The First Time I Read . . . Ed McBain

Welcome, Maryann Miller, to Birds and Books. It's been a while since I've read an Ed McBain mystery. Maryann reminded me of what McBain does with subplot that adds a deeper dimension to the characters. That's what I am attempting to do with the current mystery I'm writing. It's time to dust of an 87th Precinct mystery for a jolt of inspiration. 
The Making of a Police Procedural

The first time I read Cop Hater, the first book in the 87th Precinct series by Ed McBain, I was hooked on police procedural stories with an ensemble cast. All of the characters in the stories are unique, and McBain had a deft way of playing against stereotype. I loved the way he interwove the officers' personal lives with the main plot of each book, so it was like episodic television in print. The crime(s) always took center stage, but McBain often connected some aspect of the investigation to something in a subplot that added another dimension to the characters and the stories.
Prior to starting this series, I'd been reading a lot of John D. McDonald's Travis McGee books, and right away I noticed a difference in style. McDonald wrote long passages of introspection, which I did enjoy as I connected with the McGee philosophy, but McBain wrote at a faster pace, with bits of introspection dropped in. Since I didn't have a lot of time to read, I appreciated that the stories moved along quickly.
I've always had an interest in law-enforcement, so after reading several of the 87th Precinct books, I decided to try my hand at writing a police procedural. In addition to all the research I did, I studied the books as a primer on how to write unique characters and set a rhythm for the pacing.
The 87th Precinct series is one of the longest running crime series in literary history, and for a long time it was kind of a secret that McBain was the alter ego of Evan Hunter. Back then, publishers preferred to keep author names and pen names separate. When I found out, it was a nice surprise because I'd enjoyed many of the books by Hunter, too. 

Open Season, the first book in the Seasons Mystery Series, introduces Dallas detectives Sarah Kingsly and Angel Johnson, unwilling and unlikely partners. Embroiled in a serial murder case, the detectives must come to terms with public and personal racial unrest as they track a serial killer who has his own race card to play. Published first in hardback, now available as an e-book and as a paperback.
"Try this debut mystery for its open treatment of current urban problems, clean prose, and realistic depiction of women working together. For readers who enjoy Robin Burcell and fans of police procedurals." Library Journal
  "Miller spins a tight tale that's a cut above the average police procedural in this first of a new series introducing Dallas police detective Sarah Kingsly." Publisher's Weekly

Maryann Miller writes the critically-acclaimed Seasons Mystery Series that debuted with Open Season, and continued with Stalking Season.  Miller has received the Page Edwards Short Story Award, the 2015 Best Mystery Award from the TX Authors Association, The Trails Country Treasure Award from the Winnsboro Center for the Arts, and Woman of the Year from the Winnsboro Area Chamber of Commerce. She lives in the beautiful Piney Woods of East Texas with one horse, one goat, one sheep, one dog, and four cats. The cats are boss.

You can find out more about Maryann and all of her books at her website: 
Amazon Author Page:  
Follow her on Facebook:   


Barnes and Noble: