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Readers who like their hard-boiled crime fiction violent and gritty will cheer Harwood's debut. An arrest for domestic battery derailed the acting career of Jack Palms, a one-hit wonder known for his role in the action film Shake 'Em Down, who's been leading a quiet, uneventful and alcohol-free existence in Sausalito, Calif. In need of money, Jack can't resist the offer of an old friend, Ralph Anderino, to help entertain some visiting Czechs "looking for a large chunk of blow." Soon, the ex-actor stumbles on Anderino "lying facedown in his Jacuzzi with a good chunk of his skull missing." To avoid being fingered for the murder, Jack shares what he knows with the cop who arrested him for domestic assault. Jack then decides to play with fire by stepping into Anderino's role to make the coke sale happen. While the plot line may be familiar, the taut prose and fast pacing bode well for future entries in the series. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.