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Genre: Prose

She is a Broadway dancer, exquisite and mercurial. He is a dedicated psychiatrist, happily married to a beautiful woman, the father of two lovely children vacationing with their mother on Martha’s Vineyard. “Good morning, sir”, she said, as she passed David Chapman on a sunny June day in Central Park. Moments later, she was locked in mortal combat with a mugger, and David came to her rescue... They tell each other some truths, but only some. They know each other’s mysteries, but only some. They slip into a realm of sensual deception and imminent danger... For who is Kate Duggan really, the woman who makes sexual fantasies come true? And who is David Chapman, the doctor who spends his day with other people’s neuroses, guilt, and lies? Now, in the heat of a New York City summer, they will learn everything — when a stalker turns their mad lust into a murderous affair.

Shimmering blonde hair framing an exquisite pale face. Deep green eyes, a generous mouth. Matthew Hope took one look and fell instantly in love. Sarah Whittaker had everything: stunning good looks, youth, money, social standing. Everything, that is, but her freedom. Because Sarah Whittaker was currently residing, against her inclinations and her will, in Knott’s Retreat — familiarly known to the residents of Florida’s booming West Coast as Nut’s Retreat. In the State of Florida, County of Calusa, Sarah Whittaker was a certified paranoid schizophrenic. That’s what the doctors said. It’s what her widowed mother said. It’s what the court-ordered psychiatric commitment papers said. It was not what Sarah Whittaker said — and that was why she had called Matthew Hope. Would he, she asked, act as her attorney and fight for her freedom — not to mention fighting for the $650,000 left her by her father and now controlled by her mother. Hope might have lost his heart, but he hadn’t lost his wits. He probed Sarah’s story of a mother driven by hate to confine her only child to a mental institution and decided she was telling the truth. He took the case. And in so doing was led into a hall of mirrors in which reality and delusion blurred into murder, mutilation, and the greatest danger Hope had ever known.

Genre: Prose

It has been almost ten years since Evan Hunter burst upon the literary scene with his first book, The Blackboard Jungle. That best-selling novel, with its important sociological implications, established Hunter immediately as a most exciting topical writer. In the ensuing decade his reputation has grown enormously and become solidified as a result of four other major novels, the most recent of which is Mothers and Daughters. During this same period, Hunter wrote a number of short stories for magazine publication. This collection presents the best of them and displays the stunning range of the author’s interests and talents. There are gay stories and grim stories; realistic stories and wildly fantastic stories; stories of character and stories of action. Only one thing about the collection is uniform: the intense quality that Hunter puts into everything he writes, which holds the reader spellbound to the page. Evan Hunter fans will find the two very long stories in the volume of particular interest, for each is a substantial work on its own and represents the author at top form. These are the title story, Happy New Year, Herbie, and the lead-off story, Uncle Jimbo’s Marbles.

Ed McBain is a pen name of Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Evan Hunter, who wrote the screenplays for Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and “Strangers When We Meet,” and the novel The Blackboard Jungle. As Ed McBain, he has written fifty 87th Precinct novels, the blueprint series for every successful police procedural series. This original collection of eleven short stories takes you onto the gritty and violent streets of the city, and into the darkest places in the human mind. “First Offense” is narrated from behind bars by a cocky young man who stabbed a storeowner in a robbery attempt. In “To Break the Wall,” a high school teacher has a violent encounter with several punks. And a Kim Novak look-alike blurs the line between fantasy and reality in “The Movie Star.” These and eight more stories showcase the mastery for which the San Diego Union-Tribune dubbed McBain “the unquestioned king.”

Ed McBain made his debut in 1956. In 2004, more than a hundred books later, he personally collected twenty-five of his stories written before he was Ed McBain. All but five of them were first published in the detective magazine Manhunt and none of them appeared under the Ed McBain byline. They were written by Evan Hunter (McBain’s legal name as of 1952), Richard Marsten (a pseudonym derived from the names of his three sons), or Hunt Collins (in honor of his alma mater, Hunter College). Here are kids in trouble and women in jeopardy. Here are private eyes and gangs. Here are loose cannons and innocent bystanders. Here, too, are cops and robbers. These are the stories that prepared Evan Hunter to become Ed McBain, and that prepared Ed McBain to write the beloved 87th Precinct novels. In individual introductions, McBain tells how and why he wrote these stories that were the start of his legendary career.

Genre: Love stories

“Just you,” Andrew Farrell says, when Sarah Welles asks him what he wants of her. “Just you.” But long before she finally gives in to Andrew, long before she walks up those steps into the mysterious world of his wood-paneled office, long before she feels his naked body against hers, Sarah knows she has already chosen to betray her husband and her marriage. Adultery will be the least of her crimes. Making forbidden love to Andrew, Sarah has no idea of the dangerous game she has begun. She is about to find out who her lover really is, and Andrew is about to discover how unforgiving and relentless her husband can be. CRIMINAL CONVERSATION is a gripping novel of sex, passion, and violence, set against a backdrop of a society tattered by criminality. Prom victims to predators, from foot soldiers to kingpins, Evan Hunter spins a masterly tale that no one — not even Ed McBain — could do better: an explosive and erotic novel of psychosexual suspense.

