<B>McBain's 87th Precinct is back</B> For nigh on half a century, Ed McBain has been cranking out tales of the 87th Precinct. Located in an indeterminate eastern seaboard metropolis (which bears more than a passing resemblance to New York City), the 87th runs the full gamut of crime: prostitution, theft, terrorism and of course, murder. The cast of characters has changed some over time, but the precinct and its stories carry on unabated. In the latest, <B>Fat Ollie's Book</B>, Detective First Grade Oliver Wendell (Fat Ollie) Weeks returns to investigate the shooting death of a noted local politico. By any reasonable measure, Fat Ollie Weeks is not the first boxcar across the bridge; he is a fusion of dull-wittedness, misogyny, bigotry, gluttony and sloth in more or less equal proportions. On top of all that, he's writing a book: a teeth-gnashingly awful police procedural, composed in the first person voice of a female detective with limited grammatical skills: "The Needle was not so named because he is tall and thin, which he is. Nor is that his name because he has only one eye, which he has. No, he is The Needle because when he was but a mere youth, he used to run a dope parlor where you could come up and flop while he injected heroin in your arm or sometimes into the inside of your thigh if you were a girl and didn't want track marks to show for all to see. Also, if he used a thigh, it being so proximate and all. . ." You get the drift; McBain parodies and simultaneously skewers the kind of writing that reviewers love to hate. If you have somehow managed to miss McBain, <B>Fat Ollie's Book</B> is a great place to start. It's funny, the dialogue is clever and sharp, and it's a cracking good mystery as well. <I>Nashville-based writer Bruce Tierney is a lifelong mystery reader who was weaned on the Hardy Boys.</I>

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