Synopses & Reviews
Detective Matt Cordell was happily married once, and 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 neighborhood, 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...
"First published as by 'Curt Cannon' under the title I'm Cannon For Hire (1958), this revised reissue reminds readers that the late McBain had some serious noir chops. Betrayed by a dame, former PI Matt Cordell has fallen hard and become a bum in New York City's Bowery district. Cordell's decision to help old friend Johnny Bridges, a tailor, investigate petty larceny at his store soon leads to a series of murders and some steamy encounters with the 'fair sex,' including a femme fatale. A strong cast of characters from rival private eye Dennis Knowles to tailor's assistant Dave Ryan creates a tangled web of deceit, with lies piling up faster than tokens in a subway station. But the best thing about the novel is the hard-boiled Cordell as the archetypal noir antihero, fated to failure even in success. Of necessity, the story is dated, but the pleasure of following the exploits of a forefather of such later icons as Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder more than compensates. Fittingly, McBain has come full circle with the re-release of this revamped early novel at the end of his long and distinguished career. Agent, Gelfman-Schneider. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[T]here's a toughness to this funny old town, an air of danger McBain picked up from the way people talk when they're scared. He always did have a great ear the best." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"[I]t's a testament to the depth of [McBain's] talent that this little-known noir...delivers intrigue, excitement, and humor that plenty of today's writers would kill for." Booklist
"It's written with verve, and its plot...is ingenious....The novel has nothing like the diamond-hard realism that McBain later brought to the 87th Precinct series, but it's readable and fun." Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post Book World
"[A]n exciting reminder of just how good Evan Hunter/Ed McBain always was at simply telling a hardboiled pulp tale....This is the best seven bucks you'll spend on a paperback this month." Ed Gorman, Mystery Scene
Available for the first time in more than 40 years, this classic by the master of crime fiction finds former detective and current Bowery bum Matt Cordell investigating a double homicide involving a beautiful woman and an old nemesis. Original.
About the Author
Ed McBain's books have sold more than one hundred million copies, ranging from the more than fifty titles in his outstanding 87th Precinct series to the bestselling novels The Blackboard Jungle and Criminal Conversation, written under his own name, Evan Hunter. Writing as both Ed McBain and Evan Hunter, he broke new ground with Candyland, a novel in two parts. He is also the author of the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.