October 22, 1984 12:00 PM

by Ed McBain

In this more traditional crime novel, once again the grateful reader can settle back and travel with McBain to his 87th Precinct in a city very much like New York. The detectives there are trying to track down a man who is killing young girl athletes and hanging their bodies from lampposts. At the same time two women officers are out to catch a rapist who is attacking his victims again and again. As usual, McBain’s dialogue is raunchy and often funny. One of the detectives, bald Meyer Meyer, is dealing with mid-life crises: He’s trying out a toupee, and his wife wants to tell him that their teenage daughter ought to be on the pill. The men and women officers are having intramural affairs, providing the author with plenty of opportunities for steamy sex scenes. There’s an air of authenticity to it all. McBain’s cops carry on conversations with each other or their wives while they are thinking about something else—just as people do in real life. The author (a/k/a Evan Hunter) has written almost 40 novels about violent deaths in the 87th, and this is one of his most polished, suspenseful and engrossing. (Arbor House, $14.95)

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