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Looks like more overtime for the detectives of the 87th Precinct. Only a few blocks from the station house, a nun lies strangled in a city park--and not just any nun, but one who shelled out $3,000 for breast augmentation only a few years ago. As Steve Carella and Artie Brown chase sister Mary Vincent's killer through the corridors of her past, another case blows up for Meyer Meyer and Bert Kling when the burglar the papers call The Cookie Boy (because he leaves a dozen home-baked chocolate-chip-cookies at each crime scene as a thank-you) runs into a scene that ends in a double homicide. Meantime, Carella himself, all unaware, is being stalked by the street punk who killed the his father, beat the rap, and now worries that Carella will always be watching over his shoulder unless she pops a cap in him first. As you'd expect from a place as crime-ridden as the Eight-Seven, there's a little something for everybody. The case of the murdered nun turns into the sort of sober, expert, if not exactly dazzling investigation that McBain (Nocturne, 1997, etc.) could turn out in his sleep. The Cookie Boy caper, by contrast, sparkles like a Fourth of July skyrocket, then fizzles. And the plot against Carella will still have you sweating, though not really guessing, as you turn the last page. How spoiled has McBain gotten his fans? It's all too easy to forget that this mid-grade adventure for the 87th, his 48th, continues to set the gold standard for the genre he invented.

Pub Date: Jan. 14th, 1999
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster