Ax (87th Precinct)
Eighty-six-year-old George Lasser was the superintendent of a building in the 87th Precinct until just recently. Unfortunately his tenure ended in the building’s basement with a sharp, heavy blade of an ax in his head…
There are no witnesses, no suspects, and no clues. The wife and son? They’re both a little off-kilter, but they have alibis. Just when Carella and Hawes are about to put the case on the shelf, the killer strikes again. Now the detectives are hot on the trail of a man crazy enough to murder with an ax.
One of the 87th Precinct series’ finest installments, Ax is a sharp, intense crime thriller that is classic Ed McBain. The New York Times hails it as “the best of today’s police stories—lively, inventive, convincing, suspenseful, and wholly satisfactory.”
is a state of apprehension or psychic tension found in most forms of mental disorders. In Tony Lasser’s case, he has chosen to deal with his anxiety by accepting the symptoms of a phobia instead.” “But why won’t he leave the house?” Hawes asked. “Because it would be extremely painful for him if he did.” “In what way?” “He might begin trembling or sweating. He might suffer palpitations. He might feel faint or might actually faint. He might experience a sinking sensation in his stomach…” Mrs.
getting this, Phil?” Carella asked the stenographer. “Yop,” the stenographer said, without looking up. “Go ahead, Mr. Lasser,” Hawes said. “Wh-wh-what do you want me to tell you?” “What’d you do after you killed him?” “I…I…I…I…” He could not get past the single word. He swallowed and tried again, “I…I…I…” But he was shaking violently now, and the word was lodged in his throat. His face had gone pale, and Carella was sure he would either faint or vomit within the next few moments. Painfully
and feathered, not really, not if everyone would “go along.” That was just the way Lasser’s neighbor had phrased it. He had said everything would be fine and dandy and everyone would be satisfied if they would all just “go along.” Lasser still hadn’t the faintest inkling what this neighbor wanted of him. He had been called from his study at the back of the house where he’d been illustrating a children’s book about tolerance, and here was this stranger—well, practically a stranger—whom he’d seen
set it up?” “I contacted Lasser and explained the deal to him. He was interested. Then I called Burke and told him I wanted to work on his tax return one day that week, and would he please bring his records to the office, including all the stuff I would need for that year, like his withholding statements and also the information return about that forty-thousand-dollar commission. He said he would bring it in the next day. I went up that afternoon to work in his private office and told him to
Anson Burke personally, rather than to the firm, and this looked kind of fishy to him. Burke told Lasser to go to hell and said he was definitely going to call the police now, at which point Lasser apologized and said maybe he was wrong, maybe everything was clean and aboveboard, in which case Burke wouldn’t mind if Lasser mailed that information return to the company’s board of directors. It was then that Burke saw the light. In fact, it damn near blinded him.” “So he paid Lasser whatever he