3.72 (2,410 ratings by Goodreads)
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A story of murder and corruption set in Puerto Rico and Atlantic City. Tommy Donovan has a casino in both places. Our cop hero Vincent is convalescing in Puerto Rico after being shot by a mugger. Vincent gets involved with a Puerto Ricon beauty who leaves to work for Donovan in Atlantic more

Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 108 x 178 x 20mm | 180g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • 0140079254
  • 9780140079258

Review Text

Like so many other talented suspense writers - Ross Macdonald, Dick Francis, P. D. James, Ruth Rendell - Leonard has won mainstream acclaim late in his career, with some of his earlier work (e.g., Unknown Man No. 89, 1977) outclassing his recent, much-touted output. And this new serving of downbeat, dark-humored cops-and-killers, though solidly entertaining in its grim San Juan/Atlantic City action, is less distinctive and less involving than several of Leonard's Detroit-based crimescapes. The impassive hero here is Miami cop Vincent Mora (think of East-wood or Bronson with a beard), a 40-ish widower who's recovering from a double-trauma - getting shot, killing a suspect - down in the Puerto Rican sun. Soon, however, Vincent learns that he's being trailed by ex-con Teddy Magyk, a vengeful psycho-rapist determined to destroy his old cop-nemesis. (A little rough-stuff seems to scare Teddy off.) Then, despite Vincent's best meddling efforts, his new San Juan girlfriend Iris - a tough, starry-eyed quasi-hooker - takes off to Atlantic City to become a casino "hostess" at Spade's Boardwalk. And when Iris promptly turns up dead in an A.C. rooftop fall (?), Vincent finds himself sleuthing (unofficially) in the glitzy casino milieu - while psycho Teddy (unbeknownst to Vincent) is also active in the neighborhood. Vincent falls for Iris' roommate, lounge-singer Linda; he connects Iris' death to shady casino goings-on involving the mob, money-laundering, a hoard of stolen rackets cash; he pretends to be a mob hit-man, pretends to be a high-roller, gets briefly seduced by the casino-owner's smart, sexy wife (with a few French bedroom-farce touches). But it's only after a matronly gambler is raped and murdered that Vincent begins to connect some of the Atlantic City mayhem to psycho Teddy. And the novel's final chapters follow Vincent's escalating duels with the elusive, nervy psychopath, who finally dies in a Puerto Rico showdown. . . after all attempts at legal punishment prove futile. An uninspired basic scenario - but Leonard enriches the proceedings with endearing/appalling supporting players, the vividly glitzy/sleazy casino milieu, and sharp dialogue that ranges from ugly-real to off-the-wall whimsical. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

2,410 ratings
3.72 out of 5 stars
5 18% (436)
4 43% (1,039)
3 33% (792)
2 5% (124)
1 1% (19)
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