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The Pusher (87th Precinct #3)

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  1,303 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
Most suicides don't realise the headaches they cause... An 87th Precinct novel
Paperback, Orion, 192 pages
Published July 3rd 2003 by Orion Books (first published October 1956)
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Bruce Smith A little late, but this is the third book in the series. Cop Hater is the first.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Melki
Jul 16, 2013 Melki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
When the body of a junkie is found in a tenement basement, the 87th is on a hunt to find out who sold him the stuff that killed him. The whole mess hits just a little too close to home for one of the detectives.

Once again, I LOVE the way McBain describes weather:

Winter came in like an anarchist with a bomb.

Wild, shrieking, puffing hard, it caught the city in cold, froze the marrow and froze the heart.

The wind roared under eaves and tore around corners, lifting hats and lifting skirts, caressing
...more
James Thane
Sep 11, 2012 James Thane rated it liked it
On a bitterly cold night a police patrolman finds a young Hispanic drug dealer dead in a basement apartment. There's a rope around the boy's neck, tied to the bars over the window. There's also a used syringe on the table next to the body. It's such a miserable effort to disguise a murder as a suicide that Steve Carella and the other detectives of the 87th Precinct can't even figure out why someone made the effort, especially when it becomes clear that the victim actually died of an overdose.

Any
...more
Michael
Apr 18, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it
Review from Badelynge.
An early 87th Precinct story. This one promises rather more noir than it actually delivers. Its opening pages are the hook that tries its darndest to stop you putting the book back onto the spindle and choosing some other more tempting paperback. And even though it's many decades since this one saw anything other than thrift sale piles or charity shop boxes, I can appreciate why McBain lays it on so thick at the start. The city sounded like such a dark and shadow infested p
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Dorothy
Oct 16, 2014 Dorothy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now this is more like it! It seems for years I've been reading about the 87th Precinct series - what a groundbreaker it was and how Ed McBain has been such an influence on writers of mysteries since the 1950s when this series started. But after reading the first two entries in the series, I confess I was disappointed. As far as I could see they were mostly just interesting for their historical value, but I didn't find them particularly entertaining.

Then I picked up The Pusher, third in the serie
...more
Tfitoby
Dec 30, 2013 Tfitoby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
This was once more a nice easy read; an interesting story populated with likable and well rounded characters. Where the 87th Precinct series is falling down for me after the extremely positive first installment is the lack of depth to the crimes or the investigation.

There's nothing amazing about any of it really. The opening paragraph is incredibly evocative prose that I hadn't expected to find and immediately hoped for a lot more of it in the rest of the book but aside from the chapter on the b
...more
Francis
Sep 26, 2014 Francis rated it really liked it
I never cared much about reading Ed McBain and his 87th Precinct novels. I didn't care much for the Cop on the beat character. All those hard, cynical, worn out Detectives yelling and beating up suspects in the back room. I didn't like the big city backdrop, all those neighborhood bars, neon lights, dreary tenements. I didn't care for the side characters the pimps, prostitutes, grinning thugs with their shiny knives, the down and outs, the ne'er-do-wells, the grieving moms in their faded dresses ...more
David
Sep 27, 2015 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-fiction
What makes a good book good?

To be more specific, what is the difference between a good novel and a bad novel? I think it's still fashionable, even at this late date, to avoid this question by saying no one should be limited by the ideas of others concerning what is good and bad, that one man's meat is another man's poison, etc. But – damn the torpedoes – I'm here to tell you that some things are good, and others aren't. Now, if I could just figure out which was which...

This all occurred to me wh
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Quillracer
Apr 25, 2014 Quillracer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won’t make any bones about it. I love Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct series.

Who else but Ed McBain could open a police procedural novel with a two page description of the city in winter? Who else could make that city as much a character in the story as the people in it? Who else could make the exact amount of chemicals mixed to do a test in a police lab interesting?

This, the third book in the series, published almost 60 years ago, is as fresh and engaging as it was when it first hit the shelves. Su
...more
AndrewP
An unknown drug pusher is loose in the 87th Precinct. A junkie turns up dead but it's quickly noticed that someone tried to cover up a murder as an overdose.

Not a bad story, it moves along nicely with a couple of small twists.

