Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct series goes from strength to strength as the eighth installment is an absolute belter. It hinges on one genius idea that McBain uses to create an incredibly tense and gripping thriller.
The plot sees a few of the cops of the 87th Precinct at the office when a woman enters looking for Steve Carella, who is out on a case. She decides to wait and raises suspicion before pulling a gun and a bottle of what she says is nitroglycerin and holding the officers hostage. She means to kill Carella when be arrives.
Carella, meanwhile, is working a case and trying to work out if a suicide is all it appears. And his wife Teddy, who has just found out she is pregnant means to meet him at the station.
Is the woman bluffing about the nitro? Can the cops she holds hostage work it out or stop her? Can they do it before Carella arrives?
It’s a fantastic read as McBain switches perspective between the different cops and teases Carmella’s return repeatedly. The tension builds impressively and the different characters are well realised. By the end I was powering through, utterly engrossed and captivated by the story.
It has the same wit and tough smarts of the others in the series but the contained setting and tense plot mean that this is probably the best one I’ve read so far.
Verdict: McBain crafts a sublime and gripping thriller which is hard to put down. He’s a writer of great skill and eight books in he continues to surprise and develop in the series. A fantastic read. 9/10.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.