Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Report #13 of 26 - Fat Ollie's Book by Ed McBain


This is a book I've had on the shelf for a while now.  McBain was a prolific writer of over 100 novels.  I don't quite know why I've never really gotten into his books.  He wrote primarily police procedurals and his writing style was very easy to read.

Part of the issue I had with his most celebrated series (the 87th Precinct books) was that he insisted in using a fictitious east coast city called Isola.  Which was New York city and it rubbed me the wrong way from the start.  Then he insisted it not allowing is characters to age.  His main detective Carella is always just around 40 years old.  Interestingly all of his novels were set in the present day so we get the follow the ageless Carella throughout the changes of the 50's to the 2000's.

Put that aside and you have an enjoyable series of novels.  There are all kinds of characters in the form of the cops that inhabit the precinct and the accompanying low-lifer's that inhabit a city.  There are usually two  crimes that are being solved at the same time in each book.

Anyway, straight ahead cop stories that are, usually, pretty good.

I hated the character of Fat Ollie, who is a detective from a neighboring precinct (the 88th) and thank God he's not part of the 87th because I'd have to kill myself.  He is a bigot, glutton and all-around asshole who wrote a terrible novel that is stolen form his police car.  The hard part of the book is that McBain makes us suffer through the text of this book!  But eventually I got into the rhythm of it and could simply laugh at it.

The story of the missing book was pretty fun and the case of the murdered politician was also well done.

Yea, I liked it.  As a matter of fact I'm going to try and track down the first three novels of the series which were written in the 50's and start from there.

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