The 87th Precinct gets a visit from one of the city's most accomplished criminals, a thief known as the Deaf Man. Because he might be deaf. Or he might not. So little is known about the man who is harassing Detective Steve Carella with puzzling messages that it is hard to tell. But as soon as a pattern emerges, the detectives of the 87th are forced to hit the books and brush up on their Shakespeare, because each new clue contains a line from one of his plays. Unless they can crack this complicated riddle and beat the Deaf Man at his own cat-and-mouse game, someone is going to end up hurt, or something will be stolen, or both. It's always so hard to tell with the Deaf Man.
Ed McBain brings his most intelligent and devious criminal back to the 87th Precinct with a richly plotted and literary crime.
Don't miss any of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novels.
©2004 HUI Corp.; (P)2004 Simon & Schuster Inc. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.
"It's vintage McBain, complete with pitch-perfect dialogue, subplots that thrust various precinct cops into the spotlight, a pace that encourages the reader to forget about dinner or a good night's rest, and a plot that teases and tantalizes from start to finish." (Publishers Weekly)
"A treat that die-hard fans of the hard-boiled police procedural should not pass up." (The New York Times Book Review)
I've enjoyed most of the 87th precinct novels, but don't believe the publisher's hype on this one -- "brilliant and intricate" this is not. In fact, it's a one note tune that involves a series of messages sent to the precinct ad nauseum based on wordplay that taunts the detectives to solve a crime that is about to be committed, and it gets old fast. When the climax finally arrives, the commision of the crime is so simple as to be ludicrous and disappointing.
Absolute trash. The plot is senseless; the police detectives are complete dolts, ignoring leads and insulting victims; the villain is a cardboard cutout; the dialogue of the African-American characters is exactly what you would expect to be written by an elderly suburban white guy, which is what the author was by this time; the lead detective needs his pre-teen child to explain the internet to him (mind you the book was written in 2004, so the internet wasn't exactly a novelty).
It occurred to me part-way through this book that the whole plot was inspired by the fact that the author was fooling around on the internet one day and stumbled across an anagram-creator and a Shakespeare quote-finder. Once you know that, you know everything you need about this book.
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