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(87th Precinct #3)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,733 ratings  ·  146 reviews
Most suicides don't realize the headaches they cause.... 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: W ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published November 6th 2002 by Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing (first published 1956)
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Bruce Smith A little late, but this is the third book in the series. Cop Hater is the first.
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,733 ratings  ·  146 reviews

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Gary Sundell
Some really wonderful writing in what was supposed to the end of McBain's 3 book series, he went on to write 52 more. ...more
James Thane
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.

Jul 13, 2013 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
Deb Jones
A not infrequent occurrence in any city on any day in the modern era: A junkie is found dead in his apartment with a used syringe on the floor next to him. The detectives of the 87th Precinct might have consigned this case to a shelf pronto were it not for the noose around the victim's neck, giving the first impression of suicide.

There is nothing usual about this case, from the cause of death to a list of suspects that includes the son of one of the 87th Precinct's longstanding detectives.

Sep 17, 2014 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
First published in 1956, The Pusher is the 3rd book in Ed McBain's 87th Precinct police procedural series. I find it hard to believe, myself, that I rated this book 5 stars, but for its small size, it packs a great punch.

The 87th Precinct is set in a fictional US city and features the cops and detectives of the 87th Precinct. In this edition, they and the city they protect are preparing for Xmas. The story starts with Detective Steve Carella and his partner, newly promoted Detective King called
Apr 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Early entry in the 87 precinct series, about the search for a drug pusher, before things really got out of hand a few years later. Feels dated and even a bit innocent. I don't know if it was really shocking to the audience or not, but the author seemed to think so.

The ending could have gone very differently.

Pretty good.
Sep 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 13, 2012 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
Byron Washington
Good Story!!

Finally a story that kept me stumped from beginning to end. Now THAT'S how you hook your readers!!!

Buy it, read it and enjoy!!👍🏾🔥👍🏾🔥👍🏾🔥👍🏾🔥👍🏾🔥
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading a series in order! What a concept-- why didn't I think of it?
Well, full disclosure, I've been reading 87th precinct novels for quite some time-- out of order, of course. But recently, I've begun the series from the beginning, and it's a hoot.

The Pusher is the 3rd in the series, and it's really interesting to see how McBain began with the notion of an ensemble cast of detectives that would be interchangeable, with no featured hero or singular protagonist. Well, read this book and in the
Joe Santoro
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to talk about this book without spoilers (and the author agrees... he wrote an afterward instead of a forward)... but I'll give it a shot.

I hadn't intended to read another of these so quickly after the 1st 2, even though I knew it sorta started as a trilogy then expanded to a epic series, just because sometimes the books all start seeming the same.

Then book #4 jumped out at me in the library, and I couldn't very well skip the one in between, that'd be silly, so here I am.

I really enjoy
Robert James
I haven't read a McBain book in probably 10 years. It's really refreshing to read a book that just gets down to business and tells the story and you can read in a couple of days. ...more

Good call to read this while snowed in for the weekend. Bitterly cold, right before Christmas, the setting matches up with the story. And a great story it is, too. I can see why the 87th Precinct set the standard for a generation of writers. Some of the best parts didn’t even have to do with the case.

“Some of the people saw through the sham and the electrical glitter and the skinny Santa Clauses with straggly beards lining Hall Avenue. Some of the people felt something other than what the ad
Sep 17, 2015 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
Jeff Dickison
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good 87th precinct police prodecural about a pusher who tries to blackmail a police lt. by setting up his son for a murder charge. Carella's snitch cracks the case, after Carella is shot three times by a punk pusher. Exciting, well done, recommended to lovers of the 87th precint. ...more
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
McBain wrote three 87th Precinct novels in 1956, and each one gets better. Today, they are a little cliched, but the emotional power in the writing is strong and steady. There's a very interesting afterword tagged onto this one, too. ...more
Don Ekback
Ed McBain is beginning to get into a groove with this, his third book. I'm starting to enjoy the characters and their interplay. ...more
COUNTDOWN: Mid-20th Century North American Crime
BOOK 229 (of 250)
HOOK=1 star: "Winter came in like an anarchist with a bomb." Writing a Novel: 101, Rule 1=NEVER open your novel with a weather report, otherwise you sound like an "it was a dark and stormy night" lazy author. Rule 2=Don't go over-the-top with your opening line, resulting in unintended laughter. So that's 2 rules violated right off the top.
PACE =2: A slow start picks up about 1/3rd of the way through.
PLOT= 2: Drug dealers get thei
David A.
Mar 05, 2013 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
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Art of the Pulp Police Procedural

Like the book I'll be brief and to the point. I know the author wrote them as a series of pot boiler books to live on but in hindsight these are great books. Because space was limited the plot is taut and efficient, no wasted space here.

The characters are sharply drawn and the twists are proper twists. I'm enjoying the way these books read and the internal ongoing life of the setting.

I also love the lack of technology and techno speak to solve problems. These
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
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. ...more
Colin Mitchell
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
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.
Mark Harrison
Very solid third book in a great series. Carella is back and investigating a staged suicide if a drug user. Serious implications later for Lt Byrnes as his son may be involved. Already the cops of the 87th feel like family. Series is a joy.
Mike Mckeon
My 1st Ed McBain novel, I hope it was a off book. Not very engaging
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to pinpoint why I like this series so much. I'm sure it's a combination of excellent storytelling, well-plotted police procedurals, the ensemble cast and well-rounded characters that I have come to care about, the gritty realism, the believable dialogue, the fast-paced stories written from a policeman's point of view, sympathetic criminals (informer Danny the Gimp as an example) whose circumstances can sometimes tug at your heart strings, etc. The descriptions of weather and the city e ...more
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Something that I tend to forget after reading an 87th Precinct novel is that Steve Carella is not the main character. In fact, the 87th Precinct is the main character. Not any one cop. This was made clear as I read the afterwards that explains the original ending to the book. Ed McBain (Evan Hunter) makes it clear that each book will feature different cops taking the spotlight. He also warns that some will be killed. Some will get transferred or leave the 87th Precinct for other reasons. At this ...more
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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

Other books in the series

87th Precinct (1 - 10 of 56 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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