‘You want me to follow him?’ The cabbie watched Teddy nod, watched the door of Donaldson’s car slam shut, and then watched as the sedan pulled away from the kerb. The cabbie couldn’t resist the crack.
‘What happened, Lady?’ he asked. ‘That guy steal your voice?’
The Con Man (US) was my latest visit to the 87th. I felt at home, as I increasingly do in these books, and very much enjoyed the read.
Essentially, we get to watch some of the con men of the city go about their business. Some are in it for the short con. Some have far more sinister intentions, like the man responsible for the appearance of a floater in the river whose tattoo of a heart is about her only distinguishing feature.
Much as I liked the story, it’s far from being my favourite.
I was trying to work out why that might have been. The usual ingredients are here, after all.
My biggest issue with this one is the amount of authorial intrusion. For me it slipped from being part of the voice to getting in the way. I guess this is a difficult balance to find and others may take it as simply being McBain’s style. Whilst I understand that, it rubbed me up the wrong way on this occasion.
The cons were also disappointing. Knowing what was about to play out detracted from the stings and took away some of the romance I usually associate with the occupation.
A final niggle was Teddy Carella’s involvement in the case. I love the couple individually and as a pair, but having Teddy so directly in Steve’s work doesn't feel right. This may be more that she also became central to the Cop Hater case as it reached its climax than anything and it seems early for her to be right back in the thick of things.
Highlights for me centred around the tattoo parlour of Charlie Chen. It’s here and in her thoughts on getting some art work of her own that Teddy shines. There’s also some great description of the lab work and the murder cases are engaging as ever.
Would I recommend The Con Man? Course I would. It’s good stuff. Will I be pleased to move on the next novel in the series? I’m already looking forward to the read and have it cued up for a rainy day.