ICE (1983) ****
by Ed McBain
This paperback edition published by Pan Books, 1984, 288pp
First published in 1983
© Hui Corporation, 1983
Blurb: Snow whips through the city’s streets like lethal daggers when a young actress leaves the theatre after her latest performance. She walks home instead of taking the subway, and soon the snow on the ground is stained red with her blood. A cold, hard winter is blowing in, and it’s bringing greed and murder. For Detectives Carella, Kling, Meyer, and Brown, the sudden storm that has covered the city in a suffocating sheet of ice is only the beginning of their problems. From a multimillion-dollar showbiz scam and diamonds spilling out of a dead man’s vest to a cold-hearted rapist prowling the streets and a stone-cold murderer on the loose, the frozen grip of fear is strangling the city. It is up to the men of the 87th to bring the heat.
Comment: The 36th of Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct novels is the longest yet and comes across as an attempt to re-launch the series after a two-year gap, with the book giving all the detectives their own introduction. The central plot is fairly routine for the series, but McBain has such command of his characters and storytelling abilities by this stage, that the book carries that element of class that elevates it above other police procedurals. McBain also re-introduces special forces decoy detective Eileen Burke, who latches onto Kling’s sorrow, following his recent divorce having discovered his model wife fooling around in the previous book, Heat. The scenes are neatly interwoven with two secondary plots involving Burke being used to trap a robber and a rapist. The book would be adapted into a TV movie in 1996.
ICE (1983) ****