A plot to sabotage New Zealand's entry in the America's Cup regatta forms the premise for Wambaugh's latest police thriller, a slow-moving affair that nonetheless features the author's usual rough-and-tumble prose as well as an intriguing examination of both aquatic police work and the world of competitive yachting. The prime conspirator is Ambrose Lutterworth, the ""Keeper of the Cup,"" an aging real estate agent and yachting enthusiast. Ambrose hopes to prevent the trophy from leaving its temporary home at the San Diego Yacht Club by using expensive call girl Blaze Duvall to coerce the city's harbor crane operator into damaging the powerful New Zealand boat in dry dock, ensuring an American victory. Blaze's conspicuous trail is picked up by a pair of harbor cops, Fortney and Leeds, who receive some vital assistance from a couple of vice cops. Wambaugh takes too long to develop Lutterworth's unimaginative scheme and to link an eventual murder to the posh world of the America's Cup. The sparks fly, however, when the sabotage plan unravels and an attempted blackmail results in another murder. The author's trademark sardonic writing is in full force here, and the police material is, as always, authentic, with the harbor cops' antics particularly entertaining. This may not be Wambaugh's high water mark, but it's not his low tide, either. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1996 Release date: 05/01/1996 Genre: Fiction
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