but this exec has never been one to back down. In the battle for Julian Kahn, the stakes are far higher than the cost of a simple shoe factory: Griff will have to fight for his life.
Robbing the cars is Jobbo's idea. Frankie just goes along because it's too hot to do anything else, and he can't resist easy money. They walk along the East River, reaching into open windows and taking whatever they find. Mostly, it's just junk, until Jobbo picks up the .45. It's fully loaded, with the safety off, and Frankie is holding it when the cops come around the corner. The police open fire, and Frankie shoots back. What else is he supposed to do? Before he knows it, both cops are down, and he and Jobbo are running to meet their connection: the Big Man. With the gun in his hand and two fallen cops at his back, Frankie has a shot at becoming a "e;big man"e; himself, unless the law catches up with him first. A stunning portrait of urban crime, Big Man is vintage Ed McBain. A Mystery Writers of America Grand Master and the creator of the 87th Precinct series, McBain knew the dark side of New York better than anyone else, and in the city's shadows, there's no creature more terrifying than the Big Man.
As soon as he arrives, Sam Eisler can see the train station is too busy. His clients would like the job done there, but if he kills a man in that kind of crowd, he'll never get away-and Sam is here to commit homicide, not suicide. The target is a famous man, and his bodyguards will shoot an assailant on sight. Better to catch them unaware. Just outside of town, Sam spots a bridge and comes up with a new scheme: He'll blow it up, destroying his mark in an instant, and all his problems will be solved. But nothing is ever as easy as it seems. The professors and students of a local college have hired Sam to carry out this hit, a political killing that will change the course of the country. His contact is Sara, a beautiful young scholar whose boundless idealism entrances him. As Sam plans the murder, they begin an affair, and he finds himself falling in love. He came here looking for a reason to kill-in Sara, he may discover a reason to live. This remarkable thriller from the author of the 87th Precinct series is set in a world where all political resistance has been stamped out. For Sam and Sara, the revolution will start when the bridge explodes.
Andrew Mullaney has the money to get to Aqueduct Racetrack, but nothing to bet once he gets there. It's a tragedy, because today he's got a sure thing: a filly named Jawbone who's guaranteed to win. Desperate, Andrew asks every hood he knows to spot him fifty bucks, tapping chess hustlers, pool sharks, and hoodlums of every stripe, until, finally, he asks the wrong man-who responds by tossing Andrew out the door and down a flight of stairs. For this degenerate gambler, life is hard . . . and it's about to get a hell of a lot harder. When a gleaming black Cadillac pulls up in front of him, and a man hops out wielding a Luger and telling him to get in the car, Andrew has no choice but to say yes. Little does he know, he's just stepped into the adventure of a lifetime, and by the end of it, he'll be rich, dead, or something far, far worse. A suspenseful, humorous yarn perfect for fans of Prizzi's Honor or Analyze This, A Horse's Head is one of the wildest New York stories ever written. From legendary Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Ed McBain, every page is a laugh-out-loud delight.
Sonny Hemkar is a doctor in a rough part of Los Angeles, a resident whose days and nights are an endless parade of bullet wounds, cracked skulls, knife-wielding addicts, and innocent victims who don't understand what's happening to their neighborhood. Sonny is just as frightened as they are, but he can't let it show. The son of Indian immigrants, he's dedicated to his studies, and determined to escape this neighborhood before it drags him down. . . . At least, that's what he tells women. In reality, Sonny is a Libyan sleeper agent, embedded deep within the United States for a single terrifying purpose: to assassinate President George H. W. Bush. At long last, he gets his call to action, and speeds to New York to carry out his plan. As every law enforcement agent in the country works to protect the president, Sonny sneaks past them all, designing an intricate plan to turn the world upside down. Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Ed McBain delivers a chillingly realistic suspense novel in the tradition of Frederick Forsyth's The Day of the Jackal. Scimitar's razor-sharp edge cuts right to the bone.
Johnny Lane is outside the Apollo when he sees Luis, and rage floods his veins. Every tough in Harlem knows that Luis tried to rape Johnny's girl, and that means he has to die. Johnny comes out swinging, but Luis is wearing brass knuckles, and he almost kills Johnny before the fight gets broken up. A few weeks later, as a brutal winter settles over New York, Johnny is walking down the street when he hears the gunfire. Luis has been shot dead. Johnny runs without thinking, because it's bad news for a black man to get caught near a corpse, but the cops catch up with him anyway. He didn't shoot Luis, but he had a motive, and that's good enough for the New York Police Department. Cornered, alone, and helpless, Johnny has no choice but to find the real killer-or spend the rest of his life on the run from the cops, his friends, and his girl. A hardboiled story of a friendless man hunted by the police, Runaway is vintage Ed McBain. It's a story of life on the margins of a merciless city, from an author who knew the dark side of New York better than anyone.
Alex Hardy is the finest thief in New York City. A crib burglar, he robs apartments-never hotels, never offices, never liquor stores, never jewelers. Strictly apartments, and strictly during the day. He's paranoid, ready to cut and run as soon as a job turns sour-he's already been to prison once, and he doesn't plan on getting caught again-but he's about to get the offer of a lifetime, the big make he's always been looking for. How can he say no? This could set him up for life-but it could also send him back to Sing Sing for good. The stake revolves around Daisy, a one-legged hooker who spends Thursday afternoons at the home of a Westchester millionaire. It would be simple if Alex wasn't increasingly distracted by Jessica, his square neighbor who has no idea he's a burglar and seems to like him. Between these two very different women lies the biggest opportunity of Alex's life. Will he get his hands on it before the alarms start to sound? A heist story in the tradition of Lawrence Block or Donald E. Westlake, Doors is a brilliantly detailed story of how to steal-and why-from legendary Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Ed McBain.