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by Ed McBain
Orion, December 2003
195 pages
ISBN: 0752857959

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Steve Carella begins his day with some trepidation and a ringing phone. Today his baby sister, Angela, is getting married to Tommy Giordano. While Steve's own marriage is working well, every marriage holds risks and he wants her to be happy. Steve's concerns quickly become warranted, as the ringing phone is Tommy asking him to come over immediately. Tommy has received a death threat and wants Steve's help.

Before he called for help, Tommy received a black widow in a box left on his doorstep. The wedding is still on but there are concerns for the safety of the wedding party. Steve calls in some of his fellow off-duty officers to act as bodyguards at the wedding. While the day holds the normal chaos of a wedding, there are numerous hidden tensions including an ex-boyfriend who is still pursuing Angela up through the wedding. Steve must race to protect the groom so his sister can have the wedding of her dreams.

'TIL DEATH is a realistic police procedural. Even though the action does not occur at a police station nor does it occur with on-duty police officers, this book still satisfies all of the genre requirements. Steve and his fellow officers have an obvious suspect; however, they are unable to locate him. They rely on standard procedures to hunt down their suspect while protecting the victim. In addition, everyone works as a team without a single standout character.

This book is a fast-paced and action-packed. Since the book is fewer than 200 pages every element of the book must be condensed in order to speed things along. While McBain does a good job of condensing the action to fit the page constraints the same is not true of character development and background. To a reader who is not already familiar with these characters, a lot of their actions and decisions seem slightly disjointed. This is an element that frequently happens in series and to long-time fans it is unnoticeable.

Ed McBain is the best-selling author of over 50 books that comprise two series and numerous standalones. 'TIL DEATH is part of the 87th Precinct series.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, January 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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