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    MONEY, MONEY, MONEY by Ed McBain


    Simon & Schuster, 2001

    Cass Ridley has found the ticket to wealth and warmth. Four quick flights over the border carrying minimal cargo, and she's made enough money to retire to the east and buy the fur coats she's always wanted. She doesn't count on a casual burgular breaking in and stealing some of her hard-earned cash, but when it happens, she goes after it.

    But there is something strange about Cass's money. Something so strange that the Secret Service stops by to investigate the burgular who tried to pass one of the bills--and then swaps out Cass's bills with clean ones of their own.

    Cass's little problems escalate into big ones and detectives Steve Carella (87th Precinct) and Fat Ollie Weeks (88th Precinct) find themselves investigating multiple murders including a lion-eaten women, that seem connected only by money--by Cass's questionable bills. When the Secret Service blows them off, refusing to cooperate, Carella and Weeks push harder, uncovering a dope smuggling ring that stretches its claws into the heart of their city, and throughout the country.

    Ed McBain has created an intelligent story with memorable characters. His writing grips the reader early, taking us for a ride that is carefully modulated for maximum impact. Multiple intertwined subplots weave through MONEY, MONEY, MONEY as Mexican hit men try to track down the drug buyers who slipped them millions in counterfeit bills, the local drug-lord decides to keep both the cocaine, middle-eastern terrorists work to bomb this mythical eastern city, and the local police try to solve crimes that just may involve agencies of the U.S. government.

    Although this is a very enjoyable novel, McBain pushes coincidence a little too hard and the resolution of MONEY, MONEY, MONEY seems to run out of pages rather than being fully developed into a satisfactory solution.

    Three Stars

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