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

(87th Precinct #49)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,009 ratings  ·  68 reviews
In this city, you have to pay attention. In this city, things are happening all the time, all over the place, and you don't have to be a detective to smell evil in the wind.

Take this week's tabloids: the face of a dead girl is splashed across the front page. She was found sprawled near a park bench not seven blocks from the police station. Detectives Carella and Brown so

Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Pocket (first published 1998)
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,009 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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James Thane
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
David Highton
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
An 87th story published in 1998, with Steve Carella fretting about facing 40 (more than 40 years after he first appears in the series). Like some other long-running series, the characters become ageless, even as the cultural references and the technology move along with the times. A murder of a nun, a series of burglaries and the re-emergence of the murderer of Carella's father are the key themes which run parallel in this good book - the usual reliable police procedural from the 87th.
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ed McBain is the King of police procedural books. I haven't read him in quite a while, but seeing as this is #49 in the series, I guess it's time to start again! In this novel as always there are two stories going on at the same time. Steve is being persured by the the man that killed his father and there is a burglar called "The Cookie Man" who Meyer Meyer and company are after. Great read!
Jun 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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
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 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 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 07, 2016 rated it liked it
A police procedural with a good storyline well done.
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book in this series. Nice to know they still hold up.
Apr 06, 2010 rated it liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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 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.
Oct 23, 2010 rated it liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful -- I loved it and can't wait for more 87th stories.
Mike O'connell
Apr 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Another fast paced 87th Precinct mystery. Recommended for all readers.
Carolyn Rose
May 24, 2012 rated it liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 87th Precinct tries to solve the cases of the dead nun, the "Cookie Boy" Burglaries, a multiple homicide that may involve the "Cookie Boy" all while the guy who killed one of the cop's fathers now sets his sights on the son because he fear the son may take matters into his own hands.

At times the story was repetitive without cause. Almost as if the author wrote it, then copied it and moved it because it was practically verbatim. Characters were clearly defined. I felt like I knew the nun, th
Feb 14, 2017 rated it liked it
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.
Pamela Tracy
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: police
This one totally worked. I was rivoted and didn't skip a word. I liked both the nun story and the vendetta story. I liked the step by step process integrated with family dynamics.
Cori Arnold
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it

A cabin read with a cabin pace when what I brought wasn't sufficient for cabin time.

I'm intrigued by McBain's use of narrative summary, and his style for dialogue.

Inspired me to write.
Martin Raybould
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tight, well-written thriller.
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
again an interesting read,,
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
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.
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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

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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“them perhaps half an hour to finish all they have to do. Alan gets behind the wheel and honks the horn. In the stillness of the night, it sounds like” 0 likes
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