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Devil's Food (A Loretta Kovacs & Frank Marvelli Novel)
     

Devil's Food (A Loretta Kovacs & Frank Marvelli Novel)

by Anthony Bruno
 

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Loretta Kovacs and Frank Marvelli, from the Parole Violators Search Unit, aka the Jump Squad, are in hot pursuit of Martha Lee Spooner, a legendary embezzler who's jumped bail and headed for Florida. She manages to stay one step ahead of Frank and Loretta, transforming what should have been an easy arrest into a wild roller-coaster ride. Soon enough, Frank and

Overview

Loretta Kovacs and Frank Marvelli, from the Parole Violators Search Unit, aka the Jump Squad, are in hot pursuit of Martha Lee Spooner, a legendary embezzler who's jumped bail and headed for Florida. She manages to stay one step ahead of Frank and Loretta, transforming what should have been an easy arrest into a wild roller-coaster ride. Soon enough, Frank and Loretta realize their jobs are on the line and time is running out. they vow to snag the slippery Spooner if it's the last thing they do.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Has the style, verve, and all-around insouciance of Elmore Leonard."—The Arizona Daily Star

"Devil's Food is good, grainy crime writing, a little bit like New Jersey's answer to Elmore Leonard."—The Advocate (Greenwich, Conn.)

"Like the emponymous dessert, the book is delicious."—Deadly Pleasures (four-star review)

Des Moines Register
Fast-paced action and on-the-mark dialogue.
Arizona Daily Star
Has the style, verve, and all-around insouciance of Elmore Leonard.
Deadly Pleasures
Like the eponymous dessert, the book is delicious.
Advocate
Devil's Food is good, grainy crime writing, a little bit like New Jersey's answer to Elmore Leonard.
Abilene Reporter-News
Ingeniously plotted with quirky but cool characters uttering fast-paced cop-and-felon dialogue....[He's] among today's top authors of crime thrillers.
Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
New Jersey parole officer Loretta Kovacs has seen better times: "I'm fat; I'm single; my career is in the toilet." Once an assistant warden, she's fallen to the bottom rung in the Department of Corrections-the "Jump Squad," which traces and retrieves parole violators. Loretta's boss gives her one week to save her job by finding Martha Lee Spooner, an accomplished money-launderer and all-around grifter, who's skipped. Expert at moving money, Martha Lee is working a big scam against WeightAway, a Florida fat farm. Loretta and her new partner, Frank Marvelli, soon discover that Martha Lee's biker sister-in-law, Ricky, has put out a contract on Martha Lee, who'd ratted on her husband to save her own skin. Loretta and Frank hie off to Florida (Frank reluctantly, since his wife, Rene, is dying of cancer). But by the time they reach WeightAway, Martha Lee has turned the hit man, Torpedo Joe Pickett, into her ally. The IRS is sniffing around the fat farm, and Torpedo Joe is hired by Martha to off a suspected informer. There is no informer at WeightAway, but there is Loretta, who's taking undercover saunas in pursuit of Martha. Complications and plot turns multiply until the final dizzying resolution. Readers will, pardon the expression, eat this up. The plot crackles and so does the dialogue (Frank to an IRS investigator: "You ever hear of 'anal retentive?' It's in the dictionary under 'Fed' "). In Loretta and Frank, Bruno (Bad Apple, etc.) has created characters appealing enough to run for a series.
Kirkus Reviews
With her career in New Jersey's criminal justice system on the skids, Loretta Kovacs gets a new lease on professional life as a tracker of cons on the lam: a divertingly comic entertainment with a bittersweet bite from Bruno (Bad Apple, 1994, etc.).

Having lost her high-profile job as assistant warden at a state penitentiary following a riot during which she was held hostage, chubby Loretta is posted to the Parole Violators' Search Unit, a dumping ground known as the Jump Squad. Unsure whether his latest consignee really belongs there, Julius Monroe, the head of the PVSU, pairs her with Frank Marvelli, an effective skip tracer. Assigned to bring in Martha Lee Spooner, whose talents as a money laundress have attracted the custom of dope-dealing biker gangs, the odd couple grudgingly follow up on a tip that the fugitive is in Florida. Frank doesn't want to leave his wife (who's dying of breast cancer), and Loretta is reluctant to revisit WeightAway, the health spa where Martha Lee is employed as a bookkeeper and where she was a recidivist client. And then in the Sunshine State, Loretta and Frank discover that bringing their quarry back alive could prove tricky. A victim of scams past has dispatched a genial hit man to cancel Martha Lee's check, and an arrogant IRS agent (who has the fat farm's charismatic founder under investigation) wants Martha as a material witness. At the behest of insensitive but kindly Frank, the ever-hungry Loretta goes undercover as a client at the farm. When not fending off the facility's "body Nazis," she's finally able to locate where her loyalties lie—and to precipitate the antic confrontations that not only put the partners on a new footing with each other but allow them to fly home with the elusive Martha Lee in tow.

Fine escapist fare from a pro only a cut or two below the out- of-sight standards set by Carl Hiassen.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812544572
Publisher:
Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
Publication date:
07/15/1998
Series:
Loretta Kovacs Mystery Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.65(d)

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