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The Con Man (87th Precinct) Paperback – March 2, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 538 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Stephen King and Nelson DeMille on Ed McBain

I think Evan Hunter, known by that name or as Ed McBain, was one of the most influential writers of the postwar generation. He was the first writer to successfully merge realism with genre fiction, and by so doing I think he may actually have created the kind of popular fiction that drove the best-seller lists and lit up the American imagination in the years 1960 to 2000. Books as disparate as The New Centurions, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, The Godfather, Black Sunday, and The Shining all owe a debt to Evan Hunter, who taught a whole generation of baby boomers how to write stories that were not only entertaining but that truthfully reflected the times and the culture. He will be remembered for bringing the so-called "police procedural" into the modern age, but he did so much more than that. And he was one hell of a nice man. --Stephen King

Way back in the mid-1970s, when I was a new writer and police series were very big, my editor asked me to do a series called Joe Ryker, NYPD. I had no idea how to write a police detective novel, but the editor handed me a stack of books and said, “These are the 87th Precinct novels by Ed McBain. Read them and you’ll know everything you need to know about police novels.” After I read the first book--which I think was Let’s Hear It for the Deaf Man--I was hooked, and I read every Ed McBain I could get my hands on. Then I sat down and wrote my own detective novel, The Sniper, featuring Joe Ryker. My series never reached the heights of the 87th Precinct series, but by reading those classic masterpieces, I learned all I needed to know about urban crime and how detectives think and act. And I had a hell of a time learning from the master. Years later, when I actually got to meet Ed McBain/Evan Hunter, I told him this story, and he said, “I would have liked it better if my books inspired you to become a detective instead of becoming my competition.” Evan and I became friends, and I was privileged to know him and honored to be in his company. I remain indebted to him for his good advice over the years. But most of all, I thank him for hundreds of hours of great reading. --Nelson DeMille

To read about how Ed McBain influenced other mystery and thriller writers, visit our Perspectives on McBain page.

For a complete selection of 87th Precinct novels available from Thomas & Mercer, visit our Ed McBain's 87th Precinct Booklist.

About the Author

Ed McBain was one of the pen names of successful and prolific crime fiction author Evan Hunter (1926 – 2005). Debuting in 1956, the popular 87th Precinct is one of the longest running crime series ever published, featuring over fifty novels, and is hailed as “one of the great literary accomplishments of the last half-century.” 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.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Thomas & Mercer (March 2, 2012)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 214 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1612181848
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1612181844
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.4 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.47 x 0.67 x 8.19 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 538 ratings

About the author

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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

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
538 global ratings

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Top reviews from other countries

Terry
4.0 out of 5 stars Old fashioned but that's what I like
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 16, 2021
Jl Adcock
5.0 out of 5 stars Another masterclass in crime writing from McBain
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 20, 2013
One person found this helpful
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Gs-trentham
2.0 out of 5 stars Sorry I fell for it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 11, 2013
Surfer Nomad
5.0 out of 5 stars The Carellas are back
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FB Ings
5.0 out of 5 stars The con man
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