Interesting footnote by the author. He was originally only paid for 3 novels in this series (he eventually went on to write more than 50) so he had a different ending in his original draft. Before this book was published, his contract had been renewed for a further 3 books
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Adam
Another solid entry in the series. Maybe it was just the mood I was in when I read it, but the descriptions in The Pusher seemed even more overwrought than they were in the first two 87th Precinct novels. Also, some of the "ironic" transitions were hilariously bad. The dialogue, plot, and storytelling were all top-notch, however, so I was perfectly happy.
Colin Mitchell
Jul 29, 2016 Colin Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, 87th-precinct
A case for Steve Carella and L.t Byrnes. A suicide is a murder and this leads to further assaults and murder and an officer shot. A good fast pace with some good description of the freezing weather of December. I doubt if cops go anywhere alone today. A good read and hooks me to the series.
Susan
Dec 29, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing
I love this series. I'm trying to read ever single book. This book was kind of sad. I like all the cops and their lives.
Robert Bryant
Nov 17, 2016 Robert Bryant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even only being three books into this 87th Precinct series I feel I can see how this series became and so widely read and loved. Even in a volume as thin as this the characters are so well developed I felt I knew them personally by the end and want to read more about them.

The drug addict characters were not written as monsters as much as pitiable, and I find that refreshing in a police procedural type story. This book, although written inthe 50s, has some subjects that are srill very relevant.
...more
Mary Cassidy
Nov 19, 2016 Mary Cassidy rated it really liked it
I ordered this for my Kindle on a special, having followed the series years ago. I didn't realize this was the third in the series--my first clue was the fact the prostitute was charging $20! Turns out it was originally published in 1956. Still enjoy his over=the-top metaphors and interesting cast of characters among the cops.
Bruce Smith
Oct 15, 2016 Bruce Smith rated it liked it
Another could police story. Amazingly it withstands the test of time. Heroine is just as much a problem now as it was then. This is book three of the series. I enjoy these books and they are a quick read. They have interesting characters, and great descriptions.
Don
Sep 24, 2016 Don rated it really liked it
It's evident from the start that the supposed suicide of a teen aged boy is nhot that at all. As you might guess from the title, drugs were involved. I won't say more since I don't want to give anything away.

What makes this entry in the 87th Precinct books stand out is the depiction of the relationship between Burns and his son and how that relationship plays out as the events of the novel unfold. if you remember nothing else about this book, there's a scene between Burns and his son that is jus
...more
S. Wilson
Aug 12, 2016 S. Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The third book in the 87th Precinct series is a more standard entry into the police procedural genre. But at the same time, it manages to reach an emotional depth somewhat unusual for the time period.

The plot is pretty straight forward. A pair of patrolmen stumble upon a apparent junkie suicide. But sometimes things aren't as easy as they seem, and the suicide squeal quickly turns into a multiple homicide investigation that threatens to become blackmail when Lt. Byrnes son becomes linked to the
...more
John Marsh
Mar 08, 2015 John Marsh rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
wally
Nov 17, 2012 wally rated it really liked it
Shelves: mcbain
this will be the 6th from mcbain for me...

begins:

winter came in like an anarchist with a bomb.

wild-eyed, shrieking, puffing hard, it caught the city in cold, froze the marrow and froze the heart.

onward and upward

update, finished, 10:02 p.m. e.s.t. thursday evening, 10 may 12

should have been a quick easy read but sometimes life gets in the way...this one has an afterword that makes the story even more entertaining, as mcbain meant to kill the hero off in this one...he thought "that was hot stuff.
...more
Sarah
Jan 18, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Pusher is an early 87th precinct novel by Ed McBain. It is only the third in the huge series, which went on for decades and spawned over 50 books. The Pusher is a pretty solid example of a well plotted police procedural and a good example of the high quality of the series. it's interesting that we see Teddy and Steve as newlyweds, and all of the police officers who will later become so important in the series. if you read the authors note, you find out that the pain had been considering ...more
Ron
Dec 31, 2014 Ron added it
As per usual, Mr. McBain has a winner here. Although a short book, it has a very good premise. Well, the whole 87th Precinct series has a very good premise. That a city police force acts as an entity in the fight against crime within that city. In this case, a fictious city.

