Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Frumious Bandersnatch by Ed McBain (audio book read by Ron McLarty)

What Ed McBain didn't know about modern pop music is written all over The Frumious Bandersnatch, the 53rd in his ever-popular 87th Precinct series. McBain was obviously not a fan of modern music, but his writing (at least at the beginning) suggests that his research consisted entirely of reading gossip magazines (his description of the music video delves into every modern cliche).

The Frumious BandersnatchI almost didn't finish the novel for that reason. Then I realized I don't seek out McBain's work for social commentary, but because his work is the best at presenting a realistic look at the daily grind of America's big-city police officers. Luckily, that makes up the majority of The Frumious Bandersnatch.

Carella and company are back when new singing sensation, Tamar Valparaiso, is kidnapped during the launch of her debut CD, Bandersnatch. (The title song, and first single, is simply Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" set to music.) Meanwhile, Ollie Weeks (from the 88th precinct) is given his own subplot once again, this time pursuing his romance with fellow police officer Patricia Gomez (who, to me, seems rather dim, but that could only be the way her dialogue is written).

The Frumious Bandersnatch is a weaker entry in the series (the early, more tightly written books are definitely my favorites), but McBain's easygoing skill with words (and Ron McLarty's reading of the audiobook) makes it enjoyable nevertheless, especially during the actual investigation scenes.

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