Ice - Ed McBain I have no idea what I find so appealing about Ed McBain's books, but I have yet to find one I don't really like. Perhaps it's the naturalness or banality of the conversation. Perhaps the element of humor in what otherwise would be dismal surroundings and events. Perhaps it's the relationship between Carella and Teddy, his deaf/mute wife. Perhaps the way he interweaves the characters into an ensemble. Or perhaps the honesty of his human portrayals. Whatever, each of his books is really good. They just suck you into the world of the 87th precinct.

Ice can be many things: cold, diamonds, slipperiness and something related to the theater - to say more would be giving away a clue. All of these elements are present in this 1983 novel (36th in the 87th precinct series). A Broadway dancer is shot while walking home. Ballistics reveals she was shot wih the same gun used on a drug pusher and later a diamond dealer killed in a garage. What's the link that connects all these crimes?

An example of why I like McBain: At the dinner table, ten-year old April complained that she had received only one Valentine's Day card and that one was from a doofus. She pronounced the word with a grimace her mother might have used more suitably. . . Her ten-year-old brother, who resembled Carella more than he did either his mother or his twin sister, offered the opinion that anyone who would send April had to be a doofus, at which point April seized her half-finished pork-chop by its rib and threatened to use it on him like a hatchet. If you've never had children, you won't get it. And not just one child.

For those who care about such things, McBain is the pseudonym for Evan Hunter, whose birth name was Salvatore Lombino. I also recommend Learning To Kill (available for the Kindle) that is a collection of Hunter's early work for magazines and show the development of his characters. Each story is preceded by a short biographical and bibliographical note.