Thursday, October 30, 2014

Done: "Eight Black Horses" by Ed McBain

Done: Eight Black Horses by Ed McBain, 1985, 0877956812.

An 87th Precinct novel. This one has the Deaf Man.  Another copy from the stuff I own.

Just today I checked out a copy of this book to a lady who asks me for recommendations for her husband.  Her husband reads A LOT but I have never met the guy.  She comes in and gets all the books and I've recommended several authors.

What a great first chapter.  Carella and Brown are in a Isola CIty park where a naked dead woman was left. They are waiting for the medical examiner as the homicide dolts - er, Homicide Detectives - make wise cracks about the corpse's ass. McBain has the sparse sentences on the men and uprigth observations about the weather and sky.

Anyway. The city park across the street from the 87th Precinct. The Deaf Man starts sending Carella letters with photocopied images on white paper. The letters start in October and you soon figure out that each letter - police uniform hats, black horses, handcuffs, etc. - are intended as a 12 Days of Christmas.  The Deaf Man has something big planned and once again he is taunting the Detectives with vague clues. This time the Deaf Man is after money and revenge. Money from a cash robbery at a major department store and revenge against the detectives who have foiled and shot him in previous novels.

Carella is the primary Detective and he and the others are left scratching their heads. DO they try and play along with the Deaf Man's game of vague clues? Is doing so worth the effort and time? Carella catches a break when the Deaf Man impersonates Carella, beds a bar hopper, and leaves the woman.  The woman tracks down the real Carella demanding more sex and abuse. (The Deaf Man is very controlling.)  Bar Hopper is the only one who has seen the Deaf Man enough to describe him and help the 87th to find him. But, she is also enamored with the Deaf Man, lets him inside her apartment, says she already spoke to the real Carella, and is killed for her foolishness.

The Deaf Man is incredibly ruthless and kills without regrets.  Don't read the book if you are a horse lover. The Deaf Man's cash robbery goes awry and one of the dopey Detectives discovers the Deaf Man's time bomb set within the precinct house. Deaf Man walks away and the Detectives breathe sigh of relief.

1. No Fat Ollie Weeks. What is Weeks's first 87th appearance? I suppose I could look that up.
2. Are they any 87th Precinct novels longer than 250 pages? McBain is so concise he only needs about 200 pages anyway.
3. Fat Ollie Weeks's "novel" only ran about 30 pages or so, didn't it?

No comments: