Ed McBain concocts a brilliant and intricate thriller about a master criminal who haunts the city with cryptic passages from Shakespeare, directing the detectives of the 87th Precinct to a future crime -- if only they can figure out what he means.
The 87th Precinct gets a visit from one of the city's most accomplished criminals -- a thief known as the Deaf Man. Because he might be deaf. Or he might not. So little is known about the man who is harassing Detective Steve Carella with puzzling messages that it is hard to tell. But as soon as a pattern emerges, the detectives of the 87th are forced to hit the books and brush up on their Shakespeare -- because each new clue contains a line from one of his works. Unless they can crack the complicated riddles and beat the Deaf Man at his own cat-and-mouse game, someone is going to end up hurt, or something will be stolen -- or both. It's always so hard to tell with the Deaf Man.
Ed McBain brings his most intelligent and devious criminal back to the 87th Precinct with a richly plotted and literary crime.
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Simon & Schuster
August 03, 2004
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Excerpt from Hark! by Ed McBain
GLORIA KNEW THAT someone was in her apartment the moment she unlocked the door and entered. She was reaching into her tote bag when a man's voice said, "No, don't."
Her fingertips were an inch away from the steel butt of a .380 caliber Browning.
"Really," the voice said. "I wouldn't."
She closed the door behind her, reached for the switch to the right of the door jamb, and snapped on the lights.
He was sitting in an easy chair across the room, facing the entrance door. He was wearing gray slacks, black loafers, blue socks, and a matching dark blue, long-sleeved linen shirt. The throat of the shirt was unbuttoned two buttons down. The cuffs were rolled up on his forearms. There was a hearing aid in his right ear.
"Well, well," she said. "Look what the cat dragged in."
"Indeed," he said.
"Long time no see," she said.
"Bad penny," he said, and shrugged almost sadly.
It was the shrug that told her he was going to kill her. Well, maybe that and the gun in his right hand. Plus the silencer screwed onto the muzzle of the gun. And their history. She knew he was not one to forget their history.
"I'll give it all back," she said at once. "Whatever's left of it."
"And how much is that, Gloria "
"I haven't been frugal."
"So I see," he said, and with a slight arc of the gun barrel indicated her luxurious apartment. She almost reached into the tote again. But the gun regained its focus at once, steady in his hand, tilted up directly at her heart. She didn't know what kind of gun it was; some sort of automatic, it looked like. But she knew a silencer when she saw one, long and sleek and full of deadly promise.
"What's left of the thirty million " he asked.
"I didn't get nearly that much."
"That was the police estimate. Thirty million plus."
"The estimate was high."
"How much did you get, Gloria "