Candyland: A Novel in Two Parts, by Evan Hunter and Ed McBain, was published in 2000.
Evan Hunter was known as an author of novels, children’s books, and screenplays. He wrote the first book I read for the 2017 Reading Challenge: Every Little Crook and Nanny. He wrote the first half of Candyland. He died in 2005. Ed McBain was the author of a popular series of police novels, called the 87th Precinct series. He wrote the second half of Candyland. He also died in 2005.
Evan Hunter and Ed McBain have radically different writing styles (according to the book jacket). Candyland would have been a good choice for the “A book with multiple authors” Category, except that Ed McBain was the pseudonym of Evan Hunter.
(“A book with multiple authors”, by the way, was fulfilled by There Was an Old Woman, by Ellery Queen, who was two authors posing as one. Now “A book by an author who uses a pseudonym” will be fulfilled by one author posing as two.)
In the first part of the novel, Evan Hunter’s name is at the top of the left-hand pages.
Benjamin Thorpe is an architect, on a business trip in New York City. His wife is back home in Los Angeles, and his daughter is away at college.
Ben calls his mistress, who lives in New York, but she has other plans. He calls his other mistress, but she hangs up on him. All of his other mistresses live in other cities, or other states, so Ben goes to a bar, looking for a date or a prostitute.
Ben meets a woman in the bar. Is she a hooker? Is she waiting for someone? He wants to find out.
Ben and the woman go to dinner, then back to his hotel room. Things don’t work out like he’d wanted.
Ben is having back luck with women tonight. So he looks into other options for finding female company for the night. He finds a “massage parlor” named XS Salon.
Ben is having very bad luck. Then he meets a hooker named Lokatia, who rescues him from the gutter, after the pimp at XS beat him up for insisting that he didn’t get his full hour. Lokatia takes him home, cleans him up, talks to him, and serves him coffee.
Then Benjamin Thorpe leaves to catch his flight back to Los Angeles.
In the second part of the novel, Ed McBain’s name is at the bottom of the left-hand pages.
New York City Police Detective Emma Boyle, of the Special Victims Squad, teams up with Detective James Morgan, of the Vice Enforcement Division, and Detective Anthony Manzetti, of Homicide, to investigate the rape and murder of a prostitute from a “massage parlor” named XS Salon.
It is now Emma Boyle’s story. She is dedicated to the NYPD, although, as pointed out by her new partners, she tends to be a lone wolf. She is in the middle of a divorce.
The focus of their investigation is finding a client who called himself “Stanley”, and claimed that he was an actor in The Sixth Sense and Saving Private Ryan. He was drunk and tried to beat up two XS employees after they pointed out that he was an extra, not an actor. That was two weeks ago. There was also a client who called himself “Michael”, from Los Angeles, who got beat up last night by the night manager for insisting that he didn’t get his full hour. Stanley is the more likely suspect, but it could be either one.
Unfortunately for Benjamin Thorpe, “Michael” is easier to track down. Unfortunately for Detective Boyle, Benjamin Thorpe is tougher to find.
The first part of Candyland is a character study of a sex addict. The second part is a story of police work. Detectives Boyle, Morgan, and Manzetti track down clues, interview witnesses who are not always honest, make phone calls, and encounter red herrings.
Candyland: A Novel in Two Parts is an adult novel. There’s not much violence, but a lot of graphic sex.
I didn’t love this book, exactly, but I did enjoy it. It didn’t take me long to read its 300 pages. I really wasn’t sure, until the very end, if Benjamin Thorpe was a rapist and murderer.
I wouldn’t call the two authors’ styles “radically different”. It never felt like two stories, or even the same story from two different viewpoints. It was more like one continuous story that switched protagonists in the middle.
- A book by an author who uses a pseudonym