Read as part of CBR13Bingo: Self care. I collect Hard Case Crime novels and read at least one a month.
I’ve long wanted to finish at least one of the works of Ed McBain. I’ve tried, tried, and tried again with his 87th Precinct books but I just can’t get past the opening pages. I understand what he’s trying to do, and I really appreciate it. But they’ve just never clicked for me. He’s a good writer but I’ll be damned if I can engage with his work.
Many rank The Gutter and the Grave, an offering of his republished by Hard Case Crime, to be one of the best HCC books. Since I collect them for a hobby, I figured I might as well try one.
This is your typical Chandler knockoff from 50s hardboiled pulp fiction: alcoholic male with women troubles (here a divorce from his ex cheating on him) who despite a shabby appearance is still irresistible to women gets drawn into a case that goes bigger than he expected.
There’s not much to distinguish this from the rest of the genre of that era, but it’s a good starter novel for what it’s worth. There were some interesting twists although I figured where it was heading in the final third.
McBain would go on to bigger and better things and that’s good because whatever works for the 87th Precinct novel probably wouldn’t have worked here. Last thing we need is another booze soaked male PI with women issues.