Sunday, September 29, 2013

King's Ransom

A while back, amazon was offering a good deal on a large selection of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novels, about which I've heard many good things, so I decided to snap up the first bunch, up to King's Ransom, which I've been curious to read since seeing the Kurosawa movie based on it, High and Low.

As it turns out, I was both pleased and disappointed by this novel.  The first disappointment is that in just about every way, the movie is much stronger.  The kidnapping is simpler, the industrialist's character arc is better, and we don't actually meet the kidnapper until the end.

On the other hand, I've mostly been underwhelmed by the 87th Precinct novels so far, and this one finally turns the corner to be not too bad.  (Talk about damning with faint praise.  But it's the best I can do here).  But, having said that, my second disappointment is that the novel also wasn't really stand-out good either.  Maybe I can be convinced to try some later novels in the series, but for now I'm done with it.  I get that these books were written a long time ago, but Raymond Chandler's novels (for example) still leap off the page, and they're even older.

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