TAKE by Bill James


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 It's getting so you can't tell James's cops from his robbers without a scorecard. Detective Chief Superintendent Colin Harpur (Come Clean, 1993, etc.), taking time off from his mistress, Ruth Cotton, to watch his kids in an amateur revival of Annie Get Your Gun, runs into Ron (Planner) Preston, who's taking time off from the payroll robbery he's planning to watch his wife in the starring role. Even as Planner and the scruffy gang he's gathered for the job act out a savage parody of middle-class gentility (Planner explains his decision to carry guns by saying that ``it's like NATO. Deterrence''), the lawmen set above them seem to be doing their best to act down to their level. Harpur allows Ruth's husband, Sgt. Rob Cotton, to continue carrying a handgun even though he knows Cotton would like to kill him; a nest of sweaty informants, from a shady art dealer to a cop dreaming of his own restaurant, fall over themselves to sell their knowledge to the highest bidder; Harpur, completely misled about Planner's intentions, sets up a police ambush at the wrong location. The long-delayed finale will clear the deck without clearing the air. Not by a long shot the most violent of James's superbly grungy procedurals, but maybe the nastiest. Brrr.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-88150-294-4
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Countryman
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1994


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