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Mischief Mass Market Paperback – Jul 1 2003

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Reprint edition (July 1 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743463099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743463096
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 16.2 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 213 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,913,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The virtuoso 55th installment in McBain's 87th Precinct series.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

McBain's 45th novel of the 87th Precinct--and you can see that practice has made this latest not perfect but perfectly easy to enjoy, with--per the formula--several parallel plots, fueled not by their modest inventiveness but by the author's confident prose: McBain knows these cops and their city of Isola like Satan knows sin, and it shows. Even the chief villain is familiar: the Deaf Man, resurrected from Eight Black Horses (1985), etc., and up to his old trick of laying tantalizing clues to a big crime--here, excerpts from a scholarly work on crowd behavior mailed to arch-nemesis cop Steve Carella as the Deaf Man plans unspecified mayhem connected to an upcoming free outdoor rap concert. (In addition to tracing the Deaf Man's elaborate planning--including tinkering with the concert's sound system and stealing a garbage truck--McBain follows one rap group's prep for the concert, which flowers into a touching romance between a singer and a composer's widow.) Also on the precinct's plate is a series of murders of graffiti artists--with one of the victims being not the expected inner-city rebel but the respected attorney in whose closet the cops find a stash of spray-paint cans. And then there's the rash of ``dumpings'' around Isola of Alzheimer's sufferers, with all identifying tags ripped from their clothing. Several subplots--a hostage crisis; a clash of pro-lifers and pro-choicers that sees Carella's deaf-mute wife drenched in blood--add further gritty big-city texture, and McBain closes out the three major cases in clever, though not inspired, fashion: most gripping is the aftermath of the Deaf Man's big caper, a noir-style fadeout in a hot-sheets motel. Not up to the series' best but still steadily engrossing cop- fare from an old hand. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9fb4de4c) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f86ccc0) out of 5 stars A magical, marvelous novel Dec 29 2004
By J. Clemons - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Mischief has the Deaf Man as its main character and what a main character he is. Is there a smarter character, hero or villain, in crime fiction than the Deaf Man? No way. (Is he McBain's DARK alter ego, as Hope and Carella are his "good" alter ego?) As per usual, bad things are happening in the big bad city. But the Deaf Man creates special problems for the 87th. He provides (and harrasses) Carella and his mates with clues etc. to his upcoming nefarious action, which will take place on a grand scale. But the best part of this story concerns a black rap band and its leader--no p.c. condescension in his treatment of the band, the rock concert of which they are to be a major act and their plot action, just honest, good and accurate writing about our "in trouble" society and about the individuals whose stories actually make this society come to life. A killing near the end of the story takes your breath away and gives much "haunting" food for thought. Much mischief in the city. Cops really are having trouble capturing and containing the bad guys. No plot spoilers here. Read the book. It is great.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f86f090) out of 5 stars Trouble at the 87th Nov. 7 2006
By Beverley Strong - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The men of the 87th precinct are being sent strange, cryptic messages from "The Deaf Man" who issues guarded warnings about a disruptive event which is about to take place, but couches these warnings in the form of pages from a sci-fi novel. The event is actually a huge rock/rap fest where thousands will be present at an outdoor venue. Much of this story centres on a rap group and the author offers a few of his examples of this genre, none of which does anything for me personally each his own! The other main story surrounds the murders of graffiti writers who deface public and private buildings with their ugly scrawl and who are now being shot by a person unknown. It ewas an ok story but lacked the zip and sizzle of some earlier ones.
HASH(0x9f86a168) out of 5 stars The Detectives of the 87th Precinct Are Confronted by Three Complex Cases Dec 31 2015
By James L. Thane - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book, which was first published in 1993, is the 45th entry in the 87th Precinct series. A lot has changed in the thirty-seven years since Cop Hater, the first in the series, was released, and as the books progress, one can watch the evolution of the technology used by police to fight crime from index cards and penciled notes to the advent of computers and much more sophisticated forensics.

The books themselves have changed as well. Cop Hater was very much a book of the old-school pulp novel tradition from an age when books like this were mostly sold of off spinning racks in the neighborhood drug store. Many of these books were little longer than a novella, and could easily be consumed in a single evening. Cop Hater, for example, told a gripping story in a bare 236 pages.

