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The Frumious Bandersnatch [Hardcover]

Ed McBain
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 23 2003 Mcbain, ed

It should have been the night that launched a new pop idol. Tamar Valparaiso is young and beautiful, with the body and voice of an angel, and the stage is set for her to launch her debut album, Bandersnatch, on a luxury yacht in the heart of the city. But halfway through her performance, while the partygoers look on helplessly, masked men drag Tamar off the stage and into a waiting speedboat.

Detective Steve Carella is just showing up for the graveyard shift when news of the kidnapping comes in. Working disjointedly with a Joint Task Force that calls itself "The Squad," Carella and the men and women of the Eight-Seven must find Tamar before time -- or indeed her very life -- runs out.

In this brilliant look at the music industry, Ed McBain once again combines his mastery of the form with the fast-paced dialogue and intricate plotting that have become his signature.


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Product Description

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.

From Booklist

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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars And James Gandolfini as Ollie Weeks . . . April 25 2004
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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1.0 out of 5 stars Loopy Title, Tough Read April 16 2004
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Another Outstanding Police Procedural April 6 2004
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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4.0 out of 5 stars McBain is the Energizer Bunny of Mystery Writers March 27 2004
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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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fiften minutes of fame.
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 more
Published on March 24 2004 by Beverley Strong
4.0 out of 5 stars A gritty tale by a master of the genre
The latest 87th precinct novel finds Steve Carella and company trying to locate the kidnapped pop singer, Tamar Valparaiso. Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2004 by Larry
4.0 out of 5 stars A frumious foray with friends and foes, old and new
Look out Cher, Madonna, J Lo & Brittney! Tamar Valparaiso is young and beautiful and poised to be Pop's Next Diva. Read more
Published on Feb. 20 2004 by TundraVision
4.0 out of 5 stars A Masterwork by a Grand Master --- Very Highly Recommended
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 more
Published on Feb. 15 2004 by Bookreporter
1.0 out of 5 stars Frumious Waste of Money
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 more
Published on Feb. 13 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars The Frumious Bandersnatch
"The Frumious Bandersnatch" is the 53rd novel in the exceptional 87th Precinct series by Ed McBain. Read more
Published on Feb. 12 2004 by Ricky N.
5.0 out of 5 stars ALICE IN TIN PAN ALLEY
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 more
Published on Feb. 10 2004 by charles falk
5.0 out of 5 stars McBain does it again!
It's hard to believe that the 87th Precinct series has been around for over forty years, and covers fifty-three novels. Read more
Published on Feb. 2 2004 by Tracy D. Cook
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic McBain, with a disappointing ending
Masked kidnappers steal the show - and the budding pop-star - at talented, ambitious Tamar Valparaiso's launch party. Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2004 by Lynn Harnett
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