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Eight Black Horses [Mass Market Paperback]

Ed McBain
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

April 29 2003 87th Precinct Mysteries

It all got terribly confusing when the Deaf Man put in an appearance....

...and the criminal mastermind is making his presence known by the dead bodies that are turning up around Isola. Then there are the notes -- with cryptic patterns including eight black horses dancing across a page -- that look like they mean nothing. But Detectives Kling, Carella, and Meyer know that with the Deaf Man, the seemingly meaningless always means something. Something bad. And as late fall hurtles toward Christmas, the Deaf Man is counting down the days, luring the cops of the 87th Precinct with a series of taunting clues -- all leading toward a horrifying act of revenge orchestrated by a psychopathic killer.


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

McBain brings back the Deaf Man to baffle the police of his 87th precinct. By switching the narrative back and forth from the police officers to the psychotic criminal, the author creates tension that lasts until the shattering conclusion. "Ingenious," PW stated.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

PeopleEd McBain is, by far, the best at what he does. Case closed.

TimeShrewd plotting, deadpan humor, and understated, unnerving violence.

Publishers WeeklyMcBain is so good he ought to be arrested.

San Diego Union-TribuneMcBain is one of the best mystery/suspense/thriller writers of our era.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Seasons Greetings From The Deaf Man May 9 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's getting into the holiday season at the 87th Precinct, and what's this? An unexplained package for Det. Steve Carella? A dead naked woman lying in the park across the street? Must be another call from that fiendish archvillain, the Deaf Man.
"Eight Black Horses" was published in 1985, but it's more like a throwback to an earlier time in the 87th Precinct's development, when the accent was more on the mystery and less on the characters around it. That's not a bad thing here, since the problem posed to the investigators (and readers) by the Deaf Man is so involving and enjoyable in its macabre way. You get four dead civilians, three dead cops, and plenty of kinky sex before this one is through, so maybe it's not so bad to take this one as an entry in a lighter vein.
Ed McBain is as serious as death when he writes one of his 87th Precinct thrillers, but sometimes he's less serious than others, like he is here when he writes of a woman, feeling jilted after a one-night stand involving bondage and Russian roulette: "Lying to her, taking advantage of her, doing disgusting things to her, and then not even calling her again..."
The pace of this one zips along in classic 87th Precinct style, with more attention than usual given to the full complement of detectives in the squadroom. The clues the reader and the detectives get are clever even if we pick up on it a little before they do. Something about the Deaf Man makes him operate like his classical predecessor, Moriarty, laying forth the gauntlet in an almost gentlemanly style that would seem archaic were it not so entertaining. It makes him happy company, too, however fiendish he may be.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Already I'm an addict April 3 2001
By Jim Shine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first McBain book I've read, but it's easy to see why the 87th Precinct series is widely regarded as the greatest of procedurals. Anyone who enjoys TV shows like Hill Street Blues will recognise the debt owed to McBain.
Eight Black Horses sees an old foe of the 87th, the Deaf Man, sending a series of bizarre messages to the cops, who must decipher the clues before... well, they don't know what he's going to do. The gradually mounting tension is offset with plenty of humour, much of it black; the climax is an object lesson in combining suspense with comedy.
To paraphrase the Stephen King quote they stick on Elmore Leonard books, "After I read Eight Black Horses, I went out and bought every Ed McBain book I could find". True! These are ideal for a quick, light read. Try one instead of going to the cinema to see a mediocre thriller.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seasons Greetings From The Deaf Man May 9 2004
By Bill Slocum - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's getting into the holiday season at the 87th Precinct, and what's this? An unexplained package for Det. Steve Carella? A dead naked woman lying in the park across the street? Must be another call from that fiendish archvillain, the Deaf Man.

