cover image So Nude, So Dead

So Nude, So Dead

Ed McBain. Hard Case Crime, $9.95 ISBN 978-1-78116-606-2

McBain scholars and aficionados will welcome this reissue of the late MWA Grand Master’s first crime novel, originally published in 1952 under a pseudonym. Ray Stone, who was once a promising pianist but is now a heroin addict desperate for his next fix, awakens one morning to find the woman next to him, Eileen Chalmers, with two bullet holes in her belly. Though appalled by Eileen’s murder, Stone is more concerned with finding the 16 ounces of heroin that he knows is somewhere in their hotel room—or was, before he passed out. He spends the next frantic days alternately searching for the stash, trying to score a quick hit, and running from the mobsters—who eventually capture him and administer a brutal beating as they try to extract the location of the missing heroin. The book is crude, clearly the work of a beginner—McBain was 26 when it was published—giving little indication of the superb craftsman that he would later become. [em](July) [/em]