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3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  378 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews

Ed McBain, author of the bestselling 87th Precinct series, takes us "Downtown" in a bold departure of a novel that will have listeners cheering for a lone out-of-towner running for his life in New York City.

Meet Michael Barnes, a Florida orange grower who finds himself in a Manhattan bar with a couple of hours to kill. It's a couple of hours that almost kill him, as he's s

Published September 6th 1990 by Mandarin (first published January 1st 1989)
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Nov 02, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good, solid crime/mystery by author Ed McBain. At times it reads like a serious mystery, while at others it borders on farcical. Somehow McBain makes the whole thing work quite well!

Florida orange grower Michael Barnes is on business in New York City, it’s Christmas Eve and he’s having a drink in a ritzy bar before heading to the airport and home. He meets a beautiful blond woman who gets him involved in a sticky situation and the next thing you know he’s wanted for murder...which he didn’t co
Jun 07, 2016 Kerrymac rated it liked it
Despite some flaws in logic and chauvinitstic attitudes, this was a fun, fast paced ride. It was much like an action movie and descriptions made it very easy to visualize. The dialogue was often hilarious and poked fun at NYC crooks and cops.

The back story of the main characters tour in VietNam was interwoven skillfully and served as a chilling counterpoint to the main story.
Dec 24, 2012 Oleg rated it really liked it
This book is out of ordinary. Plot is intriguing, action is non-stopping. There are some cliches, but you just might ignore them. End is a little bit out of the book's style, but still, it did not spoil the whole book experience.
Feb 07, 2013 wally rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mcbain
#7 from mcbain for me...and this is just what the good doctor ordered...funny...heh! and i need funny at the the start of chapter 4 at the moment...michael leaving the dice game...that called craps?...connie, a beautiful oriental woman saying, wait for me...oh boy oh boy.

downtown, 1989, a dedication: for jan and roy dean, paperback, first avon books printing, 1993

story begins:
michael was telling the blonde he'd never been in this part of the city. in fact, he'd been to new york only
Donna Brown
Jan 24, 2017 Donna Brown rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is the year that I decided to read only those books that hold my interest. This was not one of those books for me. Not because of the author but because it's a guy book and I can not get into the story line.
Mar 17, 2017 Crystalann rated it really liked it
its was a really good book, had a really good story, highly recommended !
Sep 26, 2014 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Αυτοτελές κωμικοτραγικό αστυνομικό μυθιστόρημα, η ιστορία του οποίου εκτυλίσσεται μέσα σε δυο-τρεις μέρες στην Νέα Υόρκη. Ένας πορτοκαλοπαραγωγός από την Σαρασότα της Φλόριντα βρίσκεται παραμονές Χριστουγέννων στην Νέα Υόρκη για δουλειές. Περιμένοντας να φτάσει η ώρα που θα πετάξει για την Βοστόνη, ώστε να περάσει τις γιορτές με την οικογένειά του, τα πίνει σ'ένα μπαράκι. Εκεί θα γνωρίσει μια καυτή γκόμενα και θα πιάσει συζήτηση μαζί της. Τότε είναι που θ'αρχίσει μια σειρά ατυχών γεγονότων για τ ...more
Aug 07, 2012 Jim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
I found Downtown from Ed McBain to be a strange duck. I guess a comic-thriller would describe it best. Michael Barnes is an out-of-towner killing a couple of hours in lower Manhattan before flying out to see his mother in Boston. In short order he is conned out of his wallet and has his rental car stolen. Not long after, his drivers license and credit cards are found in the stolen car next to a dead body and the chase is on. You get quite a tour of lower Manhattan while Michael tries to get to t ...more
May 11, 2010 Randy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Florida orange grower Michael Barnes had finished his business in New York and had a couple of hours to kill before catching his flight to Boston to join his mother for the Christmas holidays. So he went downtwon to a bar for a few drinks.

In short order, he was conned out of his money and credit cards by a fake hot blond lawyer and her equally fake cop partner. To top it off, his good Samaritan friend managed to rip off his rental car as well.

Only the beginning.

