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The Big Bad City (87th Precinct, #49)
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The Big Bad City (87th Precinct #49)

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  845 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Like Elmore Leonard. Ed McBain is a master of the tough and funny urban cop thriller. Still going strong with over 100 million copies of his books in print worldwide. McBain's latest novel is a gritty, wry depiction of life and death in the 87th Precinct.On the cutting edge of city crime more than 40 years in the business. Ed McBain continues his successful 87th Precinct s ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 335 pages
Published December 31st 1999 by Wheeler Publishing (first published 1998)
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(showing 1-30)
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James Thane
Of the first forty-nine entries in Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series, this (the forty-ninth) is, I think, the best so far. By now, the cast of characters has been thoroughly established and the members have changed very little through the years. When the first book in the series, Cop Hater, appeared, the detectives of the 87th were all in their middle thirties and they still are. The lead detective, Steve Carella, is dreading the approach of his fortieth birthday, but he's taken forty three years ...more
Dec 13, 2015 K rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, I finished out the year on a good note with another 87th precinct novel from McBain, He is a master of police dialogue and procedural mystery, and knows how to keep it all moving while making the reader laugh out loud along the way. This book had all the ingredients and while not a deep or dark tale (unlike the Nordic Noirs), was entertaining throughout. A bit of lighthearted reading on which to end 2015.
Happy New Year to all.
Jul 13, 2008 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few pages into this book I realized that I'd listened to it on tape a couple of years ago. I started to close the covers, then realized I was enjoying the read, and proceeded to finish it.

So I can encapsulate my review of the book by stating, with authority, that it is good enough to read twice.

Being one of the 87th Precinct novels, if you love one, you'll love the all, and vice versa, but the vice versa would be hard for me to imagine.
Jun 07, 2011 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My very first McBain novel. Totally dug it. I can see why people who love Parker's books would love this series. Good atmosphere, interesting characters, quick dialogue. Great summer read!
Feb 08, 2012 Margie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As usual this book was as good as the rest of the 87th pct series, I read this book many years ago and forgot, but it was a good reread.
Tony Gleeson
Dec 21, 2009 Tony Gleeson rated it liked it
The forty-ninth entry in the 87th Precinct series (as I close in on the final entries, 55 in all!) and to me a slight disappointment. But even mediocre Hunter/McBain is still pretty derned good stuff. This one involves the mysterious murder of a nun-- with breast implants yet! (Don't ask, go read the darned thing.) There is also the "Cookie Boy,"a burglar who leaves chocolate chip cookies on the pillow of the homes he robs. I started to get the feeling that McBain was tiring of his usual charact ...more
Nov 25, 2014 Nigel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unmistakeable McBain - a murdered nun, a quirky burglar who leaves cookies for his victims and the man who killed Carella's father is egged on to get Carella before Carella gets him. The stories are masterfully orchestrated with dark sly wit written in a voice that is by turns mordant, comic and grim, evoking the sprawl of seedy, homey, squalid humanity in the Big Bad City. Like, say, Lansdale, McBain is the closest approximation to an experience of skilled oral storytelling on the printed page.
Feb 03, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First Ed McBain book that I have read and I enjoyed his humor and the way the story unfolded. I didn't feel too lost, having not read any of the previous books in the series, but there was some things that I was missing from the story. Not the greatest mystery, but the characters were well rounded and McBain made me want to know all of them better. Would read more in the series.
Bill Donhiser
A police procedural with a good storyline well done.
Apr 06, 2010 Audrey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir
Sunday evening turned a rosy pink and then a deeper blush and then a reddish-lavender-blue and then purple and black, the golden day succumbing at last to night.

It was time to go buy a gun.

Synopsis: Three inter-locking cases in the 87th Precinct: a dead nun, an unhinged stalker and a burglar who bakes chocolate-chip cookies. Go.

In the course of one very long, hot August in the city, the 87th Precinct has to contend with a dead nun with breast implants and a baking burglar whose career gets away
Jul 09, 2016 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After tearing through a young adult alien invasion series, a very down to earth cops and crime book seemed a good change of pace, and McBain hit the spot. This was a very straightforward set of semi-intertwining stories around one group of homicide detectives. You get a good feel for the cops personal lives without it being overbearing on the meat of the matter, which are the crimes and the policework involved. Everything was pretty "normal" in the grand scheme of things - a burglary gone sidewa ...more
The Big Bad City - G
Ed McBain
In the opening pages, Steve Carella and Artie Brown return to the department with 9 basketball players (the 10th player was murdered) only to discover a knife fight erupting in a holding cell. It's a steamy August night, and Carella and Detective Parker end up having to shoot one of the fighters to cool things down. Then Meyer and Kling enter the scene; they're hot in pursuit of the Cookie Boy, a thief who leaves chocolate-chip cookies at every crime sight. Before th
Joshua Emil
Jan 02, 2012 Joshua Emil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ed-mcbain-books
The story focuses on two cases. The first to appear is a woman found dead in a park blocks away from the precinct. The detectives assigned were Carella and Brown; as they go deeper, they uncover secrets the victim kept (unusual secrets). The second is a string of burglary and robbery perpetrated by The Cookie Boy, who leaves cookies on every crime scene.

Besides from these cases, a stalker is closing in on one of the men of the 87th Precinct.

