As you know, I have glutted myself on cheap book club editions of Ed McBain books at book fairs throughout the St. Louis area this spring. I bought this one for a dollar at the Greater St. Louis Book Fair, much like the others I’ve read recently Poison and Ice. As the 1990 entry, this book takes place two novels after Poison.
The main plot deals with the murder of a priest in a small, rundown church in a small, rundown neighborhood. Carella and Hawes have their hands full trying to decipher from among the myriad stories and possibilities. Was it a drug dealer who had hidden drugs in the church? Was it the neighborhood toughs? Was it the local Satanist church, or perhaps someone who was carnally involved with the priest?
Main subplot deals with Marilyn Hollis, introduced in Poison, who has to deal with her dark past as two men associated with her Argentinian pimp who’ve come back for money, for vengeance, for subplot reasons.
This book comes from the time where I started contemporaneously reading McBain; once I started reading his work, I started with some of the older books, of which there were plenty; after this point, I started reading them as they came out. I don’t recollect reading this one, but I remember how immediate the characters were and how they aged and evolved in realish time for me after this.
Of course it’s a good book, and I’d recommend it for some light suspense/mystery/police procedural reading. But you, gentle reader, know if the blog post title says “by Ed McBain” or “by John D. MacDonald,” you’re in for some sloppy kissing on my part. Consider this installment done, but for the gratuitous links to Amazon by which if you should click through and buy one of the titles, I can make pennies!