He was later mugged and, when he r
Charles Moore
Jul 03, 2013 Charles Moore rated it liked it
I’ve only read one short story and one essay by McBain and liked both. Downtown, not an 87th Precinct novel, is a delight to read and tag along through an adventure with weird people and strange places but also probably real people and real places from McBain’s own life. In his essay, McBain says that one of his major characters is New York City. He admits that the city changes a lot and it’s tough if not impossible to portray the place accurately but that it is also not really necessary. In Dow ...more
Pat Murray
Feb 19, 2015 Pat Murray rated it it was amazing
I haven't read a McBain book in many years since finishing the Nursery Rhyme series of his back in the 90's.
This is an older book that is not a part of one of his series.
An out of town business goes into a bar to kill some time before his Christmas Eve flight out of town leaves. He meets many men named Charles in Manhattan, gets framed for murder and tries to clear his name so he can leave NYC.
Good plot in the hands of a skilled writer.
May 31, 2012 Lawrence rated it liked it
yeah, it's fine, snappy and all that. I just wish the deus-ex-machina element aka the romance subplot weren't so prominent. And, that McBain had stuck to the lighthearted tone that predominates--the colorful underworld figures and all that. The Vietnam flashbacks were totally out of place and a downer: had to tell my wife (who had read three-quarters of it before putting it down) that she wasn't allowed to finish it.
Tyler Cole
Mar 16, 2015 Tyler Cole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
The reviews on the back of the book say "First-rate . . . Very funny . . . Hilarious . . . McBain's best. Well sure, there were some clever funny lines, but don't all of McBain's books have clever funny lines? And that one quip by Larry King who say this was "McBain's Best". Really? This was certainly an entertaining read but by far not the best McBain book. It makes me wonder if Larry King has read anything else by Ed McBain.
Joshua Emil
May 29, 2012 Joshua Emil rated it liked it
Shelves: ed-mcbain-books
According to the reviews by the critics, they said it was funny, amusing. I didn't find it amusing but intriguing. The main character, Michael Barnes, gets a look of New York City's side of being a "Fun City". Being chased hy both sides of the law for commiting a crime he didn't commit, Michael takes his chances in order to prove his innocence.
Sep 15, 2016 David rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, crime
Another in a long series of crime novels. Good if you are into the genre, which I am! A Vietnam vet gets ripped off in New York just prior to his flight back to the relative safety of the orange groves of Florida. What follows is the usual twists and turns of a McBain plot written in the usual style. Very enjoyable but not much to it!
Jose Guzman
Jul 09, 2007 Jose Guzman rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Action lovers
This book has a fortune cookie on it's cover. I have the hard copy. And in the background of the fortune cookie there is a firecracker and the letters Downtown are kind of broken in half. This book is literally keeping you on the edge of your favorite chair. This book is so action packed I finished it in under a week.
Jeff Dickison
Aug 02, 2016 Jeff Dickison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun little book, apparently written after the author saw Jack Lemmon & Sandy Dennis in the Out of Towners movie. An out of town rube from Florida comes to New York to get framed for murder, beaten up about ever other chapter, stabbed, shot and find true love. His Vietnam experiences are handled with more drama, but the overall tone is humorous. Recommended for light hearted fare.
Mike Harper
Oct 12, 2015 Mike Harper rated it it was ok
McBain can do better than this. The plot is far-fetched, the characters are uninteresting and there are about twice as many words as there ought to be. Read his much better novels set in Florida, not this.
Sep 21, 2011 Alice rated it it was ok
E-book. A little too unrealistic murder mystery, plus the author goes on and on with some of his descriptions - so much so that I start thinking about something else, waiting for him to get past that point.
Les Wilson
Oct 16, 2014 Les Wilson rated it it was amazing
This was a very enjoyable book. I had my doubts to start with, with the humour; but found that it enhanced the enjoyment of the book for me. Perhaps I should give it 4* in general, but I'm compelled to give it 5*
Phillip III
Dec 15, 2015 Phillip III rated it really liked it
Read this a long time ago. Long before Goodreads. And wanted to add it to my "Read" collection. Best I recall -- Loved it!
Feb 11, 2014 Chuck rated it liked it
A funny mystery/thriller. I would recommend it to fans of Gregory McDonald's Fletch series.
Dec 06, 2009 rabbitprincess rated it it was ok
Not as fun as the 87th Precinct series. I think I borrowed this from the library, didn't finish it, then saw it at a used-book store and bought it, forgetting that I had read and abandoned it.
Apr 03, 2009 Victoria rated it did not like it
Shelves: humour, fiction
The first and only McBain book that I have read. I read it because I was told how very funny Ed McBain's books are. I didn't find this one particularly funny and I guessed 'whodunit'.
Jun 30, 2013 Charles rated it liked it
Entertaining and funny. Florida orange grower in NYC on Christmas Eve. Madness ensues. Definitely not a police procedural. Three and a half stars.
Chris Gorsend
Mar 13, 2015 Chris Gorsend rated it it was ok
I loved the idea and it started off strong, but overlong, hammy (and entirely unnecessary) flashbacks make this an unwieldy novel that should've been a tight, wicked novella.
Not one of McBain's better efforts. Plot and characters are convoluted at best, and the storyline is very confusing. McBain should have left the satirical humor to Carl Hiaasen.
Sep 08, 2008 Ginny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pre-2005, borrowed
Funny in an weird sort of way. Not an 87th Precinct novel
Brian Howard
Feb 04, 2016 Brian Howard rated it really liked it
This is the best McBain I have read. I've read probably half of his 87th novels, and they are okay but only three stars. A great plot.
Nov 05, 2014 Angie rated it did not like it
What a waste of time and energy!!! Do not read this book!! It's so disjointed and just plain stupid!! I cannot believe this is the same author who wrote "The Birds"!!
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"Ed McBain" is one of the pen names of American author and screenwriter Salvatore Albert Lombino (1926 – 2005), who legally adopted the name Evan Hunter in 1952. While successful and well known as Evan Hunter, he was even better known as Ed McBain, a name he used for most of his crime fiction, beginning in 1956.

He also used the pen names John Abbott, Curt Cannon, Hunt Collins, Ezra Hannon, Dean Hu
More about Ed McBain...

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