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Hark!: A Novel of the 87th Precinct Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Recovered from his wounds, the Deaf Man is bent on revenge and determined to rub the collective face of the 87th in the dust of his brilliance in McBain's latest zany romp. After striking first at the woman who betrayed him, the Deaf Man turns to taunting the 87th with cryptic hand-delivered messages (quotes from Shakespeare or anagrams) that are interpreted or misinterpreted with hilarious results. The saga of Fat Ollie's book, which began in Fat Ollie's Book (2003) and continued in The Frumious Bandersnatch (2004), resumes and promises to have a long life of its own. There are a lot of soap opera flourishes to the personal relationships of the 87th crew, and McBain milks them for humor and pathos. Steve Carella faces paying for the double wedding of his mother and his sister. Bert Kling knows his beautiful surgeon girlfriend is cheating on him. Cotton Hawes and his glamorous TV news girlfriend, Honey Blair, are under attack, but which one is the real target? It's vintage McBain, complete with pitch-perfect dialogue, subplots that thrust various precinct cops into the spotlight, a pace that encourages the reader to forget about dinner or a good night's rest, and a plot that teases and tantalizes from start to finish.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The Deaf Man is not a dead man. The brilliant criminal, double-crossed by his female partner in Mischief (1993) and left for dead, is back to make life miserable for the detectives of the 87th Precinct. The cops' frustration begins with the murder of the Deaf Man's former accomplice, a crime that leads the investigating officers down a dead end. But then come the notes, hand delivered to the precinct by a parade of junkies, prostitutes, and panhandlers, and containing combinations of Shakespearean quotes, encrypted anagrams, and palindromes. The Deaf Man is providing clues to the crime he is going to commit, if only the detectives are clever enough to decipher their meaning. As Steve Carella, Cotton Hawes, and Fat Ollie Weeks--who also has a lead on his missing novel (see Fat Ollie's Book, 2003)--struggle with the Deaf Man's missives, the Deaf Man himself is dealing with the fallout from his own nearly fatal flaw: underestimating his new female partner. Melissa Summers may be a hooker, but she's no victim and is slowly hatching her own plan as the Deaf Man executes his. McBain has written the series since the mid-1950s yet his key players keep evolving--there are always character-driven subplots woven carefully into the crime story--and the setting is always contemporary. McBain remains the quintessential Grand Master of the genre. If his name's on it, read it. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: A Novel of the 87th Precinct
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Star (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743476522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743476522
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.5 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,533,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ed McBain was one of the many pen names of the successful and prolific crime fiction author Evan Hunter (1926 - 2005). Born Salvatore Lambino in New York, McBain served aboard a destroyer in the US Navy during World War II and then earned a degree from Hunter College in English and Psychology. After a short stint teaching in a high school, McBain went to work for a literary agency in New York, working with authors such as Arthur C. Clarke and P.G. Wodehouse all the while working on his own writing on nights and weekends. He had his first breakthrough in 1954 with the novel The Blackboard Jungle, which was published under his newly legal name Evan Hunter and based on his time teaching in the Bronx.

Perhaps his most popular work, the 87th Precinct series (released mainly under the name Ed McBain) is one of the longest running crime series ever published, debuting in 1956 with Cop Hater and featuring over fifty novels. The series is set in a fictional locale called Isola and features a wide cast of detectives including the prevalent Detective Steve Carella.

McBain was also known as a screenwriter. Most famously he adapted a short story from Daphne Du Maurier into the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963). In addition to writing for the silver screen, he wrote for many television series, including Columbo and the NBC series 87th Precinct (1961-1962), based on his popular novels.

McBain was awarded the Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement in 1986 by the Mystery Writers of America and was the first American to receive the Cartier Diamond Dagger award from the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain. He passed away in 2005 in his home in Connecticut after a battle with larynx cancer.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ellis Bell VINE VOICE on August 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
A murderer obsessed with anagrams uses Shakespearean sonnets and plays to lead on the detectives of the 87th precinct. Who is the man known as the "Death Man," or "Adam Fen?" In this terse, tense book, Ed McBain takes his rider on an unequaled wild journey of crime and deception, through the streets of "the city" to find a killer. McBain's stark prose is sometimes difficult to understand, however, as the reader sometimes does not know who is speaking. But it is a well-written novel nonetheless.

