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4.3 out of 5 stars18
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Those who pull an Ed McBain book off the shelf, or take one to the check out, are unlikely to be disappointed. This 2002 offering is as good as they usually are and funnier than most. Occupying most space, in terms of physical bulk and narrative focus, is Oliver Wendell Weeks, a cop otherwise known as Fat Ollie. Affecting a style of delivery modelled on that of W C Fields (who remembers him?), and able to boast that his music teacher successfully taught him the first three notes of "Night and Day", Fat Ollie has further displayed his talents by writing a police procedural novel. Unfortunately for him it is stolen, but fortunately for us its full text is interlaced with everything else that unfolds in this rich McBain extravaganza. Thrown in also are comments about Internet sites like this one, and those who read and write reviews thereon.
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on 30 October 2013
There is only one Ed McBain. The dialogue rattles out like a machine gun. It seems effortless.
But to the point - page 62 is specifically about reviewers on Amazon - very funny! But at least it proves one thing. Authors really do read the reviews on Amazon. The book of course is anything but simple. On the issue of race it is undoubtedly contentious - see the comments of other reviewers. The murder of the councilman is arguably the sub-plot. It would however be a perfect book for a book club to discuss.
Questions to discuss include:
1. To what extent is this book racist, or does it just portray racist characters?
2. To what extent is the book sexist, or does it just reflect the attitudes of the characters? For example, consider this quote, "She was well aware of the adage that held if you wanted to succeed with a lady, you treated her like a whore, and vice versa." Does it make a difference that these are the thoughts of a female character?
3. To what extent does the technique of a book within a book work?
4. There are informers in both books - to what extent are the Police justified in turning a blind eye to the criminal activities of informants in return for information? Is the informant in the book within a book more acceptable to readers than the informants in the novel itself? Is Ed McBain making the point that there are limits to what we will accept in fiction, that do not apply in "real" Police work?
5. Do you think that there are now too many Police procedurals? See page 258 for Ollie's thoughts on the matter: "To look at all those police novels out there, you'd think that every hamlet in America was overrun with crime."
6. See page 228. Do you think that it is true that the behaviour of the Police has changed to become more like their fictional counterparts?
7. Is the plot of the book as a whole too complicated to be a best seller? Is in fact the plot of the book within a book more likely to be a best seller? Is this the point Ed McBain is trying to make?
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on 26 November 2003
Fat Ollie Weeks is back and ready for fame and fortune. He`s just finished his first novel but whilst investigating a murder it tragically gets stolen, it must be found.
Those of you after a deep and complex crime thriller should look elsewhere, this one goes more for humour and development of Fat Ollies character, hopefully using him more in books to follow. Fat Ollie represents a good foil for the laid back family man steve carrella, one quiet and professional the other loud, brash and not averse to the odd bribe. I dont think I`ve ever laughed so often when reading a book but don`t worry the humour doesn`t detract from a rather good crime thriller.
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on 22 May 2009
This book successfully combines humour and suspense, and inter-twines the two plots (Weeks and Carella) in a way that takes us on a journey that is as humorous as it is intriguing. The contrast between the two central 'cop' characters is also entertaining - Carella the quiet, professional family man, and Weeks, the short tempered, foul-mouthed racist. (By the way, I suspect that the one star review on here owes more to disagreement with Weeks' racist attitude than it does to literary criticism. Its FICTION for goodness sake - you don't need to take issue with one of the characters...)
As usual, McBain's punchy style and well-characterised plot moves us on in true 'page-turner' fashion. A very good, undemanding read, which keeps us guessing and laughing in equal measure. well up to the very high standard I've come to expect from this iconic crime writer.
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on 15 November 2013
Fat Ollie has a homicide to solve and he's convinced that he is a talented author, but someone has stolen the only manuscript, he gioes after who took his book while he leaves steve carella and the 87th to solve the high profile homicide. recommended
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on 7 December 2014
Sadly for me this was one of the late author's less successful books in his 87th Precinct series.
I thought it was short on story line and heavily padded with largely irrelevant dialogue - nowhere close to his earlier novels, which were always sharp, humorous and moved along - keeping the interest level high.
Sorry - at best it's rated OK.
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on 7 January 2015
Detective Oliver Wendell Weeks is rude and bigoted - he's also a good detective, writes a novel, and is Ed McBain's best character ever. I just love him, and only regret there are only a few stories in which he appears. This story is absolutely not to be missed. It's got Ollie and our favourite 87th Precinct crew.
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on 9 April 2014
87th Precinct series are all so well written that a fan of the genre like myself has to slowly acquire all of them. I have read over 10 so far and the standard of writing and the quality has been consistantly excellent.
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on 25 October 2015
Dialogue was ALMOST but not quite as good as George V Higgins but what a character is fat ollie. I laughed out loud frequently. Will definitely read it again. What more can I say.
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on 30 January 2016
An ideal look into Ollie's world at the 88th - a different perspective. As usual sharp concise description of police procedurals and squadroom relationships
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