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Criminal Conversation


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About the Author

Evan Hunter, who writes under the pseudonym, Ed McBain, is one of the most illustrious names in fiction. In 1998 he was the first non-British author to be awarded the Crime Writers Association/Cartier Diamond Dagger Award and he is also a holder of the Mystery Writers of America's coveted Grand Master Award. He has written twenty novels as Evan Hunter and more than eighty as Ed McBain. He lives in Connecticut.


Sarah Welles lives a good life. She is a good wife, a good mother, and a good teacher. She loves her husband, Michael, but his job as a lawyer in the DA's office is demanding-more so now that he is on the trail of the new boss of one of New York's most powerful crime families. While on a vacation that Michael is unable to make, Sarah's daughter is rescued from drowning by a handsome stranger. Although Sarah is attracted to him, she keeps her distance until they meet back in New York and become embroiled in a torrid affair. Hunter and his alter ego, Ed McBain, have electrified readers with dozens of novels for 40 years but rarely have the characters come to life with such fervent emotion as they do here. This is a tough, sexy novel by a master at the top of his game examining the blurred lines between love and desire, virtue and sin. Highly recommended for all popular fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/94.]-Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa.

Hunter's latest--his 19th since The Blackboard Jungle in 1954--shows a master's hand at popular fiction, as he employs engaging characters in a riveting plot that leads to an operatic, cathartic climax. Sarah Welles, 34-year-old wife, mother and schoolteacher, falls in love with 28-year-old Andrew Farrell, a suave, mysterious businessman. We know that he's really Andrew Faviola, scion and acting boss of a Mafia family with plans for massive profits from a new smokable opium-cocaine drug. He's also the target of the New York DA's special rackets squad headed by Sarah's husband Michael. Electronic eavesdropping shows Andrew, a seasoned rake, dropping all amours but Sarah, moving from cynical opportunism to true love. Meanwhile, the DA's focus turns to the unknown ``blonde.'' Sarah and Andrew's steamy sex scenes are caught on audiotape, and when her husband learns the blonde's identity it's only a question of when and how disaster will strike. We learn a lot about mob ``loyalty'' (Andrew is betrayed by his favorite cousin) and ignorance (a capo ponderously intones: ``The Chinese have a saying, `From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs' ''). Hunter can write funny dialogue, and he also wrenchingly portrays the desperate struggle of a sweet, very bright black girl--Sarah's favorite student--in a terrifying environment. As the prolific Ed McBain, Hunter writes the 87th Precinct novels; here he has fused his skills in bravura fashion. Film rights optioned by Tom Cruise; Mystery Guild main selection; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates; major ad/promo; author tour. (May)

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