Review: The Mugger, by Ed McBain

This is the second book in McBain’s legendary 87th Precinct series, set in a fictionalised (albeit recognisable) New York City. McBain was experimenting with the idea of a whole team as ‘hero’ of the series…


Haunted by Andrey Vyshinsky’s Ghost

Last week I sent out a message to tens of thousands of trade unionists alerting them to two bits of news.  The good news, I reported, was that some workers in Poland had won a…


Review: Cop Hater, by Ed McBain

I began reading the 87th Precinct novels by Ed McBain nearly 40 years ago, having stumbled upon them entirely by accident in a library. McBain (real name Evan Hunter) is widely seen as the inventor…


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Review: Kindred, by Octavia Butler

This book is a cross between Jack Finney’s time travel classic Time and Again and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Written in 1979 and set three years earlier, it tells the story of a young African…



Review: Karl Kautsky, by Dick Geary

British historian Dick Geary, who passed away last year, apologised several times in the course of this short book for not being able to go into any detail. That’s because the book was a part…





Review: Stasi Child, by David Young

I’m probably wrong about this, but I think the trend of writing police procedurals set in totalitarian societies started with Martin Cruz Smith, whose Gorky Park was published back in 1981. Since then there have…