A friend recommended McBain to us as one of the great writers of police procedurals of all time. After picking up "Mischief" more or less at random, we were stunned to learn it is the 45th in his 87th Precinct series of 55 novels total about this big (fictional) city PD (although definitely a NYC lookalike), written over a span of some 49 years until the author's death - so a prolific set of yarns to say the least!
We wish we could be as enthused about the story. We found the book a throwback to the pulp fiction paperbacks of 40-50 years ago, with hearty doses of gratuitous sex and dialogue rife with political incorrectness. The lead detective, Parker, is really little better than a stick figure, and most of his colleagues were more interested in bedding the female characters (suspects, witnesses, and fellow cops) than in solving any crimes. The plot featured two separate threads: some sort of vigilante is knocking off graffiti writers, hardly a capital offense; and a "Deaf Man", apparently a recurring villain, seems to be planning something very major involving a huge multitude of people. Neither mystery is solved in convincing fashion, leaving us feeling we had wasted our investment in reading time.
The author surely must have an immense following to have published over 70 novels, but we found little in this our first McBain to justify either such longevity/popularity or our friends' opinion about his prowess in police procedurals. How did we go so wrong?