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The Big Bad City Audio, Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook

4.2 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Ed McBain is the only American winner of the coveted Diamond Dagger Award, and he is also a past recipient of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award. So, when a reader picks up the latest installment of McBain's 87th Precinct series, the bar is set pretty high. But with The Big Bad City, McBain meets expectations.

In the opening pages, Steve Carella and Artie Brown return to the department with 9 basketball players (the 10th player was murdered) only to discover a knife fight erupting in a holding cell. It's a steamy August night, and Carella and Detective Parker end up having to shoot one of the fighters to cool things down. Then Meyer and Kling enter the scene; they're hot in pursuit of the Cookie Boy, a thief who leaves chocolate-chip cookies at every crime sight. Before the interminable day is done, Carella and Brown are called out to Grover Park to investigate a homicide. A nun has been strangled to death, but she's no ordinary Sister. She's got signs of a breast augmentation operation that hint at a sordid past. Finally, readers are privy to a conversation between Juju and Sonny. Sonny killed a cop's dad, and Juju is convinced that the police will bend the rules to see that Sonny winds up dead. Juju insists that the only way out of the death trap is to kill the cop first. The officer's name is Steve Carella. And all of this happens in the first 15 pages.

McBain is one of the artists of the police procedural. Though his city is fictional, it breathes with the darkness and gritty reality of many American cities. He enters the minds and hearts of his characters to uncover the daily insecurities that accompany the work of policemen. Readers new to the 87th Precinct will want to venture back to such tales as 1956's Cop Hater, 1964's Ax, and 1965's Doll, among the 47 installments in this series. Those who've been along for the ride will be happy they did not give up their seat. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

McBain has been writing his 87th Precinct stories since 1956, but Isola's cops and crooks remain as fresh as rain. In the 49th book in the series, detectives Steve Carella and Artie Brown are searching for the killer of a nun. An autopsy reveals that the strangled woman had breast implants and an unconventional background, moving between her pious, charitable order and a freewheeling secular life. Other oddities are plaguing the 87th, too. The hood who recently murdered Carella's father is walking around loose because an inept prosecutor blew the case. Now the thug is stalking Carella, and Carella's sister wants to marry the prosecutor. Meanwhile, detectives Meyer Meyer and Bert King are tracking the Cookie Boy, a burglar who leaves a little box of home-baked chocolate chip cookies at his victims' homes. His crimes escalate to felony murder when he interrupts a tryst and things go very bad, very quickly. As always, McBain invests the many story lines with off-the-wall humor (nun jokes abound), a startlingly real cast of suspects and witnesses and a terrifically entertaining mix of cop dialogue, gritty city atmosphere and action. McBain is so good, he ought to be arrested.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Abridged edition (December 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559275367
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559275361
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 1.1 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,442,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was the first book I read by Mr. McBain. And after Icompleted this novel, it was not my last. This book was fabulous,decriptive, well written prose, engaging, humane protagonists, fast moving and gripping plots--a myriad of plots! I could not put this book down. This is one of my favorite books ever. I really came to know and like many of McBain's characters... so much so, after I completed the novel--in record breaking time--I immediately went out and purchased McBain's other novels of the 87th precinct. Read this and then rush out to read his others--you will not be disappointed.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
One can't pick up an 87th Precinct novel without reflecting that it's been written by the man who is generally considered the master of the police procedural. Yes, there's the nun murder and the "cookie boy" burglar, but the heart of this novel is a small time hood's stalking of Steve Carella. The only reason the punk gives is that Carella may some day come looking for him and Carella's death will take care of that. In the meanwhile, we get Carella reflecting on aging and recalling great moments in 87th Precinct history (at one point, the reverie goes back to 'Cop Hater', the 1st 87th novel). While reliving these moments, I realized that I was again at the feet of the Master. Loved this book and I hope to see a bangup 50th novel for the boys at the 87th.
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Format: Hardcover
All of Ed McBain/Evan Hunter's production is on my shelves. Not only is he a master in the development of plots and in the description of police operational methods, he also keeps me updated in modern English. I think the town of the 87th Precinct is a New York rotated clockwise of 90°. Mr McBain/Evan Hunter is one of the most entertaining writers I ever found and I always look for new production of his whenever I enter a bookstore.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
McBain is the undisputed master of the procedural; in my own reading experience only John Creasey's "Gideon of Scotland Yard" and Sjowall and Wahloo's "Martin Beck" novels come near.
Even poor McBain is better than most other authors' best, and this book is by no means poor or bad; just average -- but being "average" in as high-quality a series as this puts it above many other books that would rank tops for thier writers/in their own series...
By this point, McBain is writing psychological studies as much he is mysteries; whodunnit and even howdunnit is generally less the point than *why*dunnit.
McBain characterises through dialog better than almost any other writer of popular fiction i can think of, and his work exudes a solid sense of *place* -- of location -- that adds weight and dimension to it. Isola may be fictitious, but by now, fifty books along, i could walk its streets with less chance of getting lost than i would if in Chicago, where i was born fifty years ago.
The plot this issue is, indeed, razor thin, more an excuse to string together a series of events and encounters and to show us our old friends Carella, Kling, Fat Ollie Weeks and the rest doing what cops do.
There are some Important Events -- one long-running character finally comes to the end of his run, and there is at least one unresolved thread that may well be central to the next volume in the series.
And i am sure there *will* be another -- though he has wound up his other series (the "fairytale" books about Matthew Hope, Florida lawyer), i do not believe that Ed McBain will be able to stop writing until they pry his cold dead fingers off his keyboard...
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Format: Kindle Edition
Of the first forty-nine entries in Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series, this (the forty-ninth) is, I think, the best so far. By now, the cast of characters has been thoroughly established and the members have changed very little through the years. When the first book in the series, Cop Hater, appeared, the detectives of the 87th were all in their middle thirties and they still are. The lead detective, Steve Carella, is dreading the approach of his fortieth birthday, but he's taken forty three years to age from thirty-five to forty, so he really shouldn't complain all that much. By now the precinct house, which also hasn't changed in all that time, should be as familiar to readers of the series as their own homes, as will the neighborhoods of McBain's fictional metropolis of Isola, the Big Bad City.

Given that, these books now must succeed or fail almost solely upon the merits of the story that McBain chooses to tell. Each of these books usually finds the detectives working two or three different cases simultaneously and over the years some of them have been more entertaining than others. The three cases that are interwoven through this book are uniformly very good.

As the book opens, detectives Steve Carella and Arthur Brown are called to the scene of a murder in a city park. A young woman has been strangled and, from the ring on her finger, Carella realizes that the woman was a nun, even though she's dressed in civilian clothes. He and Brown are even more surprised when the autopsy reveals that the murdered nun was sporting a set of expensive breast implants, a surgical procedure that I'm quite sure most of the nuns who taught me at St. Anthony's grade school would never have considered.
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