"Eight Black Horses" was published in 1985, but it's more like a throwback to an earlier time in the 87th Precinct's development, when the accent was more on the mystery and less on the characters around it. That's not a bad thing here, since the problem posed to the investigators (and readers) by the Deaf Man is so involving and enjoyable in its macabre way. You get four dead civilians, three dead cops, and plenty of kinky sex before this one is through, so maybe it's not so bad to take this one as an entry in a lighter vein.

Ed McBain is as serious as death when he writes one of his 87th Precinct thrillers, but sometimes he's less serious than others, like he is here when he writes of a woman, feeling jilted after a one-night stand involving bondage and Russian roulette: "Lying to her, taking advantage of her, doing disgusting things to her, and then not even calling her again..."

The pace of this one zips along in classic 87th Precinct style, with more attention than usual given to the full complement of detectives in the squadroom. The clues the reader and the detectives get are clever even if we pick up on it a little before they do. Something about the Deaf Man makes him operate like his classical predecessor, Moriarty, laying forth the gauntlet in an almost gentlemanly style that would seem archaic were it not so entertaining. It makes him happy company, too, however fiendish he may be.

For those who try to keep score, there's some useful details about the boroughs of Isola and how they were named: "Bethtown had been named for the virgin queen Elizabeth, but undoubtedly by a British officer with a lisp; it was supposed to be Besstown."

And there's even some Christmas cheer to be had. Never mind that the Santa at the local department store isn't called "short eyes" because he gets confused about his elves. Probably the finest misanthropic take on the meaning of Christmas is offered by Det. Andy Parker in a hilarious monologue that belongs in any curmudgeon's handbook.

Even for 87th Precinct fans, the Deaf Man may be a bit of an acquired taste; since he likes to drop clues a la the Riddler he pushes the bounds of realism somewhat more than some 87th Precinct readers might like. But for those of us who enjoy Ed McBain's storytelling vibrancy, having an outsized story now and then only adds to the pleasures of the series.

And there's always useful information to be had. Here, for example, we learn from a detective which silk panties to buy a girlfriend for which day of the week. Saturday is black, we know, but Thursdays are purple? Just as long as you don't forget the lavender garter belt...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and Crisp Jan. 16 2009
By Brkat - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Having been caught in an airport delay I grabbed this book out of the terminal bookstore to help pass the time. Lucky grab. I enjoyed the time spent reading this Ed McBain novel (though it wasn't my first I just don't remember the others).

The plot may seem a bit corny. A criminal mastermind (aka the Deaf Man) is planning something nefarious around Christmas time and taunts the 87th police precinct by sending them cryptic clues including a picture of eight black horses. So it's up to the good detectives Kling, Carella and Meyer to unravel the mysterious puzzle in time to foil the Deaf Man's ingenious plan. What makes this so captivating is McBain's ability to keep the action moving at a crisp pace while maintaining an atmosphere of tension and suspense. Throw in a little wry humor and graphic violence and you have a winning formula for an intriguing book.

Also, "Eight Black Horses" was written in 1985. It was a bit refreshing to read something about crime solving before the proliferation of cell phones and the internet. I liked it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite of the Lot Dec 13 1999
By zimbee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
To this day this is the most gripping 87th Precinct story I have read. The reader is constantly kept in suspense. The Deaf Man is one of McBain's best characters. Every time he pops up, I know the adventure will be extraordinary. I love the way the notes are intertwined with the text. Fans should definitely have this title.
2.0 out of 5 stars The Deaf Man Does Not Deliver June 7 2013
By Stephen Czapalay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Disappointing !In the first book the deaf man was doublecrossed and left for dead .He survived his wounds and left the motel to seek revenge against the woman whom he had once trusted.Book 2 did not follow up this situation .It presented a series of events that aggravated the police in the 87th precinct.In the finale the deaf man had successfully arranged the planting of explosives throughout the 87th precinct,but one bumbling cop unwittingly disconnected the bomb in the closet with just seconds to spare.A cliffhanger ?Is there a sequel so the deaf man finally has his way ?
Stephen
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