Ed McBain is the pen name for Evan Hunter, a man who penned the script for the classic Hitchcock movie, The Birds. Here the author uses his knowledge of crime to craft another perfectly- executed story which is action-packed and a lot of fun.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Trinque VINE VOICE on July 24, 2004
Format: Unknown Binding
I've been reading Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series for three decades, although they have been around for almost 50 years. And the amazing thing is that they hold their quality. "Hark!" is no exception and is particularly enticing because the Deaf Man, the favorite villain of the 87th Precinct, is back with another bewildering puzzler of a complex crime design to befuddle and humiliate the boys (and one woman) of the 87th Precinct. When we last saw the Deaf Man quite a few volumes ago, it seemed as if he might have met his end, but not to worry. He is as devious and merciless as ever. And virtually the entire regular cast of the 87th Precinct (and friends) is back, too. Although the mystery of what the Deaf Man plans forms the basic skeleton of the story, the personal stories of the various detectives are carried another step forward also, as Steve Carella unhappily faces the double marriages of his mother and sister, and Bert Kling and Cotton Hawes deal with problems in their relationships with their women of the moment. And Fat Ollie is back. Plenty of action, plenty of puzzles ... it is classic 87th Precinct.

Two warnings: "Hark!" is NOT the place for a reader new to the 87th Precinct to start; there are too many back stories involved, without knowledge of which a reader will miss half of what is going on. And second, there are a couple of silly bloopers that good copyediting should have caught. In the very first chapter there is a careless math error that turns a conversation with the Deaf Man into gibberish, and later there is a misstatement that cartridges are not ejected from an automatic pistol (this statement should apply to a revolver). But those small quibbles aside, "Hark!" is a treat.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dave Schwinghammer VINE VOICE on September 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With the possible exception of Hannibal Lecter, no modern villain can hold a candle to McBain's Deaf Man, and with HARK!, he is back to torment Carella and the boys.

This time he is sending them anagrams and Shakespearean quotes, seemingly pointing toward his next caper. Ultimately they determine it has something to do with a violin concert or the theft of a first edition of the Shakespearean Folio, but neither pertains to the 87th and the messages seem to imply that the crime will go down on their turf.

Meanwhile, McBain juggles several other plotlines that flow naturally into each other. Carella is preparing for the double marriage of his mother and his sister and he's not happy about it. Two of the other detectives, Cotton Hawes and Bert Kling, have woman problems, and Ollie Weeks is still looking for his missing manuscript, along with helping out with the Deaf Man.

Since his style is so different from other mystery writers, McBain takes some getting used to. He seems to revel in breaking all of the rules. Throughout this one, he has the detectives gather around Carella's desk, trying to figure out the various messages. At least a half dozen of them contribute and their various contributions can be irrelevant and annoying; they act a whole lot like the Keystone Kops, and I suppose that's the point; McBain is teasing his own characters.

Something else I find remarkable is how well McBain mixes elements from the fifties (the first item in the 87th series appeared in 1956) with modernisms. His homicide detectives wear fedoras, for instance, and the apartments of some of the characters are anachronistic as well, but he also incorporates some modern political commentary and the use of modern technology. For instance, Carella's son helps him "Google" the Shakesperian quotes.

No other author since John D. McDonald has been able to balance mystery writing, social commentary and fun as well as McBain.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts VINE VOICE on April 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is not the book with which to start the series, as there are too many references to previous books. It's also not the best of the series as, while the clues were fun, they became tiring and I wanted to story to move along. There is an excellent secondary character to the Deaf Man, which was fun. If you're a fan of the series and have a plane to catch, take this along. Otherwise, I'd go back and start much earlier in the series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John R. Linnell on December 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ed McBain is a prolific author and also a very entertaining one. In this book about the 87th Precinct, The Deaf Man" has returned. I am of the opinion that a book should stand on it's own and you shouldn't have had to have read a prior novel which dealt with the same people to understand what is going on. I don't think this one measures up on that basis. The first chapter is a bit of a grabber and perhaps promises more than the book eventually delievers. The Deaf Man spends most of the book sending Shakespearean clues to the 87th Precinct which are supposed to help them figure out his next crime. Why he goes through that exercise is not clear to me and if I were you I would not get too bogged down in trying to figure out the clues. The rest of the cast of characters are in various stages of "being in heat" which is mildly entertaining. The Deaf Man's "sidekick" somewhat steals the show and is as memorable as any character in the book. If you have a plane ride in your future or plan to spend some time by the fire, this will keep you company quite nicely.
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