Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Last Dance (2000)

So, yeah, this is helping to answer my questions about the end of the 87th Precinct series of police procedurals by Ed McBain (Evan Hunter, which wasn't his real name either)—not bad, but maybe a little tired. As it happens, this is also a milestone in the series, the 50th book, so perhaps McBain was unusually up for it. The main case is a pretty good tale of murder for greed. Fat Ollie Weeks has more than ever become a character of interest, and generally that's for the good. He represents an adroit balance of loathsome and fascinating. Lots of nice touches here such as some misdirection about Houston, Texas, or the Broadway-style panache of a stage show producer and his minions. I'm not sure I hear the same hum and crackle of earlier titles, but it's still plenty serviceable as a procedural thriller. Multiple bodies are involved, the cruelty is wanton but comes in a variety of styles. I love the feeling of Isola as an alternative universe New York City that somehow exists with New York City in this world, though little is said (that I've seen or recall) about New York in detail. Steve Carella feels a little tired or exhausted. They all do, a little, those left. I was particularly happy to see Law & Order referenced, as I was curious about his take. It seems to be a favorite of at least two characters, the longstanding Bert Kling and his love interest, a highly accomplished African-American surgeon liaison with the police, Sharyn Cooke. One of the detectives is shot and injured. But that and the Kling thread do feel a little pro forma. So overall maybe a B+ for this one, upped a notch simply for making it to 50 in reasonably good style.

In case it's not at the library.

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