Monday, October 1, 2018

Pick Up A Pulp [46]: CUT ME IN by Ed McBain

Ed McBain is best known for his long running 87th Precinct series, however, some of his best work includes So Nude So Dead (writing as Evan Hunter) and The Gutter and The Grave (writing as Curt Cannon), both pulp era crime reads re-printed as part of the Hard Case Crime stable. 

Originally published in 1954 under the pen-name Hunt Collins, Cut Me In is pure pulp; the protagonist is a masochist, the dames are wanton, and the murders plentiful. Throw in healthy doses of sexual innuendo more akin to pulp pushers like Carter Brown than McBain, and you've got a sleazy murder mystery full of buttery popcorn pulp. 

Josh Blake, a partner in a literary agency arrives in the office expecting to bleed for his clients and make some nice commission for the agency finds his partner, Del, murdered and the safe containing important and contentious contracts wide open. With a deal in the balance and the cops fingering him as a suspect, Blake turns into a semi-sleuth to help catch the killer. 

Cut Me In is a hell of a fun book to read. The plot is simple yet the characters not without their complexities while the pace is pulse pounding. I didn't pick the perp until the last few pages. 

The 2016 Hard Case Crime reprint also includes a novelette by McBain, featuring his under appreciated, PI Matt Cordell titled Now Die In It. Cordell also appears in the aforementioned The Gutter and The Grave. This novelette is a nice taster and teaser which has me wanting more Matt Cordell stories. 

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