Even though in later years, Evan Hunter/Ed McBain got a little onto the bash Bush wagon, the bulk of his work occurred before he went nuts, and I read most of it so far before that, so I cut him more slack than I do someone like John Sandford. So I don’t think anything of picking up a new Hunter novel, especially since it looks like Last Summer was an outlier in its pathology.
This book details a kidnapping of a crime world figure’s son while he’s vacationing in Capri. The Nanny, with whom the Ganooch had left the urchin in the states, calls one of the lesser men in the underworld circle to help her figure out what to do. He employs various methods and criminal plans to try to raise the ransom money before the Ganooch comes home or worse…. if anything could be worse.
Hunter names the chapters after characters who appear in them, often for the first time, and on the page facing each chapter we get a photograph of those people, apparently taken of not only Hunter and some family members, but other people he knew. An addendum tells who the photographs really are and makes reference to some of the other material in the book so you know he wasn’t making things up. The photograph gimmick was amusing and worked for me.
I get the sense that Evan Hunter liked to write. Most writers, you don’t get that sense or worse. But he liked doing novel things with his novels.