recently, but as I finished it since then, I thought I could have it as today 's reading suggestion. I am talking of course about The Gutter and the Grave, by Ed McBain. Surprisingly it does not feature the detectives of the 87th Precinct, but ex private eye turned drunkard and bum Matt Cordell, who lost his license and everything else, including himself, when he beat up the lover of his wife. Narrated by Cordell himself, the story uses many tropes, some would say clichés, of hard-boiled crime fiction: an investigation on a minor crime (someone stealing from a cashier) quickly leads to one on a murder, then a second murder, there are femmes fatales a plenty and a good deal of shady characters, an oppressive heatwave, violence of all kinds. What makes the novel stand above other similar ones is the strength of McBain's writing: vivid imagery, sharp dialogues, genuine characters behind their archetypes. One cannot go wrong with Ed McBain.
4 hours ago