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Blood Relatives Hardcover – Large Print, May 2002


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About the Author

Ed McBain was one of the pen names of successful and prolific crime fiction author Evan Hunter (1926 – 2005). Debuting in 1956, the popular 87th Precinct is one of the longest running crime series ever published, featuring over fifty novels, and is hailed as “one of the great literary accomplishments of the last half-century.” McBain was awarded the Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement in 1986 by the Mystery Writers of America and was the first American to receive the Cartier Diamond Dagger award from the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Amazon.com: 31 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Keeping The Aspidistra Flying Nov. 17 2007
By Slokes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Right from the opening page, an almost surreally cinematic description of a bloody girl running toward a police station in the rain, you realize you are in for a solid 87th Precinct crime novel. And you are. Published in 1975, 20 years into the run of the series, "Blood Relatives" plunges you into the middle of one of Ed McBain's most vividly realized stories.

Seventeen-year-old Muriel Stark is slashed to death in the hallway of an abandoned tenement, her murder witnessed by her cousin Patricia. But Patricia's story gets more complicated, and the 87th Precinct detectives find themselves hunting up several different alleys to solve the crime.

At his best, McBain produced not mysteries or simple story yarns but colorful and diversely-patterned mosaics, where, as in real life, varied and disconnected elements of city life came together in the course of a routine investigation never anything close to routine. A drunk who slaps his wife around, a hobo who imagines himself king of the city and visits junkyards to examine his tribute, an amiable bank manager who shares his name with a radio-age superhero are all elements meaningless in isolation that come alive as the stuff of life and death in McBain's hands.

Police work, too, is described in a way both authentic and entertaining, like when he steps away from the story for a moment to note the peril of policemen trying to ape Baretta. "Television cops were dangerous. They made real cops feel like heroes instead of hard-working slobs."

McBain's doesn't let you forget about the central crime or sundry other atrocities the detectives of the 87th must deal with. He just delivers in such a way that you get used to it all the way they do, "keeping the old aspidistra flying" as he puts it and making you feel a part of their strange brotherhood. There's more than the usual amount of police business in this police procedural, with McBain explaining the rules of homicide investigation (if a case isn't solved in the first 24 hours, it is as likely to be solved by chance as by detection thereafter) and why you can't smoke at a crime scene, even in 1975.

The mystery itself is one of McBain's better ones, too, one that keeps you guessing as you read though not thinking much about it after. I could have done without the device of a diary that gives away many of the secrets. I'd rather have had 50 more pages of sleuthing. Alas, he wasn't yet writing 400-page installments of the 87th series, though this has more story than some of those later volumes.

"Blood Relatives" is overall a solid, worthy effort that presages many of his great 87th Precinct novels of the 1980s, with its singular vitality and depth. Read this, and you will come back for more.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
False Accusations July 24 2000
By Brian D. Rubendall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Blood Relatives" is another fine installment in Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series. In this episode, Detective Steve Carella attempts to track down a psycho who has killed the cousin of a fifteen year old girl right in front of her eyes. Just when Carella thinks he has a positive ID, it turns out to be the wrong guy! This book is typically of earlier period McBain. It is short, sweet and to the point, describing matter-of-factly how a murder investigation works. It is not the most memorable of McBain's works, but will satisfy any fan of the 87th Precinct series.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Blood Relatives Sept. 6 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ed McBain is a true grit mystery cop writer! You live vicariously thru the characters he writes into his books, can feel the pulse and heartbeat of the story as he takes you thru each nook and cranny. I love McBain!
Another Terrific 87th Precinct Entry May 20 2015
By Bobby Underwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Evan Hunter, better known today as Ed McBain because of the 87th Precinct series, wrote Blood Relatives in 1975, nearly twenty years after the inaugural book in the series, Cop Hater, and it's a real winner. From the opening scene as a bloodied girl runs through the rain-darkened streets of Isola to get help, this one grabs you and doesn't let go. The tale Patricia Lowrey tells to the police leads them to her cousin Muriel, butchered by the man who tried to kill both of them. A line-up is arranged by Kling and Carella once they realize at a hospital they are working on the same case, and that's where it all gets interesting.

Patricia fingers a cop in the line-up who was nowhere near the crime scene. This leads to the revelation that she's lying, which in turns leads to her finally telling the truth, naming her brother as her attacker and the killer of her pretty cousin Muriel. Carella can't shake the feeling the reader also has that nothing is quite as it seems, and there is an artificiality to Patricia Lowrey's new story.

This one delves more into the gritty underbelly of extended families and love both requited and unrequited than the mean streets of Isola, yet has that same nourish feel to it for which the series is famous. When Muriel's diary falls into the lap of Carella by sheer happenstance, a sad and twisted story leads him to the killer. The passages in the diary is some terrific writing by McBain, adding poignancy to the story by humanizing Muriel, something you don't always get in a police procedural, which is naturally more about catching the killer than it is the victim's life.

Rather than character development in each book, the reader comes to know Carella and the other cops of the 87th Precinct over the course of time in these police procedurals. This one ends as it began, in the rain, as Carella walks away. Blood Relatives is a terrific entry in the series. There is a bit of a lag in the middle, but a huge and poignant payoff for readers at the end. Great stuff.
Fast and gritty police procedural read... May 16 2013
By kayjay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I admit that I do not read a lot of police procedurals. In fact, this is the first Ed McBain book I've read. So, I am by no means an expert on either the genre or the author. I imagine far more readers of the genre and this particular author are men than women. Nonetheless, I found myself continuing to read Blood Relatives while waiting for a delayed flight, despite its immediate unfolding to what seemed to be a disturbing storyline (and later proved itself to be), since I knew after just ten chapters the story would end. I do find it interesting to read the nuts and bolts to how a murder investigation happens, and now I wonder why I have not read more procedurals. The writing of the opening scene to the story is brilliantly vivid so as to hurl the reader immediately into this gritty urban setting where a girl, covered in blood, is running in the rain towards a Police Station. (Mind you, there's much more to that description in the book.) And yet, the author later reminds the reader that cops are people too, and they need to celebrate all the usual milestones in life that keep us grounded and help us to feel a sense of normalcy in an otherwise chaotic world. "The boys of the 87th wanted a wedding..." In the next paragraph, McBain writes about the obliging detective and his fiancee, "Then they went out to brunch, and strolled the city... For a little while it felt like Paris. On Monday morning he became a cop again." That's just a priceless description of the male mind's compartmentalization. For me, the mystery itself has interesting twists and a surprise ending, using a diary as a literary device to convey information to the reader. I do not mind this epistolary approach. It only fits because the characters involved are female. I'll read more from McBain.


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