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The Frumious Bandersnatch Hardcover – Dec 23 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Dec 23 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743250346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743250344
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.7 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,319,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
SHE CAME CRUISING downriver like the city personified, all bright lights and big bad music, banners and flags flying from bowsprits and railings, a hundred and sixty-three feet of sleek power and elegant design. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover
I don't know who does his research for him, but McBain pulls it off again, another vivid and believable milieu, this time in the field of recording, producing and distribution of dance music. He must be in his 70s but he has a remarkably young attitude, and his description of the pop single "Bandersnatch" by his fictional heroine, Tamar Valparaiso, is totally convincing to the point that you'll believe it could be in heavy rotation on MTV (if they still played videos). Tamar would be a great part for Jennifer Lopez, even if she is a bit too old to play her properly, and she wouldn't like what happens to her in the course of the script.
I hope this is the first of a whole new "Lewis Carroll" series for the 87th Precinct. It isn't McBain's best book by any accounting--for me, the best run was the long list of vintage novels from the late 70s through late 80s, from Calypso through Heat, Ice, etc, when he could do no wrong. But this is the best of the recent crop of titles. Hooray for a great grand master!
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Format: Hardcover
Fifty-three novels into his 87th Precinct police mystery series, Ed McBain seems bored with the gang at the precinct house. "The Frumious Bandersnatch" gives only desultory service to the 87th Precinct trademark situation of detectives working on separate cases, focusing on a single crime, the kidnapping of a pop singer on the rise, who is adapting Lewis Carroll for the hip-hop generation. Hence the title.
Diving in, you might think "The Frumious Bandersnatch" is one of the 87th's more comic outings, given its goofy name and the focus on the cult of celebrity surrounding this particular case. It's not especially intriguing as mysteries go. The singer is plucked off a yacht by a pair of masked intruders just as she finishes a lip-synched dance routine for a music industry crowd and a local TV news camera team. It takes 50 pages for the crime to occur, then another 100 pages for the kidnappers to call with their demands, while McBain lavishes his attention on the music industry and our culture of complaint. 87th Precinct detective Steve Carella finds himself used as an errand boy by a joint FBI/police task force, while the rest of the precinct is left on ice.
McBain does use one interesting character I haven't seen before, a former police academy buddy of Carella's named Corcoran who runs the police side of the task force and has gotten too big for his britches in his new post, ordering his old friend around and insisting on being called "lieutenant." This bit of intraservice rivalry is well played out, especially when the 87th jumps into action late in the book to try and break the case ahead of the task force.
But there's not much else to be said for "Bandersnatch.
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Format: Hardcover
Tara Valparaiso is about to make it big as a pop diva, at least, that's what Barney Loomis, head of Bison Records hopes. He's hosting the launch of her new CD titled Bandersnatch and the hard sell is being made to attending media and important guests.
Partway through the performance of the song that should launch Tara to super-stardom, the party is rudely interrupted by a couple of masked men carrying guns. They boldly stride in and kidnap the budding songstress from under the noses of over 100 onlookers.
The part of the river that the kidnapping took place happens to fall under the jurisdiction of the 87th Precinct and the detective who happens to catch the call is Steve Carella. Long time readers of this series would probably agree that Carella is the best and brightest of the 87th Precinct detectives, certainly he's the central character in most of the books and he takes the lead again here.
The case is only in the 87th Precinct's hands for a short time before the FBI become involved and takes over. Carella however is enlisted to help on the task force at the request of Barney Loomis. As can be imagined neither the FBI nor Carella are thrilled at the prospect of working together and it isn't terribly long before Carella walks out on the team turning the investigation into a head to head race between the FBI and the 87th Precinct to catch the kidnappers and find the girl.
It's only when Carella leaves the FBI task force and begins investigating using the tried and true methods that have made the series so popular and long-lived, that the pace picks up. That's not to say the first half of the book was terribly slow, but it does seem to spend a good deal of time in setting up the adversarial atmosphere between the kidnappers and the law enforcement agencies.
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Format: Hardcover
It had been a while since I indulged myself in one of Mr. McBain's novels about the 87th Precinct, but the lapse of time has done nothing to dull his writing skills. This is a story that grabs the reader right from the first and never loosens it's grip until the story has played out. The title, which seems to be a mystery in and of itself comes from Lewis Carrol and is part of a new music video which is being released by Bison Records. A performed preview of the video for selected viewers is interrupted by the forceful kidnapping of the video's female star and she is held for ransom by the bad guys. In the book one of the characters is an author and he describes to an associate that the way to keep people's attention when writing a book is to have a ticking clock. Taking his own advice, McBain creates a loudly ticking clock in this book as the police and the FBI search for the hostage and deal with the ransom demands that are forthcoming. This is a fine piece of writing with clear and believeable characters, an interesting plot line and several unexpected twists and turns, all of which keep the pages turning.
Ed McBain is still one of the best at this genre.
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