Hail to the Chief (87th Precinct Mysteries) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Hail to the Chief: An 87th Precinct Mystery Hardcover – Large Print, Jun 2003


See all 17 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Large Print, Jun 2003
CDN$ 148.79 CDN$ 0.01

2014 Books Gift Guide
Yes Please, the eagerly anticipated first book from Amy Poehler, the Golden Globe winning star of Parks and Recreation, is featured in our 2014 Books Gift Guide. More gift ideas
--This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Center Point Pub; Lrg edition (June 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585473073
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585473076
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 16.6 x 1.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,055,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Audio Cassette
Ed McBain gets metaphorical in this 1973 edition of his 87th Precinct crime series, taking on then-President Nixon in the person of Randy M. Nesbitt, leader of a gang on a killing spree.
As a time capsule, "Hail To The Chief" is a sometimes interesting read. As a police procedural, it's weak. The leader of the "Yankee Rebels" (one of many symbolic nods to Nixon perfidy) Nesbitt is presented to us as a guy elected to his second term in office, fighting a war he inherited without much enthusiasm but that he is intends to finish because, as he piously insists, he is a man of peace. "I pray to God every night that I'll always do the right thing," Nesbitt insists.
McBain has at Nixon both in terms of Watergate, then blowing up but still a year away from its final resolution with Nixon's resignation, and particularly with U.S. troops in Vietnam, just then being brought back home. The opening scene, of men, women, and an infant lying in a ditch, deliberately conjures up the My Lai massacre and similar atrocities which Nixon was seen by many to be complicit in, even though My Lai took place during the previous administration. You keep waiting for Nesbitt to tell someone he is not a crook. He doesn't, but that's about the only button McBain misses.
Subtlety is not his goal here, nor is humor. Both are missed. While McBain criminals can be quite deep and multi-faceted (more than the cops often) it quickly becomes clear to anyone reading this novel that Nesbitt is a knuckle-dragging moral leper, a boil on the face of humanity, unable to see beyond his own colossal egotism.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is very close to my heart because it was the first 87th Precint novel that i have read. And only from the first few pages I was absolutely hooked and laughing my self silly. Mcbain like in his other 87th Precint Novel 'SEE THEM DIE' tackles uncompromisingly the gang scene. The many colorful and gritty characters in this book keep us spellbinded. From the hookers to the dope fiends, from the gangsters who promise to reek havoc to the detectives who swear to protect, from all the small aspects of street life to the major issues of love and honour, if you haven't read a Mcbain novel, this one will not dissapoint. It's a feast to wallow in. Just enjoy.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
By D Stapleton on Jan. 4 2004
Format: Paperback
Gang warfare amongst teanage gangs. Interspaced with stages of the investigation of 6 gang murders (plus a whole lot more murders by the end of the book) are excerpts of the confession of gang president Randall Nesbitt (who instigated all of the murders) and his justifications that he was trying to bring peace to the neighbourhood. Brilliant as a gang warfare novel and as an allegory of the Vietnam war.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 32 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
One of McBain's best Sept. 10 2008
By Elizabeth Clare - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This police procedural finds the boys of the 87th Precinct investigating the deaths of a group of young people and a baby found shot and dumped at a construction site.

In this book, McBain switches off between the crime investigation and the thoughts of "The Chief," who turns out to be a teenage gang leader absolutely convinced that he must kill off his enemies to bring peace to his turf. The juxtaposition of the alternate realities is very well done. In addition, McBain's characterization of the cops is particularly well-drawn and compassionate in this book.

Reviewer: Liz Clare, co-author of the historical novel "To the Ends of the Earth: The Last Journey of Lewis and Clark"
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
McBain Has At Tricky Dick, Reader Suffers April 28 2004
By Slokes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio Cassette
Ed McBain gets metaphorical in this 1973 edition of his 87th Precinct crime series, taking on then-President Nixon in the person of Randy M. Nesbitt, leader of a gang on a killing spree.

As a time capsule, "Hail To The Chief" is a sometimes interesting read. As a police procedural, it's weak. The leader of the "Yankee Rebels" (one of many symbolic nods to Nixon perfidy) Nesbitt is presented to us as a guy elected to his second term in office, fighting a war he inherited without much enthusiasm but that he is intends to finish because, as he piously insists, he is a man of peace. "I pray to God every night that I'll always do the right thing," Nesbitt insists.

