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The Big Bad City: A Novel of the 87th Precinct

McBain, Ed

ISBN 10: 0684855127 / ISBN 13: 9780684855127
Published by Simon & Schuster, Riverside, New Jersey, U.S.A., 1999
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Big Bad City: A Novel of the 87th ...

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Riverside, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

The first thing you need to know about this city is that it is big. It is difficult to explain to someone who has never seen it. You can fold his town into a corner of one of the city's five separate sectors and still have room for more. The next thing you need to know is that it's dangerous. Never mind the reassuring bulletins from the mayor's office; just watch the first ten minutes of the eleven o'clock news and you'll learn exactly what the people of this city are capable of doing to other people in this city. So, if you came here thinking, Gee, there's going to be a neat little murder that takes place in a town house and some blue-haired lady will solve it, then you came to the wrong city at the wrong time of year. In this city, you have to pay attention. In this city, things are happening all the time, all over the place, and you don't have to be a detective to smell evil in the wind.
This week's city tabloids depict the face of a pretty, dead girl who lay sprawled near a park bench not seven blocks from the 87th precinct house, while the late night news reports on the latest exploits of The Cookie Boy, a professional thief who leaves a box of chocolate chip cookies behind after a score. Behind the scenes, detectives Carella and Brown soon discover that this is not your average dead girl, but one with an unusual past. As they piece together her secrets, detectives Meyer and Kling search Isola's pawnshops for items stolen by The Cookie Boy. While the detectives are investigating their cases, one of them is being stalked by the man who killed his father.
Like the city itself, this novel is wonderfully complex and filled with memorable characters, honest dialogue, and breathtaking violence.

Review:

Ed McBain is the only American winner of the coveted Diamond Dagger Award, and he is also a past recipient of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award. So, when a reader picks up the latest installment of McBain's 87th Precinct series, the bar is set pretty high. But with The Big Bad City, McBain meets expectations.

In the opening pages, Steve Carella and Artie Brown return to the department with 9 basketball players (the 10th player was murdered) only to discover a knife fight erupting in a holding cell. It's a steamy August night, and Carella and Detective Parker end up having to shoot one of the fighters to cool things down. Then Meyer and Kling enter the scene; they're hot in pursuit of the Cookie Boy, a thief who leaves chocolate-chip cookies at every crime sight. Before the interminable day is done, Carella and Brown are called out to Grover Park to investigate a homicide. A nun has been strangled to death, but she's no ordinary Sister. She's got signs of a breast augmentation operation that hint at a sordid past. Finally, readers are privy to a conversation between Juju and Sonny. Sonny killed a cop's dad, and Juju is convinced that the police will bend the rules to see that Sonny winds up dead. Juju insists that the only way out of the death trap is to kill the cop first. The officer's name is Steve Carella. And all of this happens in the first 15 pages.

McBain is one of the artists of the police procedural. Though his city is fictional, it breathes with the darkness and gritty reality of many American cities. He enters the minds and hearts of his characters to uncover the daily insecurities that accompany the work of policemen. Readers new to the 87th Precinct will want to venture back to such tales as 1956's Cop Hater, 1964's Ax, and 1965's Doll, among the 47 installments in this series. Those who've been along for the ride will be happy they did not give up their seat. --Patrick O'Kelley

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