18 January 2011

Shotgun by Ed McBain

Genre: Police procedural
Year of publication: 1968
Series and no.: 87th Precinct, # 23
Setting & time: Isola, a fictional city in the USA, based on New York; contemporary

When I get tired of reading long detective stories I know I can always turn to Ed McBain. His books are generally (although not always) short, yet he still manages to put into them as much detail as some other authors need three times as many pages to convey. In Shotgun Carella and Kling investigate a gruesome double homicide by shotgun, while Meyer and his partner handle an unusual and mysterious stabbing of a woman in her apartment.

McBain wrote a spare style stuffed full of information and knew how to get across an amazing amount of information in a simple conversation, of which there are several in this story. He also managed to tell stories that were darkly funny, thrilling and interesting. The stories are also realistic. Most of the investigations described in the books are solved by good solid investigative work, coincidences that help the detectives along are never improbable, and it is usually by persistence that the cases are solved, rather than by leaps of logic, just like what one imagines real police work to be like. I like McBain’s work for these reasons and several others.

I have yet to come across an 87th Precinct book I didn’t like, and this one is no exception. 4 stars.

P.S. I have started reading my first non-87th Precinct McBain book. It will be interesting to see how it compares. Since it’s a “What’s in a Name” challenge book, there will be a review.

1 comment:

George said...

I'm slowly working my way through the 87th Precinct series (I'm reading KISS (#42). The quality of the series is high. I liked the early Matthew Hope books, but the later ones not so much