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VINE VOICEon 10 May 2015
If you read the misleading "product information" blurb about this particular 87th Precinct novel, you'd be forgiven for thinking it's about a raincoated serial killer stalking the streets. It isn't. Perhaps people who actually read the books should write the blurb, yes? McBain was a much more polished operator than to offer up serial-killer related sensationalism in his books. That said, this first book to launch the 87th Precinct series into the sixties - (this one was published in 1960) - is more grisly than previous volumes, and certainly ends in a way that perhaps would have shocked some back when it first appeared.

Notably, the quality of the books goes up another notch with Give The Boys A Great Big Hand. Fast-paced yet reflective, worldly-wise yet often intimate and driven by the fantasies and private thoughts of the individual characters, McBain is polishing and honing his craft here, a craft that would lead to the production of some of the finest titles in the series as he moved through this decade and into the seventies.

There simply is no fat on an 87th Precinct novel. The storytelling, tight-plotting and believable characters makes for another compelling read here. Sadly, 2015 marks the tenth anniversary of McBain's passing - and there has simply been no-one to touch him since, in terms of consistently excellent crime writing that keeps you turning the pages. Whilst it's great to see the majority of titles re-appearing now in Kindle format, it's hard not to gripe at the fact that the entire series in proper sequence is yet to be available either in e-book or re-issued paperbacks. A shameful omission - and one that should be rectified. I've said it before in my 87th Precinct reviews and will say it again here - McBain was a genius, and the series is in a league of its own.
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on 14 October 2013
The title sets the scene, as another tale rolls out in unexpected ways, and it's a guessing game for the reader to work out exactly how it'll be resolved. My aim is to read as many of some 50+ stories of the Precinct - so far I'm only through around 15, which means I've many more hours to appreciate really how good Mr McBain was as a storyteller. I look forward to the future!
Every one of these books is relatively short, and no words are wasted in building the tension.
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on 7 May 2013
If you love crime novels but also like rounded and interesting characters, this author is for you. These stories are full of wry humour and real people, whom you get to know and want to meet again.
I'm working my way through the whole series - lovely, I believe there are fifty altogether.
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on 20 November 2013
One of the few crime writers I love reading, his 87th precinct stories are all good and believable, the characters all seem human and you can relate to them all.
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on 12 January 2014
I have read most of the 87th precinct and really like the characters in them. Easy to read but short.
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on 14 June 2014
It's always great to be back with the boys from the 87th Precinct even when McBain struggles to work a worthy plot line.Hapless beat cop Richard Genaro makes another grisly discovery in the form of a severed hand. McBain turns up the extreme weather (its raining constantly) while he scrambles to fit a story to the discarded appendage. Carella leads the investigation whilst Hawes attempts to charm the local Strippers. Kling adds support. Other than plot this one has Teddy and Carella moving into new digs with the newly born twins. The too brief inclusion of Frankie Hernandez as a Puerto Rican detective. And Carella resorts to violence in the squad room as local bad egg Detective Andy Parker crosses the racism line. It's far from the classic of the previous volume King's Ransom but still time well spent.
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What fascinates me about McBain is that he started writing this series decades ago and the characters are all still roughly the same age and alive! The crimes move with the times, the people don't. This is a modern tale and I prefer the more old fashioned ones, but the humour is still there to leaven the sometimes sickening violence. The whole Satanic Cult/Black Mass side of things was somewhat ridiculous, but if taken with a pinch of salt doesn't detract from the pleasure of reading a fun book with firmly established and well loved characters in it.
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on 10 January 2016
Up to his usual standard, McBain scores again with a murder mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
I particularly like his love of the city, an extended metaphor of city as a woman, but the character sketches are finely drawn too.
Well worth a read.
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on 5 October 2014
I love the Ed McBain 87th precinct novels and bought 20 when there was a 'special' kindle daily deal.
It is great to follow the same characters in each book, they all take part in stories to a greater or lesser extent except Steve Carella who is a central pin but they all appear often.
I am glad Ed McBain wasn't encouraged to kill him off early in the series.
All the books are good thriller/cop stories/mysteries.
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Dick Gennaro, a beat cop last seen in The Pusher, finds a large hand in an airline bag. The boys of the 87th use their usual resources of shoe leather, interviews and intuition to solve the case. The plot may be rather straightforward but the sense of atmosphere - the city and the weather - and the squad's camaraderie and squabbles evoked by Mr McBain are a joy to read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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