ROMANCE by Ed McBain

ROMANCE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 McBain's densely textured procedurals (And All Through the House, 1994, etc.) have made him a national treasure, but his latest 87th Precinct novel--the 46th in the series--offers no more than what you'd expect from lesser mortals: a niggardly plot and a half. The plot involves the misfortunes of Michelle Cassidy, talent-free star of the avant-garde new play Romance. Like the heroine she plays, Michelle's been stabbed in a dark alley, but even though her testimony to Detectives Steve Carella and Bert Kling is inconclusive, we know who stabbed her: her agent/lover, Johnny Milton, who thought (it was partly sweet Michelle's idea) that it would give the play some nice publicity. The ploy is so successful that it's no surprise when somebody--presumably not Johnny, though the boys of the 87th carry him off--stops by Michelle's place with another knife and finishes the job. Meanwhile (this is the half a plot), Bert Kling has struck up a tentative romance with Deputy Chief Surgeon Sharyn Cooke, whose higher rank bothers him more than her race--though she's plenty bothered by the fact that he's white. Eventually McBain, who seems worried that he's going to run short on side dishes, has Carella's wife, Teddy, booked for assault when she kicks the woman who rammed her parked car, but this episode never goes anywhere, and neither, really, does the backstage whodunit. Clearly the work of a gifted McBain impersonator who has the dialogue and local color down but still needs to work on the story. Skip this one and pray the real McBain escapes from wherever in Isola the bad guys are holding him. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 14th, 1995
ISBN: 0-446-51804-2
Page count: 336pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1995




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