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Hapless, handsome Jack Romaine, a small-time gambler and drinker in 1929 Cincinnati, tracks a mysterious woman who's the key to a hidden fortune in Wimberley's evocative mystery. Hauled before gangster Oliver Bladehorn, Jack is given a simple chore that will cancel his debts: pick up a woman being released from prison who will lead him to the prize in cash and stocks. On a trail rife with cruelty, violence and murder, he finds himself in Tampa, Fla., at Kaleidoscope, a "beddy" where carnies rest between gigs and a place for people who don't fit in anywhere else. Jack goes to work as a "brodie" (a gopher) in the hopes of getting a lead, while trying to avoid the brutal Arno Becker, who's after the same fortune. Best known for his Florida-based Bear Raines series (Pepperfish Keys, etc.), Wimberley invests both Jack and the carnie freaks with distinct personalities and common dignity. This vividly captured subculture has its own grotesque charm and beauty. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.