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Amazingly, MWA Grand Master McBain remains as fresh and sharp-edged as ever in his 53rd 87th Precinct novel (after 2003's Fat Ollie's Book), which takes on the culture of celebrity. Bison Records' self-styled impresario Barney Loomis runs into a snag in his effort to catapult his newest performer, Tamar Valparaiso, to stardom. As Tamar is lip-synching the provocative video of her first album aboard a rented yacht, two men in Saddam Hussein and Yasir Arafat masks snatch her before a stunned audience. With his usual expert pacing, McBain alternates the action among a number of characters, including the kidnappers and Tamar; series stalwart Steve Carella, who must endure political maneuvering within a Joint Task Force of police bigwigs and FBI agents; and misogynist Ollie Weeks and his new amour, Det. Patricia Gomez. McBain injects enough humor to leaven the underlying tragedy-the fate of a vulnerable, talented young woman. Although it's soon obvious who's behind Tamar's kidnapping, we don't read McBain for surprising denouements but for his true-to-life dialogue, skill at defining characters and effortless transitions. The Lewis Carroll theme provides an extra level of enjoyment.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Tamar Valparaiso, would-be hip-hop diva, is poised on the precipice of stardom. Her new video is set for release, and her recording company has rented a yacht for a chic launch party. Tamar is performing a live version of her rape-fantasy video when two armed intruders snatch her and escape on a small speedboat. Steve Carella and Cotton Hawes of the 87th Precinct catch the call. There are dozens of eyewitnesses, but the kidnappers leave no trace. Even though kidnappings are usually the FBI's purview, Tamar's promoter coerces the feds into keeping Carella and Hawes on the case. Meanwhile, the kidnapping is replayed thousands of times on cable, and the talking heads debate the propriety of Tamar's video, in which a potential rape victim repels her attacker in a fantasy sequence. In 48 hours, Tamar has morphed from wanna-be to megastar in the wake of a potential tragedy. As Carella and Hawes track down the kidnappers, McBain--the godfather of the police procedural--skewers cable news, the music industry, FBI bureaucrats, the current presidential administration, and the Patriot Act. It's difficult to praise a single 87th Precinct novel as demonstrably better than the preceding 52, so let's just say the current case is always the best, but only until the next one. Wes Lukowsky
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Musical entrepreneur Barney Loomis discovers Tamar, a gorgeous looking Mexican-Russian girl with the voice of an angel and a body that would stop men in their tracks. Read morePublished on March 23 2004 by Beverley Strong
The latest 87th precinct novel finds Steve Carella and company trying to locate the kidnapped pop singer, Tamar Valparaiso. Read morePublished on Feb. 27 2004 by Larry
Look out Cher, Madonna, J Lo & Brittney! Tamar Valparaiso is young and beautiful and poised to be Pop's Next Diva. Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2004 by TundraBee
I've been on a bit of a television-viewing jag recently, watching marathon showings of police ensemble series such as NYPD Blue, Homicide and Hill Street Blues. Read morePublished on Feb. 15 2004 by Bookreporter
I have been an avid reader of Ed McBain for many years, but his last two books are terrible reads; weak characterizations, inconsistent and wandering plots, long rambling pages of... Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2004
"The Frumious Bandersnatch" is the 53rd novel in the exceptional 87th Precinct series by Ed McBain. Read morePublished on Feb. 11 2004 by Ricky N.
In THE FRUMIOUS BANDERSNATCH, Ed McBain weaves biting satire and police procedural into pure gold. His prime target is the 21st century record business and some of the evils... Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2004 by charles falk
It's hard to believe that the 87th Precinct series has been around for over forty years, and covers fifty-three novels. Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2004 by Tracy D. Cook