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Candyland: A Novel In Two Parts [Hardcover]

Ed McBain , Evan Hunter
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 3 2001
Evan Hunter is known for his powerful novels and screenplays. Ed McBain is known for portraying the soul of the cop. They have distinct narrative voices, but both are bestselling storytellers who have received worldwide acclaim. Now, in "Candyland," they join for the first time to write a single story -- a powerful novel of obsession. Benjamin Thorpe is married, a father, a successful Los Angeles architect -- and a man obsessed. Alone in New York City on business, he spends the empty hours of the night in a compulsive search for female companionship. His dizzying descent leads to an early morning confrontation in a midtown bordello and a searing self-revelation. Part I of "Candyland" is a fever-pitched search for identity, seen through Benjamin's obsessed eyes and told in classic Evan Hunter style. Part II opens in Ed McBain territory. Three detectives are discussing a homicide. The victim is a young prostitute whose path crossed Benjamin Thorpe's the night before. Emma Boyle of the Special Victims Unit is assigned to the case. As the foggy events of the previous night come into sharper focus, Thorpe becomes an ever more possible suspect. The detailed police investigation and excruciating suspense are classic Ed McBain. Shocking, bold, and compulsively readable, "Candyland" is a groundbreaking literary event.

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Product Description

From Amazon

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.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Stories, One Murder April 16 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Candyland" is not so much a novel as a concept piece, the idea of two authors, both the same man, writing separate novellas that intersect at a specific event. Evan Hunter wrote "The Blackboard Jungle," the screenplay for Hitchcock's "The Birds," and a slew of serious novels. Ed McBain, Hunter's best-known pseudonym, is the author of the 87th Precinct crime novels. "Candyland" is a McBain crime novel, too, about the murder of a hooker. But it is also a Hunter portrait, of a man suspected of killing her.
Ed McBain novels are especially interesting when they stray from the 87th Precinct. "Downtown," a dark comedy of a man lost in the big bad city a la "After Hours" but with a body count and better jokes, was up there with Elmore Leonard's finest. "The Sentries" was a bizarre Cold War paranoia tale with a remarkably downbeat and unpleasant tone for airport fiction. "Candyland" is a brilliant and clever detour from the fictional environs of the 87th Precinct's Isola to the reality of New York City, and one of his best crime stories yet.
The tone is the same as in the 87th Precinct novels, dark and funny and acutely sensitive to how police officers operate. In the second half of the novel, the criminal investigation part written by "McBain," two detectives have a problem questioning a witness. The guy turns to the woman after they are done:
" 'We ought to arrange some signals we can use. If we are going to be working together any amount of time. Like if I touch my nose, for example, it'll mean you're Good Cop, I'm Bad Cop. Or if I call you Em instead of Emma...'
" 'I told you I don't like being called Em.'
" 'That's just what I'm saying. If I call you Em in front of somebody we're questioning, that'll mean Don't go there. Same as if you call me James.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the McBain/Hunter Contrast June 23 2003
By jh2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As a long-time fan of the 87th precinct novels by McBain, I was interested in seeing what the contrast would be like between McBain and Hunter. I really enjoyed this novel; surprisingly, I actually enjoyed the Hunter half at least as much as the McBain section. In fact, this novel led me to other Hunter books that I had been missing out on; I thoroughly enjoyed his "The Moment She Was Gone" novel, as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Candyland Sept. 20 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I must say how much I enjoyed this book. The first half (the Evan Hunter section) moves like a runaway train! I literally couldn't stop reading until I'd finished the whole piece in one sitting. Hunters' insight into the world of the sexually obsessed is so REAL you can feel empathy with what is really a rather loathsome persona. The McBain section is more conventional but never less than excellent. There is a palpable relaxation in pace, but this suits the unfolding nature of the plot. I've read a lot of McBain before but never dipped into his Evan Hunter books. This book has convinced me to try some.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not too bad /nothing special March 12 2002
By buzgibi
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Well having read the first part, I expected to find some
excitement in the second part , such as Thorpe's struggle
to prove he was not the murderer, Thorpe's getting arrested
or questioned , etc. It turned out to be the fact that the
guy never knew there was a crime, or that he was a suspect.
Thus I sort of failed to understand why the two parts connected
to each other. The second part could have made a story without the first part. Although I like crime novels in which cops are guilty,this one is very ordinary - compared to 87th presinct. Three stars - only for the sake of McBain's writing skills.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Boring disappointment Feb. 12 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read with enjoyment dozens of his books, so I was shocked to find this one boring and disgusting.
I don't think anyone would have published it if it were by any less well regarded author.
I suppose porno could be interesting, but this one isn't.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Aug. 31 2001
By Dolphin
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm a great fan of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct and Matthew Hope novels, but I really didn't enjoy this at all. I kept reading, hoping something exciting would happen but it didn't. There was too much sex and I guessed 'who dunnit' which was unusual for an Ed McBain book and really annoying.Really not worth reading.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Candyland Aug. 3 2001
Although not really a fan of Ed McBain I have read a few of his 87 Precinct books. I thought since this wasn't a 87th book I'd give it a try. What a boring book. The first part was enough to put me to sleep. I only finished the second part, skimming the pages, just to find out how it ended. I don't think I'll ever waste my time reading another McBain/Hunter book.
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I've never read McBain before, but I have read three Hunter novels. So the first half of this book, the part by Hunter, is just what I expected and quite interesting...The first half of the book ends with us realizing how obsessed Thorpe is and wondering what steps he will take to satify his desires and also wondering if he will ever get caught.
Then the second half begins and the book is ruined. Several detectives are investigating the murder of a prostitute. Thorpe turns out to be one of a few suspects. The detectives research more of Thorpe, and the two worlds connect a little but never collide.
I kept waiting for Thorpe to be a significant player in the second half of the book. But he never is, and thus the first half of the book is a waste. And so is the second half and its own extremely weak conclusion.
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