Detective Steve Carella thought it was be an easy day — and an enjoyable one. It was his day off and it was his sister’s wedding day. But it began much too ominously. Tommy Giordano, the groom, found a wedding present on his doorstep in the morning — a small box, neatly gift-wrapped. Its contents were deadly. Weddings-Fetes, Incorporated decorated the Carella back yard; there was a band and plenty of champagne. On the surface it was everything a wedding should be. But Steve wasn’t at all sure that Tommy would live long enough to become Angela’s husband. Meyer Meyer, Cotton Hawes and the rest of the 87th Precinct detectives begin a dogged race against time to trace down one small and possibly fruitless lead. It might mean nothing at all. The man they were trying to find wasn’t even at the wedding — or was he? There is a second attempt on Tommy’s life, then a third, this time on that Steve doesn’t even know about. Will there be more — and when will they come and from what direction? Is the killer a guest at the wedding — at least one man there carries a gun — or is he watching Tommy from a distance through the cross-sight of a sniper’s rifle? Until death us do part... or will death arrive before the ceremony has even began? Even if the bride and groom are joined in holy matrimony, one murder device in timed to strike during the honeymoon — after Carella thinks the case is finished. There never was a gayer wedding or one with such an undercurrent of driving suspense. And Steve Carella gets his biggest shock of the day on the very last page — a surprise supplied by Mrs. Carella!

Genre: Prose

The four books that make up this novel — Amanda, Gillian, Julia and Kate — span three generations and nearly thirty years of time. Except that Kate is Amanda’s niece, none of these women is related, but their lives cross and recross, linked by Julia’s son David. Julia Regan belongs to the “older” generation in the sense that her son David was old enough to fight in the war. That he ended the war in the stockade was due more to his mother than to himself, and the book devoted to Julia shows what sort of woman she was — why, having gone to Italy before the war with an ailing sister, she constantly put off her return to her family — and why, therefore, David is the man he is. Unsure of himself and bitter (for good reason) David finds solace in Gillian, who had been Amanda’s room-mate in college during the war. He loses her because he does not know what he wants from life. Gillian is an enchanting character who knows very well what she wants: she is determined to become an actress. In spite of the extreme tenderness and beauty of her love affair with David (and Evan Hunter has caught exactly the gaieties and misunderstandings of two young people very much in love, when a heightened awareness lifts the ordinary into the extraordinary and the beautiful into the sublime) she is not prepared to continue indefinitely an unmarried liaison, and she leaves him. When, eleven years later and still unmarried, she finally tastes success, the taste is of ashes, and she wonders whether the price has not been too high. Amanda is considerably less sure of herself than Gillian, though foe a time it looks as if her music will bring her achievement. But she has in her too much of her sexually cold mother to be passionate in love or in her music. She marries Matthew who is a lawyer, and, without children of their own, they bring up her sister’s child, Kate, who, in the last book, is growing up out of childhood into womanhood — with a crop of difficulties of her own. Unlike all his earlies novels (except in extreme readability) Mothers and Daughters is not an exposure of social evils, but a searching and sympathetic study of people.

Genre: Prose

The Crofts live with their blond, teenage daughter, Lissie, in a converted sawmill in Rutledge, Connecticut, an exclusive community of achievers. Lissie’s mother, Connie, is a Vassar graduate; her father, Jamie, a successful photographer. But these were the sixties — the time of Nixon and moon walks, prosperity and war, Woodstock and Chappaquiddick — and the Crofts are caught in a time slot that not only caused alienation but in fact encouraged it. Lissie, in her rush to independence and self-identity, along with others of her generation, goes her own way. She leaves school, skips to London and begins a journey across Europe to India. Breaking all the rules, flouting her parents’ values, she causes in Jamie a deep concern that frequently turns to impotent rage. When Lissie returns, she is surprised and angry to find that things are not the same. While she was out living her own life, her dad was falling in love with the woman he would eventually marry. Hurt and confused over her parents’ divorce, Lissie is not ready to accept for them what she sees as clear-cut rights for herself. And try as he will, her father cannot comprehend the new Lissie. More than a novel about the dissolution of a family in a turbulent decade, Love, Dad is an incredibly perceptive story of father and daughter and their special love — a love that endures even though understanding has been swept away in the whirlwind of change.

