Dead Heat

Arhtur F. Nehrbass, Author, Arthur F. Nehrbass, Author Dutton Books $19.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-525-93664-0

The latest from the author of Dead Easy is kneecapped by its own reach for authenticity. After opening with a mob hit and a catalogue of made guys, Nehrbass introduces New York City mobster Vincent Strollo, who is sent to Miami to reduce the heat and to scout out new opportunities for the family, which is under pressure from a federal investigation. On Strollo's case is federal agent Al Lawrence, who is also battling ambitious, trigger-happy subordinates eager for high-tech drug busts. In Miami, Strollo buys the house his wife likes, beds the real estate agent and sniffs opportunity in a construction swindle with an ambitious lawyer who likes rubbing Armani-clad shoulders with mobsters and an executive with big debts and a compounding vig. But up north the family isn't totally happy with Strollo; then his new bedmate turns informant for the feds. Nehrbass knows his territory (we even learn how to recognize fake bearer bonds), and he delivers an atmospheric mob milieu, with anguished hit men and sotto voce deals done in dark dining rooms over plates of rich pasta. But the cat-and-mouse moves of Lawrence and Strollo aren't convincing enough to carry the reader through the morass of details. (Apr.)
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