This is has been one of the best police procedural I
Shirley Alvarez
Jan 19, 2016 Shirley Alvarez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I am always amazed at how much detail is in these books. They are correct in information about what was happening in the world and guess what? It fits today perfect! Nothing is new!
Irene B.
McBain is popcorn for the brain. This is one of the better ones. I read them to find out how his characters' lives progress.
Sep 19, 2010 wally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mcbain
ed mcbain is a good story teller. an 87th precinct story. life in the big bad city. an entertaining read.
LInda L
Mar 03, 2013 LInda L rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful -- I loved it and can't wait for more 87th stories.
Mike O'connell
Apr 29, 2010 Mike O'connell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another fast paced 87th Precinct mystery. Recommended for all readers.
Carolyn Rose
It's always a good police-procedural read when I check in with Steve Carella and the guys of the 87th Precinct and ride along as they solve a couple of cases.
L. Lawson
Jun 08, 2012 L. Lawson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never read a McCain I didn't like, and The Big Bad City is no exception. He's a master of dialogue and moving the story forward.
Feb 14, 2017 Sandy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
All these years and this is the first Ed McBain I have ever read. It was not bad and if I came across a free Kindle offering I would read another.
Jan 01, 2017 Lise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
again an interesting read,,
I decided that I wanted to read a mystery from a writer of the past so I chose Ed McBain's the Big Bad City. It was truly a police procedural.
Different cases and occurances happening at the same time. It is more about how the 87th precinct works, how they interrogate suspects, the jokes, the attitudes , the flub ups, their personal lives, etc. I guess one could get hooked on this sort of thing, but this is not my sort of mystery.
Gerald Kinro
Dec 09, 2012 Gerald Kinro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another day in the city. A young woman is found dead in a public park. A serial burglar strikes again and leaves his calling card—some chocolate chip cookies. Then things get interesting. The dead woman turns out to be a nun with breast implants. The cookie burglar, not a violent criminal at the beginning, gets caught up in a dual killing. What’s more, Steve Carella, one of the detectives of the 87th Precinct who is investigating the dead woman’s death is being stalked by the man who shot and ki ...more
Charles Moore
This is my second 87th Precinct story. It starts out almost as McBain's anti-fluff-mystery opinion piece but ends up with a strange twist of justice. The dialogue is superb. The action is great. The characters are believable.

I'm not a big fan of police procedural but I think, if I wanted to emulate and learn a bit about writing those I'd start with Ed McBain. In a different view of the genre is Michael Donnelly. Both write procedurals but they tell the stories very differently. What I kind of l
Sheldon Lehman
Like most McBains, a well-written story. That said, with this series in it's 42nd year (at this book's publication), he is starting to run into problems with scene and character development. And there are inconsistencies with settings. He moves scene placement into the current decade, but doesn't age the characters quite as fast. I'm not saying Carella should be in his 60s, but just to have him turning 40 isn't enough of a progression. Also, he mentions the movie Men in Black, which came out the ...more
Apr 09, 2009 Tracy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The characters weren't flat, the story didn't depend on gore or mental instability, and the personal interactions between family and partners that care for each other was comfortable without being sappy or contrived. I will add this author to my "read more" list.

There was only one place in the book that suffered from the abridgement process but it wasn't hard to extrapolate what the missing info was.

Usually I treat "read by the author" audiobooks like plague (stay
Chris Gager
Ed Mcbain=Evan Hunter. Born as Sal Lombino and AKA Hunt Collins, Curt Cannon and Richard Marsten. In the words of the immortal Mr. C., "I did not know that"... This book is much better than the other EM book I read, "Mary, Mary", which was gratuitously nasty and plot-absurd. As is common with this genre one looks for plot holes:
- Sonny is/was the dumbest person on the planet.
- The Cookie Boy? Also pretty stupid. His light bulb FINALLY came on.
- According to Cormac McCarthy alligators make a lowi
Mar 13, 2013 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pretty good entry in the 87th precinct series. The author used the 3rd person perspective quite nicely to tell the story, jumping between good and bad characters to show the reader where the story was going even while the characters did not. This technique does not
always work well. It did here. The book was a combination mystery and adventure. The gratutitous sex
and violence was kept to a minimum.
Sep 13, 2011 Marti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to believe that this is the 49th in the series about the 87th Precinct. The officers are like old friends, and it is what happens to the victims and perpetrators which is new. When is a nun not a nun? How bad can a chocolate chip cookie baker be? This volume answers those questions and more. There seems to be a lot of crime in Isola--but then that coud probably be said of most cities. The men in the 87th work together well--and their stories are exciting to read.
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"Ed McBain" is one of the pen names of American author and screenwriter Salvatore Albert Lombino (1926 – 2005), who legally adopted the name Evan Hunter in 1952. While successful and well known as Evan Hunter, he was even better known as Ed McBain, a name he used for most of his crime fiction, beginning in 1956.

He also used the pen names John Abbott, Curt Cannon, Hunt Collins, Ezra Hannon, Dean Hu
More about Ed McBain...

Other Books in the Series

87th Precinct (1 - 10 of 55 books)
  • Cop Hater (87th Precinct, #1)
  • The Mugger (87th Precinct, #2)
  • The Pusher (87th Precinct, #3)
  • The Con Man (87th Precinct, #4)
  • Killer's Choice (87th Precinct, #5)
  • Killer's Payoff (87th Precinct, #6)
  • Killer's Wedge (87th Precinct, #7)
  • Lady Killer (87th Precinct, #8)
  • 'Til Death (87th Precinct, #9)
  • King's Ransom (87th Precinct, #10)

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