The minute hand on the station-house clock crept past midnight, and another day began — a not untypical October Sunday, bringing the usual assortment of big city crimes to the detectives of the 87th Precinct. To start the morning hours of the night, there was a gory homicide: a young actress in a controversial play had been stabbed, and Carella and Hawes set out to investigate. Meanwhile, Bert Kling was taking a call about a bombing in the black ghetto, and Meyer found himself talking to an attractive, well-educated woman who had an unlikely complaint: larcenous ghosts. The day shift was no less eventful. Willis and Genero were investigating the death of a bearded youth who fell or was pushed from a fourth-floor window — stark naked. Alex Delgado took on a nasty beating in the Puerto Rican barrio, while Carl Kapek was looking for a man and woman who specialised in muggings. Andy Parker’s routine assignment took an unexpected twist: a pair of gunmen killed a grocer and shot Parker twice. And, just to fill in the idle moments, there was the usual parade of malicious punks, youthful runaways. hookers, and small-time burglars. For the first time, Ed McBain has brought together all the detectives of the 87th Precinct in a single novel — a book filled with his usual precise descriptions of police procedure and an ingenious assortment of interlocking plots — some violent, some touching, some ironic, but all marked by the masterful McBain touch.

“ ‘You’ll have to speak louder,’ the voice said. ‘I’m a little hard of hearing.’ ” What with one thing and another, such as a highly successful cat burglar and what seemed to be a hippie crucifixion, the 87th Precinct didn’t need The Deaf Man. Especially since he’d already put in two previous appearances resulting in blackmail, murder and general havoc. But they had him, certainly, they very definitely had him — or was it he that had them? This time, The Deaf Man thinks it fitting that a police detective will help him rob a bank. Detective Steve Carella, to be exact. So, each day, he sends Carella a photostat in the morning mail. The first two pictures of J. Edgar Hoover, the next are of George Washington. All are clues, obviously, but what do they mean? Who, where, when and how? This is tough, taut, funny mystery with a number of very peculiar cases and a most surprising ending, played against Ed McBain’s highly-detailed knowledge of police and detective procedure.

Practically everybody will remember Bingo and Handsome, partners in the International Foto, Motion Picture and Television Corporation of America (or, to put it more bluntly, street photographers), whose earlier adventures were related in The Sunday Pigeon Murders and The Thursday Turkey Murders. Readers may have forgotten, however, that from these events our heroes assembled assets of $2,773 and some odd cents. This inspires them to try their fortune in Hollywood. (“After all,” Bingo said, “we’re photographers, aren’t we?”) Along with the bankroll they were blessed with Bingo’s complete faith in himself, Handsome’s photographic memory, and the innocence of city slickers. It seemed perfectly sensible to them, for example, to make a down payment of $2,000 on an empty Charles Addams type mansion because it had once belonged to April Robin, the great star of silent-screen days. Immediately thereafter, they paid a deposit against the rental for a small building on the Strip. These negotiations left them with no cash, but considerable prestige. They soon, inevitably, acquired a landlord who had supposedly been murdered four years earlier, a housekeeper who was murdered the night they moved in, a cop who would like to arrest them both just so that he can be doing something positive, and assorted characters who are willing to pay Bingo and Handsome (a) to find the body, and (b) not to find the body. All this inspires Bingo and Handsome into furious activities which are — well, not exactly efficient, but certainly fascinating. In trying to cope with their commitments they meet some remarkable people, the kind that supposedly are found in Hollywood but actually could have been conceived of only by Craig Rice. In other words, The April Robin Murders is funny, hilariously complicated, knowing, sentimental: that mixture of mirth and murder uniquely the product of one of the best-loved and best-selling mystery writers of our time.

GUNS: A crime novel unlike any you’ve ever read by Ed McBain, a story of fear and obsession — tougher, grittier, even more suspenseful than his famous 87th Precinct series. GUNS: For months Colley Donato and his partners have been robbing liquor stores in New York — quick cash, easy pickings. But today something is very wrong. The weather is suffocatingly hot, tempers are short — and it is their thirteenth job. Colley doesn’t like it when the others decide to go ahead anyway. He likes it even less when two cops come charging down the aisle with guns in their hands. As if in slow motion, Colley sees his finger pull the trigger — and the back of a cop’s head comes off. Colley Donato, twenty-nine, has just been promoted. He used to be a small-time robber, hardly worth the trouble. Now he has killed a policeman — and all hell is about to break loose. GUNS is the story of the next twenty-four hours in Colley’s life as he scrambles for safety — dodging, improvising cons (for which he has surprising talent), using and being used by a bizarre variety of friends and strangers: like Benny, the broad, smiling, benign man who makes a living hooking girls on dope and turning them onto the streets; Jeanine, Colley’s ex-partner’s wife, who shows a terrifyingly unexpected gift for savagery; his brother, Albert, a Buick dealer in Larchmont, who lectures him: “Nick, a man who has to commit robberies is a man with a serious personality disorder.” With a razor-sharp eye for detail, McBain draws us into the codes and rhythms of Colley’s world, into the flickering scenes inside Colley’s head — the art of growing up in East Harlem; the Orioles “Social and Athletic Club,” where he first makes his mark as “sergeant at arms”; the jobs he pulls; the prisons; above all the exhilaration and glory of holding that first gun at age fifteen, feeling its beauty, its wonderful power... GUNS: Ed McBain’s abilities for characterization, tight suspense, and hard, clear detail have always been first-rate, but this new novel gives them room to stretch as they never have before. From the opening page to the stunning climax, the result is a superb thriller and a brilliant exploration into the criminal mind.

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