Down by the Sea

Bill Kent, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (296p) ISBN 978-0-312-09277-1
Proceeding thematically (and lyrically) from his debut novel, Under the Board walk , Kent's second mystery again follows vice squad detective Louis Monroe through the streets and into the casinos of Atlantic City. Monroe starts by busting a crooked cop delivering drugs in a pizza box. The bust gets him the cold shoulder from the rest of the force, a new partner--the odious Deegen--and an undercover assignment as informer to a department higher-up known as the ``Extraterrestrial.'' As Deeg and Monroe hit the low spots, Monroe tries to arrest every hooker he can find, even one monster of a whore who likes pounding him into the pavement. His mission may be fired by the fact that he's engaged to marry Ellie, a former streetwalker who is now very pregnant with another man's child. Kent's salvo of memorably verbose scenes featuring an endless supply of corrupt cops doesn't quite overpower the two main (if severely understated) mysteries in this cluttered work: Who is Ellie's father? Who is the father of Ellie's child? Once these two secrets are uncovered, readers understand why the target of Monroe's first bust is now a protected federal witness, why the ``Extraterrestrial'' wants the vice cop in his pocket, and why that big hooker likes punching his lights out. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
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