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Hark!: A Novel of the 87th Precinct    by Ed McBain order for
by Ed McBain
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Ed McBain must have been born writing. He not only is one of the most prolific writers I have come across but is also one of the best. Hark! is another novel of the 87th precinct in a city that is never named. Doesn't matter. Place the action wherever it suits you. And then sit back, read and enjoy.

As always, the story is fast-paced with lots of wonderful characters. I especially like Steve Carella with his deaf-mute wife Teddy. But the other members of the 87th are engaging also. Parker, Meyer Meyer, Cotton Hawes, Ollie, Genero, and Willis, Lieutenant Bryne each with their own agenda and all with a determination to catch their old nemesis. The 'Deaf Man' is back in town and taunts them with clues to what his next crime will be. With the help of a hooker with ambition, he is able to keep the squad room baffled, sending them to the Internet to interpret his literary clues.

Carella faces the marriage of his mother and her move to Italy. And his sister's coming marriage doesn't please him any more than his mother's. Several of the men have harsh words with their significant others. Ed McBain tucks all this into a thoroughly satisfactory read. Hark! is a cleverly thought out story, with each new clue hanging on the last. Suspense builds and races to an unexpected conclusion. I hope McBain has many more stories in that mental file of his.

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