Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Review: Ed McBain, Big Man (1959)

A direct descendant of W. R. Burnett's
Little Caesar (1929), Ed McBain's Big Man tells the story of Frankie Taglio, a young man in New York who falls in with the wrong crowd (or right crowd, depending on your point of view) and soon finds himself a career mobster. Frankie's rise through the mob hierarchy is somewhat difficult to explain: There are strangely few gangsters between him and the top, and Frankie doesn't seem to have much going for him other than a bit of intelligence and the willingness to use a gun. (Then again, maybe that's all any gangster really needs.) Big Man has a fair amount of action, but its drama is driven less by the crimes that Frankie commits than by the changes in his character as he ascends the mob ladder. Grade: B


  1. You can't go wrong with an Ed McBain novel.

  2. I have yet to read any of the Evan Hunter books published under his pseudonyms other than Ed McBain - I think there were about half a dozen 'Richard Marsten' novels and I think this was reprinted as by 'McBain' in the UK in the late 70s - and as George says whatever the name, the books were always worth a read. Thanks.