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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (340 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ed McBain Narrator: Richard Ferrone Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2008 ISBN: 9781482978261
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Detective Matt Cordell was happily married once, and gainfully employed, and sober. But that was before he caught his wife cheating on him with one of his operatives and took it out on the man with the butt end of a .45. Now Matt makes his home on the streets of New York and his only companions are the city’s bartenders. But trouble still knows how to find him, and when Johnny Bridges shows up from the old neighborhood, begging for Matt’s help, Cordell finds himself drawn into a case full of beautiful women and bloody murder. It’s just like the old days—only this time, when the beatings come, he may wind up on the receiving end.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The late McBain had some serious noir chops…A strong cast of characters—from rival private eye Dennis Knowles to tailor’s assistant Dave Ryan—creates a tangled web of deceit, with lies piling up faster than tokens in a subway station.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Ed McBain’s novels are like a comfortable pair of shoes—they fit well, and by the end of the day you’re still glad you chose them…Ferrone’s style is all business, with a paced staccato delivery reminiscent of a classic radio program. The result is a performance in which the novel remains on center stage.”

    AudioFile

  • “It’s a testament to the depth of his talent that this little-known noir, practically forgotten since its 1958 publication, delivers intrigue, excitement, and humor that plenty of today’s writers would kill for.

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danyale | 2/12/2014

    " Classic mystery with dames and a down and out detective. A fun read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jamie VW | 2/9/2014

    " As a three-hour read, this book (an early Ed McBain, before he went by that pseudonym) feels like the sketch of a famous painter hanging nearby completed masterpieces, clearly offering up hints of brilliant writing within the detective genre, but not particularly satiating or gripping on its own. Fun and quick, perfect for a bus trip or flight. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve | 2/8/2014

    " A solid noir from the Hard Case series. McBain was a master of hard dialogue, and you'll get plenty of that with this early effort from him. You'll also get a great sense of late 1950s New York, with its jazz clubs, language and atmosphere. (I was reminded a bit of the wonderful early 1960s AMC series, "Mad Men.") In other words, the book is dated in all the right ways. On the downside, the murder "mystery" is a bit by the numbers, and I doubt anyone will be surprised at the ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sophie | 1/30/2014

    " Enjoyable mystery. Unusual that the hero is such a down-and-out character, but interesting to watch him pull himself up and slip back into detective mode to solve the mystery. I appreciated how the author was able to evoke the heat, the sounds, and the intensity of summer in New York City. And if I was a step or two ahead of the detective at the end, I was willing to overlook it for the street-level view of late 1950s-New York. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 1/26/2014

    " I love pulp fiction. It's quick paced, great dialogue, murder, mystery, twists, turns. This one is easy to read, there isn't much suspense, if you know there's going to be a twist and pay attention you can figure our who the killer is, so that wasn't a surprise, but it is taut enough to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. The great thing about this book is its protagonist. Matt Cordell is a broken man, his wife cheated on him, he lost his Private Detective license, and now he's just a bum and an alcoholic. Until a friend convinces him to look into a string of thefts at his tailor's business. Theft turns to murder and Matt gets drawn in to the investigation. However, what makes Matt such a great character is his trust, of everyone. He is just as hard-boiled and misogynistic as any PI in these kind of books, but for a detective he sure can't see through a lie very well. But that's not it, he just doesn't want to see through the lies. He goes through the motions of detective work, but he doesn't seem to do much detective work. Until you find Ed McBain uses this trust to Matt's advantage. Eventually all the lies pile on top of each other, until they've all fallen apart and the truth remains. Great book. Great character. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 James Johnson | 1/13/2014

    " starts off as a hardboil'd crime novel, quickly reveals it self a slightly better than average novel of plot twists. once the chandler formula of 'females as antagonist' becomes clear, the plot twists just become a bit annoying. an easy sunday read though. not bad, all considered. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas | 1/11/2014

    " Great, straightforward midcentury detective story by genius McBain. Great example of the genre, fast-moving and readable. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Greg | 12/28/2013

    " This was a pretty lame hard boiled crime novel. I had the mystery figured out with more than half the book left to go. There just wasn't enough misdirection to fool me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alison | 12/3/2013

    " A little racy, nothing amazing, but lots of fun. Pretty much exactly what you'd expect from the cover. Really short, good for a plane ride. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jake | 11/28/2013

    " Fun little Hard Boiled Crime Story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brent | 11/17/2013

    " Classic gritty hard boiled crime novel. Not fabulous but not bad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peter Martin | 11/6/2013

