KISS by Ed McBain


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 McBain's new 87th Precinct installment, less ambitiously multi-plotted than some recent entries, has just two very different narratives, delivered in alternating chunks. Plot One, picking up where Widows (1991) left off, is the trial of the psychopath-punk who killed Detective Steve Carella's old baker-father in a brutal holdup. Although not completely convincing in some of its courtroom details, and a bit crude in its attempt to echo recent news events involving racial tension, this is solid, plain, streetwise McBain--familiar but effective in dramatizing law-and-order issues. Plot Two is a sex-triangle melodrama, initially intriguing but ultimately irritating and artificial in the made-for-cable-TV (not HBO) manner. Someone is trying to kill rich, beautiful Emma Bowles. Is it her stockbroker- husband? And can she trust the handsome private eye her husband has hired to ``protect'' her? The outcome, which involves sleazy, illicit romance and a contrived twist, is neither surprising nor satisfying. In sum: so-so McBain, with too much attempted glitz and not enough old-fashioned personality and legwork. (Book-of-the-Month Dual Selection for April)

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 1992
ISBN: 0-688-10220-4
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1991


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