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Fat Ollie's Book: A Novel of the 87th Precinct    by Ed McBain Amazon.com order for
Fat Ollie's Book
by Ed McBain
Order:  USA  Can
Pocket, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

I found a treasure the other day, an Eighty-seventh Precinct story by prolific writer Ed McBain that I had not read. McBain reminds his readers that the people and the places of Fat Ollie's Book are fictitious only the police routine is based on fact. We never are to know in what city the Eighty-seventh is based. But it really doesn't matter. Any City, USA works for me.

It seems Fat Ollie who, according to description is marvelously fat and rather disgusting to watch while he stuffs his mouth with food using both hands has written a book about police work. It is stolen from his police car - a tragedy to Ollie but a boon for the publishing world. The thief takes the plot of the book as gospel and looks to make a fortune from the diamonds that Fat Ollie has woven into his very short and surely not publishable novel.

I can't decide whether Fat Ollie disgusts me or fascinates me he's rather like a snake you can't stop watching; a very fat snake. A politician is gunned down prior to announcing his candidacy for mayor. Three bumbling would-be gangsters plot to raid a drug buy. Steve Carella attempts to get a job for his deaf-mute wife, whom he loves dearly.

The reader can always count on McBain for a fast-paced action-packed mystery that's long on humor and even longer on suspense - a rip-snorting combination.

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