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cover shotThe First One i Didn't Finish.
Fat Ollie's Book
Ed McBain
I have read every 87th Precinct novel up till now -- and every one of the late "Ed McBain"'s "Matthew Hope" novels -- and enjoyed them all to a greater or lesser degree.

Even Hail to the Chief, which was a satire of Watergate.

Even He Who Hesitates, in which the cops of the 87th are barely seen, in a story about a murderer's state of mind.

Even the latest "Deaf Man" book (though that one *did* try my patience a bit).

I didn't finish this one. And i *really* expected and *wanted* to enjoy it; friends and reviewers who i trust had given it glowing notices.

Just proves the old saw about meat and poison and two different men.

The running joke this time (virtually every 87th Precinct novel has some running shtick, often humourous) is that Fat Ollie, the fat, bigoted, annoying cop, has written a novel. And it's terrible.

Wow. I wish he'd actually worked on a readable plot for this book to go with the joke. 'Cos the joke ain't very funny and wears out its welcome long before the book is over.

Yes, Ollie's book *is* terrible. I knew that was going to be true before he rubbed my nose in it. And that's the problem, because, essentially, this book *is* Fat Ollie's book; if you took out the quotes from Ollie's manuscript, this would be a longish short story.

And it still wouldn't be readable, so far as i'm concerned.

I -- apparently almost alone among 87th Precinct readers -- don't like Fat Ollie. If McBain felt a need to write about fat bigoted cops, there was always Andy Parker (who, last time i remember encountering him, was actually becoming a bit sympathetic).

And the pathetic geek who gets hold of Ollie's manuscript and is stupid enough (i estimate an IQ slightly below that necessary to sustain life) to believe that it's a coded official report that will lead him to Great Riches is just too annoying to be allowed to live.

The Worst In The Series. Pass it by; re-read some of the earlier ones.

Or, if you haven't yet read any of the Matthew Hope novels, try some of those.