From Publishers Weekly
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 LukowskyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved