Fuzz

McBain, Ed. Fuzz. New York: Warner Books, 2000.

Reason read: to finish the series started in July in memory of McBain’s passing.

McBain is a master of character development and dialogue detail.

The 87th Precinct has met its match in Fuzz. After a prominent citizen of a fictitious New York City is gunned down witnesses can only say they saw a man wearing a hearing aid. Dubbed the Deaf Man, it isn’t long before he strikes again. His modus operandi is to call the precinct to extort a sum of money or else someone is going to die. In the case of Parks Commissioner Cowper, it was $5,000. The next threat was aimed at the deputy mayor for $50,000. Finally, it was the mayor’s turn to die. Meanwhile on a different assignment, Steve Carella tries to figure out who is setting homeless people on fire. Dressed as a derelict Carella puts himself in danger and isn’t fast enough to get out of harm’s way…

Quotes I liked, “In a city notorious for its indifference, the citizens were obviously withdrawn now, hurrying past each other without so much as eyes meeting, insulating themselves, becoming tight private cocoons that defied the cold” (p 23),

Author fact: So, here’s a really odd one. McBain can describe the weather so well the heat detailed on the page can send trickles of sweat down your back or the lack of it can freeze your fingertips. Impressive, considering all the while you are in the comfort of your own temperature controlled home.

Book trivia: Fuzz was made into a movie in  starring Burt Reynolds.

Nancy said: I read Fuzz and Big Bad City out of order because Pearl listed Big Bad City before Fuzz. I should have known better than to trust Pearl to put the series in the order in which they should be read. It’s an attention to detail I would have appreciated.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust  in the chapter called “I Love a Mystery” (p 120).


An August Attempt

So. I’ve done a few short runs here and there. Nothing crazy, but at least I’m back in it somewhat. Spent more time with the books. Speaking of which, here they are:

Fiction:

  • Under the Snow by Kerstin Ekman (EB/print)
  • The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe
  • The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall (AB)
  • Crazy Jack by Donna Jo Napoli (EB)
  • Power of One by Bryce Courtenay (EB)
  • Niccolo Rising by Dorothy Dunnett (EB/print)
  • Daring to Dream by Nora Roberts (EB)

Nonfiction:

  • A Season in Red: My Great Leap Forward into the New China by Kirsty Needham
  • A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella L. Bird
  • Eurydice Street by Sofka Zinovieff

Series continuation:

  • Arctic Chill by Arnuldur Indridason (EB/print) – which I forgot to mention when I was plotting the month. It’s the last book of the series -that I’m reading. (There are others.)
  • Big Bad City by Ed McBain

LibraryThing Early Review:

  • Where Eagles Dare Not Perch by Peter Bridgford (EB) – which came after I plotted the month of reading so it wasn’t mentioned before.

 


Travels of August

Since the Run for Nancy was only a few days ago I am still on a high from not only running four miles, but running four miles without pain. No pain whatsoever. The pain is so gone it’s as if I imagined the whole thing. Weird. Weird. Weird. As for books, since I don’t have any other running plans in the near future:

Fiction:

  • The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe – in honor of August being Chick Lit month.
  • The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay – in honor of Courtenay’s birth month being in August.
  • Daring to Dream by Nora Roberts – in honor of August being Dream Month (hey, I read it somewhere).
  • Niccolo Rising by Dorothy Dunnett – in honor of Dunnett’s birth month being in August.
  • The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall – in honor of Rajir Ratna Gandhi’s birth in August.

Nonfiction:

  • A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella Bird – in honor of Colorado becoming a state in August.
  • Eurydice Street: a Place in Athens by Sofka Zinovieff – in honor of the Dormition of the Holy Virgin.
  • A Season in Red by Kirsty Needham – in honor of the Double Seven festival in China.

Series continuations:

  • The Big Bad City by Ed McBain – to continue the series started in July.

If there is time:

Fiction:

  • Under the Snow by Kerstin Ekman – in honor of Ekman’s birth month.
  • Crazy Jack by Donna Jo Napoli – in honor of Fairy Tale Month.

 


July’s Jam

July was jamming. Guess what! I ran a few times this month. Even participated in a charity run for an aunt-in-law (is that a thing?). I am feeling much, much better! And. And! And, I was able to read a ton:

Fiction:

  • Jackie by Josie by Caroline Preston – in honor of Jacqueline O. Kennedy’s birth month.
  • Cop Hater by Ed McBain – in memory of McBain’s passing in the month of July.
  • Miss Lizzie by Walter Satterthwait – in honor of Lizzie Borden’s birth month.
  • Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken – in honor of July being Kids Month.
  • Gardens of Kyoko by Kate Walbert – in honor of Japan’s Tanabata Festival.
  • Animals by Alice Mattison – in honor of Mattison’s birth month.

Nonfiction:

  • The Coldest Day: America and the Korean War by David Halberstam – in honor of July being the month the Korean War ended.
  • The Book of Mediterranean Cooking by Elizabeth David – in honor of July being picnic month.
  • Den of Thieves by James Stewart – in honor of July being Job Fair month (odd choice, I know).

Series Continuation:

  • The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason – to continue the series started in June.
  • Midnight in Ruby Bayou by Elizabeth Lowell – to continue the series started in April.

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • Into the Storm: Two Ships, a Deadly Hurricane, and an Epic Battle for Survival by Tristam Koten.

 


Den of Thieves

Stewart, James B. Den of Thieves. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.

Reason read: July is typically Job Fair month (although this is not the job most would want to have…).

In a nutshell, Den of Thieves recounts the largest insider-trading scandal in the all-about-me 1980s. It is what happens when all-out avarice collides with above-the-law arrogance. Everyone has a hazy remembrance of Milken, Siegel and Freeman (to name a few) but with thorough research Stewart’s book keeps the details in sharp focus.

Confessional: in this criminal climate we currently live in, I had a hard time reading about a group of individuals who had a blatant disregard for the law. Some things never change. I couldn’t finish this book.

Author fact: Stewart likes going after big time dirty deeds. He has written other books on big time falls from grace.

Book trivia: Stewart includes a great selection of photographs.

Nancy said: Nancy called Den of Thieves “frightening” (Book Lust, p 34).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “BBB: Best Business Books” (p 33). How it is considered a “best business book” I’ll never know.


Cop Hater

McBain, Ed. Cop Hater. New York: Pocket Books, 1999.

Reason read: McBain died in the month of July; read Cop Hater in his memory.

Someone is going around killing cops. One right after another in quick succession, three plain-clothed detectives are gunned down. At first glance Joe Public assumes someone out there is a serious cop hater. That seems to be the only connection between the three victims. They are all law enforcement. So, someone must really hate the fuzz, right? The only other common denominator is the heat. It’s summertime and every day is blazing hot, hot, hot. Tempers are flaring but is it hot enough to drive someone to murder? That’s what protagonist Detective Steve Carella needs to find out.
What I loved about McBain’s style is how he drops clues along the way. Once you know “whodunit” you can go back and see the answers peeking out way before the individual crimes are solved. While the details are a little dated and police procedures are very different than they were in the 50s, Cop Hater is still an entertaining read.

I forgot to mention my favorite line, “The elevator crawled up the intestinal track of the building” (p 92). Great image!

Author fact: Ed McBain is actually Evan Hunter and Cop Hater is his first 87th Precinct book of the series.

Book trivia: Cop Hater was originally published in 1956 and made into a movie in 1958. The funny thing is, as I was reading it I thought it would make the perfect crime series for television. Turns out, McBain modeled Cop Hater after the television show, Dragnet.

Nancy said: Nancy said Cop Hater takes place in New York City. I am guessing she didn’t read McBain’s introduction because he makes a point of explaining the Eighty-seventh Precinct is based on a New York City precinct. Cop Hater actually takes place in the fictional city of Isola.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the huge chapter “I Love a Mystery” (p 120).


Miss Lizzie

Satterthwait, Walter. Miss Lizzie. New York: International Polygonics, Ltd. 2000.

Reason read: Lizzie Borden was born in July; read in her honor.

Everyone remembers the rhyme about Lizzie Borden giving her parents a certain number of whacks. Everyone also knows she was found not guilty. But! She wasn’t found innocent either. So what happens when, thirty years later, another parent is found murdered in the exact same way and Lizzie just happens to be the neighbor living right next door? Coincidence? Amanda Burden is a teenager of thirteen and has befriended Miss Borden who has lived alone all this time. This is Amanda’s story.
Satterthwait keeps the tension tight in this clever whodunit. Amanda believes in Miss Lizzie’s innocence and yet Satterthwait is careful to leave a little room for doubt.
There were several things I found unusual about this plot. For starters, Amanda is, as I said, only thirteen years old and yet her father leaves Amanda with Miss Lizzie while he conducts business (and an affair) in Boston. Amanda has been keeping her friendship with Miss Lizzie a secret, so how or why would Mr. Burden trust his only daughter to the care of a woman who may or may not have murdered her parents? I don’t think it ruins the plot to say that I was even further confused when it was revealed Amanda’s father left his daughter to be the one to discover her stepmother’s body hacked to death. Who does that?

Quotes to quote, “Families are held together as much by what they do not say as by what they do” (p 86), and “Decades can pass sometimes, and even entire lives, before we forgive our parents their humanity” (p 316).

Author fact: Satterthwait has a sense of humor. His Amazon page says he was raised by wolverines because the wolves wouldn’t take him.

Nancy said: Miss Lizzie was one of the best biographical novels she’s read (Book Lust, p 37).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Biographical Novels” (p 37). As an aside, this could also be in the More Book Lust chapter called “Men Channeling Women” (p 166).