Lightning (87th Precinct)
The city can be a strange place, full of odd sights. Sometimes chilling sights. But nothing could prepare the detectives of the 87th Precinct for the sight of a murdered young woman, a member of a local college track team, hanging from a lamppost. Nor could they be ready for the news that the same night, another woman is raped for the third time—by the same man. Two cases, two perpetrators, one chilling evening.
Can the detectives of the 87th, with help from Fat Ollie Weeks and Rape Squad Decoy Eileen Burke, put them behind bars for good? The team doesn’t have much time, because it only takes a moment for lightning to strike again.
One of Ed McBain’s grittiest installments of his famed 87th Precinct series, Lightning is a masterpiece of suspense, brooding intensity, and ingenious plotting that elevates crime fiction to its highest possible plane.
talk to her personally, okay? I was just on my way out, I’ll be late for class.” “When’s the last time you saw her?” Carella asked. “At school Thursday.” “Ramsey U?” Hawes asked, looking at the sweatshirt. “Brilliant deduction,” the girl said. “You went to school together?” “Give the man another cigar.” “How long did you know her?” Carella asked. “Since my freshman year. I’m a junior now. We’re both juniors.” “She from here originally? The city?” “No. Some little town in Kansas. Buffalo
building. The truth of what Jenny Compton had told them became immediately apparent in the small entrance lobby. A lighting fixture hung loose from the ceiling; there was no light bulb in it. The locks on several of the mailboxes were broken. The glass panel on the interior door was cracked, and the doorknob hung loose from a single screw. Further corroboration of McLaughlin’s attempts to make life difficult for his intransigent tenants was manifest in the worn and soiled linoleum on the
behind the line now, not quite touching it, thumbs pointing inward. Weight on the left knee, the right foot, and both hands. Head level. Eyes looking out some three feet ahead of the line. Set! Hips rising. Body rocking forward to move the shoulders ahead of the line. Soles of both feet pressed hard against the blocks. Eyes still fixed on that imaginary spot three feet ahead. A spring tensed for sudden release. Bang! The sound of an imaginary gun in her head and in his, and her arms were
“That’s where I am,” Eileen said. Dripping all over your Oriental rug, she thought, but did not say. “Well, in the desk where the phone is…” “Uh-huh.” “The bottom drawer on the right-hand side…” “Uh-huh.” “There’s my big checkbook. The one I didn’t take out here. Because I figured I could pay any forwarded bills from my small checkbook.” “Okay,” Eileen said. “Would you mind terribly looking at the checkbook, the big one, and seeing if I paid the rent? If I paid it, it would be around
come knocking on her door— Mary’s door—tomorrow night sometime. Neither of the thoughts were conducive to sleep. It was too bad Bert had to go out tonight. Whatever he’d planned for them to do on the telephone, Eileen was positive it would have put her in a good mood for sleeping afterward. If tomorrow night really came down the way Annie expected it would, then Eileen would need a good night’s sleep tonight. The trouble was, thinking about tomorrow night made it very difficult to fall asleep