Monday, April 5, 2010

Fuzz – Ed McBain

© 1968, New American Library, New York (1st Signet printing September 1969)

Ed McBain is always good for a leisure read. Especially when he takes us to the imaginary city housed between the covers of an 87th Precinct novel. Fuzz has all the things that make a police procedural good: harsh weather, major crimes, on-going investigations, and comic relief.

In the midst of the coldest March on record, the city has decided to paint the precinct squadroom. With the bad vaudeville routine proffered by the painters going on all around them, the bulls of the 87th begin receiving extortion threats against city officials via phone and hand-delivered packages. The culprit, we discover to be the Deaf Man, is an old nemesis for Carella, Meyer, Hawes, and the boys; one who we’ve assumed was dead because in their last encounter he jumped from a bridge in the River Dix.

Solving this crime spree and catching the Deaf Man will take all the combined brain power of every cop on the squad. Throw in an ongoing case in which the detectives need to catch some hoods who are regularly lighting bums on fire in alleys and back doorways, and the prospect of an upcoming robbery, and you wonder if they can ever get the job done. Not to mention the distraction of a new novel entitled Meyer Meyer which obviously has one of the detectives up in arms.

Find a copy of Fuzz and enjoy a couple of hours helping them solve some crime. And give them four out of five reading glasses while you’re at it.

Benjamin Potter, April 5, 2010

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