    " Terribly bleak and direct, with a suitably intricate plot. I'm discovering that I love certain hard-boiled 50s crime stories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Craig Childs | 4/22/2013

    " Everything you want in a noir mystery. Fast pace, a plot that is intriguing and (almost) plausible, dripping with atmosphere. The only reason it did not get 5 stars was the perfunctory and formulaic ending. Even so, highly recommended. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim | 12/16/2012

    " Definitely 3 stars. I might have given it higher marks if I didn't have it all figured out so early. It was just a little to simple & obvious. Well done, though. Likable characters, believable motives & setting. Very well setup & played out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tony | 6/20/2012

    " This one is pretty decent, but there are a ton of better Ed McBain books out there. I absolutely love the scenes that take place in the jazz hole, very cool. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frank Taranto | 1/24/2012

    " Typical early McBain, taut and terse. A drunk private eye saves the day and solves the crime. Originally published as I'm Cannon - For Hire under the psuedonym Curt Cannon. This is the second Hard Case Crime books I've read and they both were great fun. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Merril Speck | 1/13/2012

    " Not the best introduction to an author considered one for the greats of crime fiction. It's a minor pulp title from the late '50's. A drunken ex-P.I. takes a case from an old friend. Lies, sex, and murder ensue. Meh? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason Reeser | 12/24/2011

    " Great stuff. Quick read with great dialogue and sharp action. Lots of fun. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 7/10/2011

    " A joyous, guilty, pulp read. Lots of back stabs, mis-direction, and nihilistic angry men. Fun and quick to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 7/1/2011

    " Interesting to read an old-style detective yarn. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Craig | 12/2/2010

    " Early McBain doing a fair imitation of Mickey Spillane. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Corey | 11/4/2010

    " I had never read McBain. This was so much better than I had anticipated. Crackling good dialog. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kirsti | 7/14/2010

    " "She poured three inches of straight bourbon over the ice in her glass. 'Here's to murderers,' she said, 'the goddam world is full of them.'"

    Brief, entertaining noir from 1958. I guessed whodunnit, but that's OK. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Greg | 1/12/2010

    " This was a pretty lame hard boiled crime novel. I had the mystery figured out with more than half the book left to go. There just wasn't enough misdirection to fool me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frank | 9/22/2009

    " Typical early McBain, taut and terse. A drunk private eye saves the day and solves the crime. Originally published as I'm Cannon - For Hire under the psuedonym Curt Cannon. This is the second Hard Case Crime books I've read and they both were great fun.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim | 8/7/2009

    " Definitely 3 stars. I might have given it higher marks if I didn't have it all figured out so early. It was just a little to simple & obvious. Well done, though. Likable characters, believable motives & setting. Very well setup & played out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 7/26/2009

    " Interesting to read an old-style detective yarn. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alison | 5/21/2009

    " A little racy, nothing amazing, but lots of fun. Pretty much exactly what you'd expect from the cover. Really short, good for a plane ride. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 James | 5/18/2009

    " starts off as a hardboil'd crime novel, quickly reveals it self a slightly better than average novel of plot twists. once the chandler formula of 'females as antagonist' becomes clear, the plot twists just become a bit annoying. an easy sunday read though. not bad, all considered. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas | 4/17/2009

    " Great, straightforward midcentury detective story by genius McBain. Great example of the genre, fast-moving and readable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 5/2/2008

    " Fun pulp book. I am a HUGE fan of the Hard Case Crime series! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tony | 3/27/2008

    " This one is pretty decent, but there are a ton of better Ed McBain books out there. I absolutely love the scenes that take place in the jazz hole, very cool. "

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About the Author
Author Ed McBain

Ed McBain is the most well known pseudonym of Evan Hunter (1926–2005), the author of over eighty novels and several famous screenplays. He is a recipient of the Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award and the Diamond Dagger Award from the British Crime Writers Association. His books have sold more than one hundred million copies, ranging from the more than fifty titles in the 87th Precinct series to the bestselling novels written under his own name. McBain also wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

About the Narrator

Richard Ferrone has recorded over 150 audiobooks including thrillers, romances, science fiction, and inspirational novels. He has earned an Audie Award and four Audie nominations, including for Best Solo Male Narrator of 2003. He was also recognized as an AudioFile “Voice of the Last Century” and a “Rising and Shining Star.” He has earned nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards, including the 2011 Best Voice in Mystery and Suspense as well as the 2009 Best Voice in Science Fiction and Fantasy. A science fiction fan, he narrated Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy. He has also narrated works by James Patterson, Walter Mosley, John Sandford, Eric Van Lustbader, and Stuart Woods.