The Gutter and the Grave

Ed McBain

Detective Matt Cordell was happily married, gainfully employed, and sober. But that was before he caught his wife cheating on him with one of his operatives and took it out on the man with the butt end of a .45.

 

Now Matt makes his home on the streets of New York and his only companions are the city’s bartenders. But trouble still knows how to find him, and when Johnny Bridges shows up from the old neighbourhood, begging for Matt’s help, Cordell finds himself drawn into a case full of beautiful women and bloody murder.

 

It’s just like the old days—only this time, when the beatings come, he may wind up on the receiving end...

 

Originally published as I'm Cannon - For Hire, the premise is not new: the PI/troubled-drinker come down-and-out, asked to do a favour for a friend, but there is something wonderfully familiar about the writing in this stand-alone novel. The drinking, a result of finding his wife cheating on him with an employee, plays a role as Matt Cordell must fight that demon if he’s to solve what starts as theft and grows into murder investigations.

 

It’s a damned good piece of hard-boiled fiction. Authentic with a strong plot, the first person narration is powerful with a touch of humour, and the dialogue fizzes, as you’d expect from the author of the legendary 87th Precinct Series.

About Ed McBain:

Born in New York, USA, in 1926 (died 2005).

Ed McBain is a pseudonym of Evan Hunter, who was born and raised as Salvatore Lombino in New York City, living in East Harlem until the age of 12, at which point his family moved to the Bronx.

After the war, Hunter returned to New York and studied at Hunter College, majoring in English, with minors in dramatics and education. While looking to start a career as a writer, Hunter took a variety of jobs, including 17 days as a teacher at Bronx Vocational High School in September 1950. This experience would later form the basis for his 1954 novel The Blackboard Jungle.