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Hunter, writing as Ed McBain, is the creator of the 87th Precinct police procedural series, the touchstone of the genre. This collection of short stories runs the gamut from crime to domestic drama. All display Hunter's mastery of the language, his impeccable sense of pace, and his curiosity regarding the infinite possibilities of the human condition. Among the highlights are "On the Sidewalk Bleeding," in which a young man realizes what he lost when he subordinated his individuality to the street-gang mystique. In the title story, a young newlywed plots to kill his wife's yapping poodle, but his plans go awry. A cocky novice criminal realizes he is in over his head in "First Offense," and in "Motel," an adulterous couple finally understand the consequences of their affair. Hunter is a consummate storyteller regardless of the format and here illustrates his mastery of the short story. Great reading, as always. Wes Lukowsky
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