Book Review: King’s Ransom by Ed McBain

I decided it was time to return to the 87th Precinct and this proved to be another entertaining crime thriller.

It starts slow with some boardroom politics involving businessman Douglas King. Planning to pull off a big deal that will set him up for life there’s a bump in the road when King receives a call saying his son has been kidnapped. But his son returns and it transpires the kidnappers grabbed his playmate, the chauffeur’s son.

This brings the men of the 87th Precinct to investigate as the action switches between the Kings and their associates, the cops and the crooks. Will King pay the ransom for someone else’s kid? Can the cops work out who has the boy? And will the crooks stay together to pull off the job?

Like the rest of the series this benefits from McBain’s ability to write gripping, pulpy fare which is shot through with humour and a good sense of character. The shifting focus shows off his knack for creating characters that feel real and the action moves along at a decent pace.

It’s not the strongest in the series, but it’s a gripping thriller that I devoured in a matter of days, and McBain’s writing is clever and the wry humour works well.

Verdict: A solid, engaging thriller. McBain is a master of the genre and this one is entertaining. 7/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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