from 1958. These "Hard Case Crime" reprints are all the rage, and I've enjoyed some of them. But this one is unreadable. The characters possess no human traits, and the events are implausible and nonsensical from one page to the next. It's impossible to either care or predict what will happen next.
THE GUTTER AND THE GRAVE by Ed McBain First published as I'm CannonFor Hire by "Curt Cannon" in 1958, this updated Number 15 from Hardcase Crime shows the breadth of McBains ability and his noir skills at their best. Former PI Matt Cordell has fallen hard and become a bum in New York City's Bowery district after being betrayed by a dame. His decision to help old friend Johnny Bridges, a tailor, investigate petty larceny at his store soon leads to a series of murders and steamy encounters with lies piling up faster than tokens in a subway station. You may not like Cordell but you have to pull for him to succeed, knowing he is the best and worst of all of us. An oldie but a goodie from one of the masters.
This book introduced me to Ed McBain, it is a classic hard-boiled "noir" style of crime fiction. While it is not his famous 87th precinct series, it is a great read.
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.... (from back cover)