Sunday, 16 December 2018

One Man's Opinion: GIVE THE BOYS A GREAT BIG HAND by ED McBAIN

Give the Boys a Great Big Hand

A black-cloaked killer leaves a bag behind when disappearing onto a bus. Patrolman Richard Genero sees what happens and goes and opens said bag. The only thing in it is the hand of the title. A murder investigation takes place, using the reports of missing persons as that's about the only line of enquiry available. 

I suppose that any series is going to have it's highs and lows. It also makes sense to say that the better a series is, the more enjoyable the lows will be, so it stands to reason that any of the 87th Precinct books are going to be worth reading even if they don't always hit the mark. 

This one didn't really get me totally absorbed. I'm unable to put my finger on why. As much as anything, I suspect that it's because there's no serious development of any of the central characters. 

The case itself goes like clockwork. Though the leads don't take them far in the early stages, they soon come together to help the detectives crack the case. 

Notable in this one are some of the set pieces. Genero trying to get a warming Passover wine from a local tailor, Carella spoiling for a fight (and finding one) and an amusing visit to a high-brow clothes shop stood out for me. The ending also provides a terrific and bizarre finale that is hugely twisted and has been oft borrowed since.    

More good stuff from McBain, but there are better vintages available. 

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