Two of the best mystery writers in America team up in this interesting Law and Order
-type experiment. In the first half of the book, a sexually voracious architect prowls the dark corners of New York looking for some action before he heads back to his frigid L.A. wife. In the second half, a prostitute's grisly rape-murder engages the attention of the guys (and girl) in blue. What's the connection between the murdered woman and the obsession-ridden architect? A string of coincidences that make the reader expect a surprise ending, of course. But it doesn't happen, which makes one wonder why the two authors (who happen to be the same person) bothered with the gimmick. Still, both Ed McBain (author of the 87th Precinct novels) and Evan Hunter (his more literary and much sexier incarnation) are old pros, so the pacing, character development, and thorough knowledge of police procedure and human nature that mark this tidy little mystery make it a pleasant enough diversion. A new McBain or Hunter is always cause for celebration, and Candyland
, which is a lot grittier than most police procedurals, will titillate their many fans until either (or both) comes through with a new thriller. The distinct narrative voices of the multitalented writer are on view here; although the writing styles aren't different enough to make it more than a parlor trick, the result is still twice as good as most of the season's new offerings. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
Hunter (The Blackboard Jungle; etc.) and McBain (the 87th Precinct novels) are the same man, of course, although all the evidence in this superb crime novel, other than a brief confession tucked within the jacket copy, says otherwise. The photo on the back of the jacket, for instance, depicts two men standing together--Hunter in a dark suit and McBain in more casual jeans, sunglasses and cap. Most notably, the writing styles employed in the novel's first part, "The Rain May Never Fall Till After Sundown..." by Hunter, and in the (equally long) second part, McBain's "By Eight, the Morning Fog Must Disappear..." are as alike as sauerkraut and cookies. The first is a cuttingly incisive character study of L.A. architect Ben Thorpe, married and in his late 40s. He spends his final night of a Manhattan business trip drinking and frantically chasing women--a pickup in a bar, an old girlfriend for phone sex and finally two prostitutes in a brothel, where Thorpe insults a third whore and is beaten by the bouncer, only to be rescued by a kindly streetwalker who takes him to her home. The pages flow with the speed and intense detail of a fever dream as Hunter captures the insatiable drive and lavish self-excusing of the sex addict. The section closes with Ben standing in late-night Manhattan rain, then leaps ahead to the next day and McBain's world of Special Victims detective Emma Boyle and her fellow cops, assigned to the murder of a prostitute--the one whom Thorpe insulted. Fashioned in tougher, more clipped, yet just as insightful prose as what came before, this material digs deep into the damaged private lives of the cops even as they hunt the killer--who may be Thorpe--as doggedly as Thorpe pursues women. Each part of the novel works beautifully alone but also in tandem, adding up to a multifaceted, psychologically astute portrait of crime and punishment that has "Edgar nominee" written all over it. Agent, Jane Gelfman.
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