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Axe is one of the shorter 87th Precint novels and another of the earlier entries in the extensive series written by the late, great Ed Mc Bain; a pseudonym for Evan Hunter. It begins with Steve Carella and Cotton Hawes attending the crime scene of a man killed in the basement of the apartment building he worked in; his head caved in with an axe. Investigation into his background reveals he used to organise an illegal craps game but this is the only lead the Detectives have to work on and even with the aid of stool pigeon and 87th Precint regular Danny Gimp, everything they discover seems to lead them further down a dead-end alley. With time running out, can the pair crack the case before the killer strikes again? This is perhaps one of the weaker entries in the series but is enjoyable nonetheless for all that. Once again, we get plenty of background into, what was then, state-of-the-art forensics and it is always good to catch up with the good ol' boys from the 87, even in their early days. Everything that made this series so great is here from the easy-to-follow narrative through to the steady progression of the case through to the true-to-life style of investigation that follows proper established police techniques then in practice. Mc Bain remains one of the most successful police procedural writers of all time and it is easy to see why even when the story isn't quite as strong as you might ordinarily expect. Every series has its weak moments but even when the standard isn't quite up to par, such as here, the 87th Precint novels still manage to impress and much of this is down to the strong and established characterisation! One of the things I love best about this series is that you KNOW these characters and any entry into their hectic and often dangerous lives is a welcome addition. Axe then is an okay read, average at best, and recommended as part of the series as a whole but as an individual novel is slightly below par and probably only one for the true die-hard 87th Precint fans obsessed with reading all of the books in the collection.