1/4/2004 
BOSTON HERALD 
Do not follow the suggestion in the poem. Do not shun "The Frumious Bandersnatch."  
  A new Ed McBain is out! "O frabjous day! Callooh!
Callay!" - as Lewis Carroll
would say.

"The Frumious Bandersnatch" (Simon & Schuster) is
the 53rd book in the 87th Precinct series author Evan
Hunter has penned under the pseudonym Ed McBain.

The title comes from the name of a creature in
"Jabberwocky," Carroll's famed nonsense rhyme in
"Through the Looking-Glass."

But the "eight-seven" and Isola, the island city
inspired by Manhattan, is no fairytale wonderland. As in
every book in the series, the story unfolds in a
painstakingly described, gritty, dangerous city.

Steve Carella and the rest of the 87th's detective
squad -- men and women familiar as family after 47
years -- slog wearily through this urban nightmare.

Don't look for fancy gunplay or wise-ass quipping
here, nor any of the computer razzle-dazzle that
sustains today's TV and movie cops. In the 87th, as
we're reminded at the start of every book, routine police
procedure and established investigatory techniques
are the weapons of choice.

Those and dumb luck. Cops and crooks alike
eventually face the McBain Twist, the ironic coincidence
or unexpected turn of human nature that spins the plot
in unforeseen directions.

On each of these points, "Frumious" is a satisfactory
new chapter in the precinct's saga.

Tamar Valparaiso, a Britney- and J.Lo-inspired
singer, is expected to be the next big star with
"Bandersnatch," a version of "Jabberwocky" set
word-for-word to hip-hop music.

Her "Bandersnatch" video features a realistic
attempted rape that is re-enacted during a record
launch party aboard a yacht.

The mock rape is interrupted by a real kidnapping.
Tamar is carried away by three AK-47-toting people
disguised in Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat and
George W. Bush Halloween masks.

McBain, remember, wrote the quintessential kidnap
story, "King's Ransom," in 1959. This is Carella's first
foray into kidnapping since then, a fact he has to
admit when asked how many kidnappings he's
investigated...

" One,'' Carella answered. '"In my entire life as a cop,'"
he added.

McBain provides more than a crime to investigate.
There's savage social commentary as Carella and the
team face impediments that didn't exist in 1959.  
There's an FBI team whose new high-tech gadgetry
works as badly as any high-tech gadgetry the first time
it's used. There are the media pundits with uninformed
opinions.

And then there's beautiful blonde TV reporter Honey
Blair, who videotaped the whole crime and who doesn't
want to give away her scoop.

And remember the McBain Twist, an unexpected and
chilling turn of events.

Do not follow the suggestion in the poem.
   Do not shun "The Frumious Bandersnatch."

Dana Bisbee is the Boston Herald's society editor.
 

 
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