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The Gutter and the Grave (Hard Case Crime #15) - Ed McBain "The name is Cordell. I'm a drunk. I think we'd better get that straight from the beginning."

After reading the first three opening sentences, I knew then that I would love this book.

I've heard the name Ed McBain so for many years, reading other books, being referenced and remembering the movie The Blackboard Jungle (based on his book) but had never read a word he had written so this was my first.

Written in 1958 it's considered noir (which I love) so I wasn't disappointed there. I haven't been able to come up with number but from what I've read he's written more than 74 books, his most famous being the 87th Precinct series. In the more than 87th Precinct's 40 books, there's not one central character but a group of cops each with his own personality bringing something unique to the table. One professional reviewer stated that TV series such as Law and Order, Hill City Blues and others featuring groups of officers wouldn't exist if not for McBain's 87th Precinct. (McBain did attempt to file suit against one series.)

This stand alone was great, better than great, with clear dialogue and plot. His to the point writing in the first person was first rate. There were even some tongue-in-cheek moments of humor which added levity to the situations.

Matt Cordell, the owner of a successful P.I. office with four men working for him, took a fast trip to the Bowery after he found his wife (who dearly loved) cheating on him with one of his own employees.

An old school buddy who found Cordell in the Bowery asked him to assist with a simple problem and after some convincing with liquor, Cordell agreed. This set him up for a sober look at the problem which quickly turned into a murder. Then another murder.

I loved the character because he became so real to me because of McBain's writing. And the story itself moved fast. While I'm not too good or successful at determining the 'who dun it' I was able to sort this out before the ending. Close to the end, but not at the end.

This is one author I will pick up any time although I need to remember his name(s) because he wrote under more than four pen names (for different genres.) His real name was Evan Hunter, although he changed it legally in 1952 to Hunter from his given Italian name. Needless to say when I find an author I like, I read his biography.