Eight Black Horses - Ed McBain, Mark Sullivan I’ve read a lot of Ed McBain and since the special Kindle sale a while back that offered some 40 of his titles for .99 each, I know have a lot more to read. Not in any order.

I have often wondered about McBain’s (nee Evan Hunter) sexual experience. If you’ve read Candyland, for example, his familiarity with massage parlors struck me as coming from personal experience. Then again, his portrayal of police procedures seem quite real, also. Nevertheless, the Deaf Man’s libidic (probably not a word, but I like it) prowess in this book with a woman he has designs upon, made me a little uncomfortable. It shouldn’t have, and I hope I’ve not getting Victorian in my dotage.

Never has Isola’s characteristics been so prominently displayed. And it so resembles New York. “The center of the city, Isola, was an island; hence its name: isola means “island” in Italian. In actual practice the entire city was referred to as Isola, even though the other four sections were separately and more imaginatively named. Riverhead came from the Dutch, though not directly. The land up there had once been owned by a patroon named Ryerhurt, and it had been called Ryerhurt’s Farms, which eventually became abbreviated and bastardized to Riverhead. No one knew why...”

I really like McBain, but the ones which feature the Deaf Man are my least favorite. His personal animus toward Carella and brilliance seem phantasmagorical. The personal animus displayed by a criminal toward a policeman always seems very artificial, although to McBain’s credit, the Deaf Man manipulates the police department into becoming part of his schemes. “At first Carella had supposed this to be evidence of a monumental ego, but he had come to learn that the Deaf Man used the police as a sort of second pickup gang, larger than the nucleus group, but equally essential to the successful commission of the crime. That he had been thwarted on three previous occasions was entirely due to chance. He was smarter than the police, and he used the police, and he let the police know they were being used.”