Picks and Pans Review: Criminal Conversation

updated 07/25/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/25/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Evan Hunter

Michael Welles, a headline-hungry district attorney, is determined to bring down New York City's powerful crime boss. He guns his office into full throttle—round-the-clock surveillance, wiretaps, cops haunting strongholds—looking for evidence on which to hang a conviction, but the mob boss is slick, sinister and not as vulnerable as he appears. Between the two stands a beautiful woman, married to one man and mistress to the other, unwittingly engaged in a deadly game of her own.

This is Hunter's best book since 1974's Streets of Gold. During that span he wrote some 20 books under his pen name, Ed McBain, establishing himself as squad leader of the mystery field. Criminal Conversation (the term is an old English legal definition for adultery) has the same violent intensity as any McBain book and comes equipped with the expected doses of precision plotting, sharp dialogue and well-defined characters. Plus sex. Lots of sex. It is positive proof that under whichever name he writes, Hunter/McBain delivers the goods. (Warner, $21.95)

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