McBain has at Nixon both in terms of Watergate, then blowing up but still a year away from its final resolution with Nixon's resignation, and particularly with U.S. troops in Vietnam, just then being brought back home. The opening scene, of men, women, and an infant lying in a ditch, deliberately conjures up the My Lai massacre and similar atrocities which Nixon was seen by many to be complicit in, even though My Lai took place during the previous administration. You keep waiting for Nesbitt to tell someone he is not a crook. He doesn't, but that's about the only button McBain misses.

Subtlety is not his goal here, nor is humor. Both are missed. While McBain criminals can be quite deep and multi-faceted (more than the cops often) it quickly becomes clear to anyone reading this novel that Nesbitt is a knuckle-dragging moral leper, a boil on the face of humanity, unable to see beyond his own colossal egotism. When he condemns his fellow gang member's girlfriend (a character named Midge, based on the wife of John Mitchell who talked to reporters during the height of the Watergate investigation) to what becomes her doom, he insists that there is no blood on his hands. He only gave the orders. [Cue the Nazi marching music here.]

As a polemic, McBain offers meat to chew on. But "Hail To The Chief" is a police procedural featuring the 87th Precinct, and it's an ill-fit seeing the familiar environs of Isola playing host to a doctrinaire political parable. McBain had been writing about gang violence since the first 87th Precinct novel two decades before, and before that, under his real name Evan Hunter in the classic "Blackboard Jungle." Maybe he wanted to jazz up the old formula. But the Yankee Rebels can't work as satire if they don't work in the reader's mind as a real gang, and they don't. For example, how Nesbitt, a pious, paranoid blowhard with a marked aversion to obscenities, sex, and drugs, got to command a street gang is never explained.

It's sometimes fun to pick up on the Nixon references. Nesbitt has a bug installed in one of his rivals' headquarters, known as "Gateside" rather than "Watergate." His chief negotiator is called "Doc," (i.e. Dr. Kissinger) and he works on a policy of triangulation against two rival gangs much like China and the Soviet Union. In the end, Nesbitt is done in by his own paranoia, and it's something of a credit to McBain he seems to beat Woodward and Bernstein to Watergate's conclusion.

But the book just doesn't work as crime fiction. There is no mystery to solve here, just dead bodies lying around and a gang too drunk on bloodletting to cover its tracks. By the time Nesbitt explains how his "second term as president" was his mandate for seeking peace through strength, we got the point long ago. One good thing about Nixon resigning the next year - it meant McBain had to go back to writing about real crime.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Gang Warfare Nov. 19 2010
By Nash Black - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The late Ed McBain wrote the book on the police procedural novel. HAIL TO THE CHIEF is an exceptional example. The narrative is sparse, crisp, and shocking. The style of telling the story of the police work interwoven with the "confession" of the deranged gang leader brings two points-of-view to the reader.
Steve Carella and Bertram Kling are called to a grisly murder scene in the dead of night. Five people have been shot, stripped, and dumped in an open utilities ditch. Their work begins without clues as they stumble into the streets of the city to stop waring gangs from exterminating themselves.
A good classic read.
Nash Black, author of SINS OF THE FATHERS.
Don't judge this book by its cover. July 19 2014
By Amy K. Rambow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The choice of the photo illustration on this particular edition is potentially misleading. The illustration shows an African-American man. In this 1973 novel, all the police officers, villains and victims with substantive speaking parts are white. The titular "chief," a gang leader, is a white racist idiot (and a stand-in for Richard Nixon). The story has many African-American and Hispanic "extras," but unfortunately no genuinely significant roles. The character pictured on the cover must be construed as one of those whose dead bodies are discovered in the opening scene.

This novel is mostly satisfactory as a police procedural, and as a record of gang behaviors before the crack cocaine era. The Nixonian satire seems unobjectionable, although the decades have obscured all but the most blatant of the parallels (how many new readers remember the Watergate era, or have studied it in detail?). Much of the tale is told from the perspective of the villainous Nixon avatar, which is a valid storytelling strategy, though not one I hugely enjoyed, personally, here. I kept waiting for the narration to return to the police officers.
Bad cover- good book Aug. 29 2014
By RL - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not to get all PC here, but given that the character the title is based on here is white, did we really need a black guy on the cover of the book about gangs?
Sorry, just had to point that out. Aside from some now-dated seeming political commentary, this was an interesting one for it's work with staggered sequencing, not really a hallmark of McBain's work but pulled off pretty effectively here. The lack of mystery (we get the name of the main bad guy in Chapter 1) doesn't drain out nearly as much of the fun as I had feared, and the procedural elements the author mastered so well prove themselves perfectly enjoyable once again.
The Kindle formatting was a little rough here, breaks between scenes or characters points of view aren't well done.


Feedback