Ed McBain is an American institution.
With his authentic depictions of investigative procedure and
his unparalleled portraits of life inside the concrete canyons
of urban America, McBain writes novels of crime and punishment,
and he does it better than anyone else.
Benjamin Smoke is a retired police lieutenant
who walked away from the job for one reason alone: he was
bored. Bored of the criminals. Bored of the crimes. Bored
of answers that came too easy, too fast, and too often the
same. Now, working as an unlicensed private detective, Smoke
finally gets his wish. Someone has committed the perfect crime
-- a perfectly senseless crime -- by stealing a dead body.
And when Smoke starts investigating he's in for one surprise
after another, from black magic to murder and a woman who
believes she's Cleopatra and is lighting a fire right before