This book is about finding and apprehending a drug pusher. And, in doing so, several murders come about that must also be solved. A couple of detectives play out in the story. One, Steve Carella, is the lead detective on the
...more
Tom Stamper
Oct 23, 2015 Tom Stamper rated it really liked it
The third Precinct book involves young junkie's apparent suicide and the blackmail of one of the team. It's set in late fall and the team is made to be outdoors in near freezing temperatures leading up to Christmas.

Steve Carella is back from his honeymoon to serve as the main character in this one. Also featured more heavily is squad commander Lt. Byrnes and the young Bert Kling.

The charm of this series is that McBain makes the grunt part of the detective work compelling by sharing the persona
...more
Frank
Nov 16, 2015 Frank rated it really liked it
Shelves: hard-boiled, police
How's this for a hard-boiled open: "Winter came in like an anarchist with a bomb...The wind roared under eaves and tore around corners, lifting hats and lifting skirts, caressing warm thighs with icy-cold fingers."

McBain wrote about the cops of the 87th Precinct for 50 years. This is the third book, written in 1956, and it reads like a gritty 70s story. Quick and fun.

Spoiler Alert: McBain's original version killed off one of the main characters because he didn't regard him as a main character.
...more
Christine Blachford
Jul 29, 2014 Christine Blachford rated it really liked it
The third book in the 87th Precinct series and what an intriguing one. The cast of characters expands again, and we focus in on a death that looks like it should be a suicide but probably isn't. Drugs are behind it, and the detectives are tasked with chasing down whoever is supplying and causing all the problems.

I really find these books easy to read and enjoyable to whip through. They're short and to the point, occasionally a little sexist, but that's somewhat down to the time they were written
...more
Jenny
Jan 24, 2015 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael T Bradley
Jun 17, 2016 Michael T Bradley rated it liked it
It's difficult to find anything new to say about these books. In this one, the boys from the 87th investigate a badly covered-up-as-a-suicide murder of a junkie. The villain of the piece's motivations make sense, and the mystery, while not extremely convoluted, is murky enough through most of the story to provide confusion. Basically these short novels are like Law & Order episodes, and like L&O, what makes it for me is the dry, sardonic, nihilistic wit seen at all times. McBain doesn't ...more
Julie Christiano
Apr 07, 2013 Julie Christiano rated it really liked it
I always love the quality and quickness of an Ed McBain read, especially the 87th Precinct books. This one was written in 1956 or 7. It was the third in the series, and has a great afterward by McBain in the book, a newer printing from the 80's. It has a surprising bit of information about Steve Carella. I look forward to reading about Steve and Teddy stories the years, even thoughI have read all out of order. I think the last one I read had one of their twins getting married, and this one is ...more
LJ
THE PUSHER – VG
Ed McBain – 3rd in series
Two a.m. in the bitter cold of winter: the young Hispanic man's body was found in a tenement basement. The rope around his neck suggested a clear case of suicide -- until the autopsy revealed he'd overdosed on heroin. He was a pusher, and now a thousand questions pressed down on the detectives of the 87th Precinct.

This is police procedurals at their very best; tight plots, believable characters, excellent dialogue, well-drawn sense of place and time. I’ve
...more
Matt
Aug 04, 2008 Matt rated it liked it
Shelves: 87th-precinct
A solid look at the seedy world of "H" pushers in 1950s New York City. After watching THE WIRE, the guys in "The Pusher" don't look quite as tough, but I guess you just have to take that with a grain of salt.

I saw the "twist" coming a ways off, but the book definitely ends with a serious cliffhanger for one of the main characters-- McBain does not hesitate to kill off/mess up many of his main characters (and it's only been three books so far... how do these guys make it through the other 45 or
...more
Kaysa
Aug 24, 2013 Kaysa rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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
More about Ed McBain...

Other Books in the Series

87th Precinct (1 - 10 of 55 books)
  • Cop Hater (87th Precinct #1)
  • The Mugger (87th Precinct #2)
  • The Con Man (87th Precinct, #4)
  • Killer's Choice (87th Precinct, #5)
  • Killer's Payoff (87th Precinct #6)
  • Killer's Wedge (87th Precinct #7)
  • Lady Killer (87th Precinct #8)
  • 'Til Death (87th Precinct, #9)
  • King's Ransom (87th Precinct #10)
  • Give the Boys a Great Big Hand (87th Precinct, #11)

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“Some kid was shoving muggles. Marijuana, Dad. We call it—” “I know the names,” Byrnes said.” 0 likes
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