Review: Killer’s Choice, by Ed McBain

The fifth book in Ed McBain’s classic 87th Precinct series introduces a new character to the detective squad — Cotton Hawes. Hawes has been transferred over from one of the richer parts of the city (based loosely on New York) and has had little experience with homicide. The veteran detectives of the 87th have had plenty. During the course of a murder investigation, Hawes makes a terrible mistake, nearly costing the life of one his colleagues. But he learns quickly. And as McBain had promised, one of the detectives we met in the first four books the series loses his life in this book. And so it continues, as McBain builds up a group of memorable characters, a collective hero for the series, characters who can be killed, or transferred — just like in real life. He has invented a whole new genre here — the police procedural — and watching it being born is wonderful.