Even for Grange, whose surreal flights of barbaric fancy are a strain on the nervous system, Schiffer is a horrid achievement.
The New York Times
McBain's latest, a sparkling departure from his 87th Precinct detective series, follows a week in the life of Floridian Alice Glendenning, a feisty 34-year-old widow who has fallen on tough times. Still grieving over her husband Eddie's drowning accident eight months earlier, Alice is now the stressed single mother of bright 10-year-old Ashley and sullen Jamie, eight, voiceless since his father's death. Money is tight: Eddie's life insurance payout hasn't arrived, and Alice, a struggling real estate agent, has yet to sell her first house. Things turn calamitous when Ashley and Jamie are kidnapped from their school yard by two women who demand $250,000-the exact amount due Alice from Eddie's double indemnity policy-and no police involvement or the children will be killed. Alice's housekeeper immediately alerts the authorities, and before long, the Glendenning residence is bleeping with telephone surveillance equipment and buzzing with bumbling Cape October police detectives. Alice leans on her friend Charlie Hobbs for levelheaded support after the unwelcome arrivals of countless "world-class snoops" like her shifty, jailbird brother-in-law; the annoying, airheaded woman who ran over Alice's foot; a smitten house hunter; and Alice's sister, Carol. As the ever-expanding houseful of irritating meddlers fuels her desperation, a shocking surprise awaits poor Alice. A swift, cleverly plotted story line, sassy dialogue and a well-drawn, resilient heroine make this gripper a hands-down success. As one of our most prolific and talented writers, McBain appears to have struck gold once again. Agent, Jane Gelfman at Gelfman Schneider. (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Alice Glendenning is having a very bad day. Still grieving eight months after being widowed, she is running out of money. Her late husband's insurance hasn't come through yet, and prospects at work (she's a real estate agent) have been bleak. Then Murphy's Law really kicks in-a car hits Alice and breaks her ankle, and her daughter, ten, and son, eight, are kidnapped. A woman demands ransom in the same amount as the expected insurance payment and warns that the children will be killed if police are notified. Alice heeds the warning, but her housekeeper does not. Soon, local and federal law authorities are on the job, as well as some civilians with their own agendas and a frantic Alice trying to find her kids. McBain (Hark!: A Novel of the 87th Precinct) spins out with consummate skill an arresting story set in John MacDonald territory on the Florida Gulf Coast. Although this a departure from his police procedurals and series, fans will find the author on firm ground. Essential for crime fiction collections. [See Mystery Prepub, LJ 9/1/04.]-Michele Leber, Arlington, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
McBain takes a week away from the 87th Precinct (Hark!, p. 607) for a kidnapping in Florida without Matthew Hope or any of his regulars. Alice Glendenning is just trying to hang on till the life-insurance check comes. In the eight months since her stockbroker husband Eddie drowned in the Gulf, the onetime film student has turned herself into a realtor, though she has yet to close a single sale, and is waiting patiently for her eight-year-old son, who hasn't said a word since Eddie's death, to start talking again. Now she's afraid she may have missed her chance for good. Jamie and Ashley, his ten-year-old sister, have been abducted by a black woman and a blond accomplice. And Alice's bank account is $247,000 short of the quarter-mil ransom demand. Although she doesn't breathe a word to the law, her housekeeper isn't nearly so circumspect, and before long the Port October Police and the FBI are camping inside her house. So are Rafe Matthews, her shiftless brother-in-law; Jennifer Redding, the twit whose car broke Alice's ankle; and Charlie Hobbs, her only real friend. In fact, Alice, who's felt utterly alone since Eddie's death, finds that she has just enough friends and neighbors to drive her crazy. It's pure pleasure watching all these meddling well-wishers fall into their appointed places in McBain's well-oiled plot. The procedural king makes the whole caper look so easy you wonder why all suspense novels aren't this slick.
"This tricky plot turns on the small, unexpected details."
The New York Times Book Review
"Sparkling...swift...a hands-down success."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Heart stopping and heartbreaking."
Booklist (starred review)
The Boston Globe
"Money, meddlers, and mayhem...well worth the read."