On a Blanket with My Baby: A Novel of Atlantic City

Bill Kent, Author
Bill Kent, Author St. Martin's Press $21 (275p) ISBN 978-0-312-11870-9
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There's surely a good novel somewhere in the dark underbelly of Atlantic City, but this isn't it. Young, straight-arrow cop Louis Monroe, seen before in Down By the Sea, is severely beaten by some of the city's sleazier underworld figures. Then Councilman Harry ``the Toad'' Todesco, a corrupt pol who's afraid that Louis may recall the nasty secrets the beating was meant to make him forget, gets the plucky pint-sized (5'2"") hero suspended. While Louis aims to get his job back, his wife, Ellie, an ex-prostitute moving up the corporate casino ladder and the daughter of Louis's department mentor, is growing distant (and maybe sleeping with her boss). Louis derives platonic support from the Toad's daughter, Beth, who drives a tow truck. Together, they're instrumental in earning the gratitude of a truly crude drug kingpin, who is the chief financial backer of a developer favored by the casinos and pols. The action scenes, indoors and out, are mostly leaden; the corruption is standard variety; and, after the plot's overly ornate permutations, the ending is sappy. (Apr.)
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