Hot Fudge

Anthony Bruno, Author Forge $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-86651-8
A trio of detectives chase a corrupt ice cream magnate from New Jersey to San Francisco in Bruno's third adventure featuring New Jersey Jump Squad partners Loretta Kovacs and Frank Marvelli. Kovacs and Marvelli quickly couple up as the story opens, but their romantic union is immediately threatened by the presence of the gorgeous Evissa Mylowe, a fellow officer whose history with Marvelli comes into play when the two are assigned to a case. That case involves Ira Krupnick, a former player in the drug trade who skips bail after a series of violations and heads off to San Francisco, leaving Marvelli and Mylowe to track him down, with a jealous Kovacs hot on their heels. The investigation focuses on Krupnick's new identity as part-owner of an ice cream company, a Ben & Jerry's-style outfit whose showcase flavor features a suspiciously addictive secret ingredient. But much of the investigation is a flimsy excuse for a nonstop series of flirtations involving the romantic triangle of Kovacs, Marvelli and Mylowe, with a side dose of sexual shenanigans starring Krupnick's bisexual girlfriend and his other libidinous interest, a Chinese dominatrix who imprisons Marvelli in her dungeon. Psychopath Krupnick's edgy life as a career criminal lends the novel a hint of grit, but the silliness of the story line makes it tough to take seriously his efforts to kill the three detectives. The book's strength is the chemistry between Kovacs and Marvelli, and Bruno uses his flair for lascivious scenes and wisecracking dialogue to milk their relationship whenever possible. His fast-moving prose style makes for an easy read, but the sugary, cotton-candy plot keeps this title in the category of light summer novelty. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
Paperback - 287 pages - 978-0-312-87590-9
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