By the early 1990s, though, crime novels had become a more respectable form of entertainment, now enjoyed even by relatively sophisticated readers, many of whom would have never admitted to reading the "trashy" pulp novels of the Fifties. The books themselves had begun to bulk up, perhaps as a sign of their growing respectability, and Mischief weighs in at 420 pages--almost twice as long as the book that first introduced the detectives of the 87th Precinct. This was not necessarily a bad thing; a good book is a good book irrespective of its length, while a bad one is still going to suck no matter how brief it might be.

Judging by this book though, McBain might have been better off sticking to the shorter form. He winds up producing a much longer book not by telling a more complex story, but rather by cramming together three entirely separate investigations into one novel. Even this wouldn't necessarily be a problem; in the earlier books, the detectives were often working a couple of cases at a time.

The difficulty lies in the fact is that all three of these cases are very convoluted and McBain leaps from one investigation to another, often several times in the same chapter, sometimes devoting only a few short paragraphs to one case before jumping on to the next. This is further complicated by the fact that there's a large cast of characters involved and several different teams of detectives investigating the cases, and in the end it all gets extremely confusing at points. There's no relaxing into this book; you've got to be constantly paying attention to keep everything straight.

One thing that hasn't changed involves the detectives themselves. In thirty-seven years, they haven't changed a bit. Casting an eye around the squad room, McBain notes that all of the detectives are in their middle thirties, which is pretty much where they were when the series began. (In fairness, this is not entirely McBain's fault. His initial plan was to have a rotating cast of characters, and detectives would come and go just as one would expect to see on a real police force. Very early in the series, he killed off one of the detectives who had become the lead protagonist up to that point, and his publisher threw a fit. They made him rewrite the ending of the book so that the detective would live and could go on to star in another fifty-odd books. Like most fans of this series, I've grown to really enjoy this cast of characters and so I'm glad McBain was forced to deviate from his original plan, but it might have been interesting to see how the series would have evolved had he stuck to his guns.)

The first of the disparate plots in the book involves the 87th Precinct's persistent nemesis, the Deaf Man, who returns to taunt the detectives with a great new scheme. He spends most of the book running them around in circles and, as always, it's fun to watch the battle of wits that results.

In another case, someone is killing graffiti writers who are defacing the walls and other blank spaces of the city. Naturally, some citizens are applauding the killer and feel that the "writers" are getting exactly what they deserve. But the cops still feel the need to track down the killer and put a stop to his vigilante justice. Finally, someone is dumping elderly people with dementia in public places around the city and attempting to destroy any means of identifying these people who will then have to be cared for by the general public. Some of these poor people are being left out in the elements and after one elderly woman dies, the case becomes increasingly serious.

This is not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, but McBain has clearly padded the daylights out of it, perhaps to accommodate emerging trends. It would have been a much more entertaining read at 320 pages than at 420. Of the three investigations, the one involving elder dumping is the least interesting and it has the feel of being tacked on to the rest of the story. The book would have been much tighter and more enjoyable had this whole plot line been left on the cutting room floor. In the end, Mischief falls into the middle of the pack of the books in this series, not the worst, but certainly not among the best.
HASH(0x9f86f240) out of 5 stars More adventures of the cops of the 87th Precinct July 10 2013
By Jim Lester - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is another terrific entry in McBain's long running 87th Precinct series of police novels. Its a well plotted combination of three short stories that come together to make a book. One storyline involves dumping elderly people when they become too difficult to care for. Another one is about someone murdering the city's graffiti artists and the third one deals with the Deaf Man's heist of the precinct's stock of confiscated drugs. The Deaf Man is a recurrent villain in the series and his appearance always wrecks havoc with the cops of the 87th. As always the book is well written and the three stories combine for a fun read.
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f86f66c) out of 5 stars Could have been better. Aug. 5 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is almost like reading three books in one. One of the stories is about people with Alheimer's Disease who are being abandoned at hospitals all over the city.
Another story is about a serial killer who enjoys killing people who like to spray paint on walls.
Third--and best of all--is about a man who calls himself the Deaf Man. He is a criminal mastermind. I think McBain would have done better by leaving out the serial killings, which were just being done to cover up another crime, and he should have also left out the Alheimers cases and made the Deaf Man the only story in the book. It was the only story that held my attention. The Deaf Man was intriguing and charismatic, a very clever crimal genious.