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Devil's Food: A Novel Hardcover – February 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Forge; 1st edition (February 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312859902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312859909
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,508,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Loretta Kovacs is at the bottom of the law enforcement food chain, tracking down parole violators. On the trail of a money laundering grifter, she winds up at a Florida fat farm where the Internal Revenue Service and a mob enforcer join her in the hunt. With a plot that twists and crackles with surprising energy, Anthony Bruno turns this overworked material into a wonderfully dark comic thriller. Here's a writer to watch.

From Booklist

Once an assistant prison warden, Loretta Kovacs is two degrees of stress away from burnout. With her career virtually destroyed after she was held hostage by rioting prisoners, she's starting over with the New Jersey "Jump Unit." She and her partner, veteran Frank Marvelli, nab parole jumpers. Their first assignment is Martha Lee Spooner, an embezzler who stole from a gang of biker drug dealers while she was ostensibly laundering their ill-gotten gains. By the time Kovacs and Marvelli track Spooner to Florida, the bikers are there, too. The IRS also wants a piece of Spooner, leaving Loretta and Frank wedged between two competitors, one wanting to give Spooner freedom in exchange for information, the other eager to kill her. Taking a break here from his Blood series featuring NYPD detectives Gibbons and Tozzi, the always-entertaining Bruno introduces another mismatched but devoted pair dedicated to bringing the bad guys to justice. Packed with humor, great dialogue, and real people on both sides of the law, this looks like a winner. Wes Lukowsky

More About the Author

Anthony Bruno is the author of the non-fiction books, THE ICEMAN: THE TRUE STORY OF A COLD-BLOODED KILLER and co-author of THE SEEKERS: A BOUNTY HUNTER'S STORY with Joshua Armstrong, which was nominated for an Edgar Award. IMMORTAL MONSTER is a Crimescape Kindle Single about his experiences with hitman Richard "Iceman" Kuklinski. THE ROPPONGI STALKER chronicles the hunt for a homicidal sexual deviant in modern Tokyo.

Bruno is also the author of the crime novels SEVEN (based on the Brad Pitt-Morgan Freeman movie), BAD GUYS, BAD BLOOD, BAD LUCK, BAD BUSINESS, BAD MOON, BAD APPLE, DEVIL'S FOOD (which was nominated for an Anthony Award), DOUBLE ESPRESSO, and HOT FUDGE.

His serial-killer thriller, BLEEDERS, and Catholic-school coming-of-age novel, THE TEMPTATIONS OF ST. FRANK, are Kindle originals.

Customer Reviews

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  • "Funny" 7
  • "Writing" 5
  • "Characters" 4
  • "Action" 4
  • "Suspense" 1
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 2, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wow, I thought with the 5 star reviews that I would love this book. I was wrong-I hated it. I am not hard to please when it comes to fiction and will generally overlook many flaws in a book. However, the main characters in this book are just horrible, terrible people! You have a slightly overweight woman who is not just caustic and mean to the people she deals with-she is caustic and mean in her own personal thoughts also.
I believe the author wants us to feel sorry for her because she has a weight problem. However, it is hard to do so when she complains about every possible avenue of help she tries for the problem. Previously, she went to a weight camp and all she did was fight and complain that she didn't get results when she refused to do anything they asked her to. This lady even pauses in the middle of a fight to eat an eclair! Really?!? Loretta-people don't hate you because you are overweight, they hate you because you are a terrible human being who whines and complains and actually keeps thinking of sleeping with a man who's wife is dying of cancer!
And Marvelli isn't much better-he is thinking the same thing! I really like to cheer for the heroes in the books I read but I was hoping both of them would get offed about half way through. The only character that had any humanity was the probation violator they were hunting for. And she didn't have much!
I did finish the book-I kept hoping it would get better. It did not. After freshly burying the wife he professes to love, Marvelli is looking at Loretta as a possible substitute. Are people really that cold? If they are, I really don't want them as the hero in a book I am reading.
That said; the book was well edited and the author wrote with an easy to read, flowing style. The two stars are for his writing style but, unfortunately, not for the content.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By katherine tomlinson on April 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Anthony Bruno's novel, two members of the New Jersey "jump squad" track a parole violator to Florida where an IRS agent and a murderous bike are competing to grab her.

For Loretta Kovacs, working on the Parole Violation Search Unit (aka "the Jump Squad") is the last rung on the ladder taking her career in law enforcement to the bottom. She's 34 years old, she's fat and she's single, and she constantly has to fight a voice in her head that constantly reminds her of all of those things. Things began to go bad for Loretta at Pinebrook Women's Correctional Facility where Loretta was working as an assistant warden when she ended up being taken hostage by a psycho drug dealer serving life for murder. Loretta still has flashbacks about her treatment at the hands of Brenda Montgomery. If she can't make this job with the Jump Squad work, Loretta is afraid she's going to have to admit to her disapproving father that she should have gone to law school as he wanted her to. Paired up with sexy partner Frank Marvella (shades of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series), Loretta has one week to retrieve parole violater Martha Lee Spooner .

Right about the time Loretta is wondering if Frank Marvelli sleeps in the nude, most readers are going to lose sympathy with her. We can believe he looks pretty tasty to her, despite what she describes as his "greaseball" hairstyle, but it's clear to everyone that while he appreciates her thick attractiveness, he's in love with his dying wife

Bruno is a versatile writer who's written biographies of criminals and several different series, several of them with women at the center. His female characters here feel exaggerated. They think about sex a lot.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Babs on November 30, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's wacky! It's wild! It makes you hungry! It makes you laugh out loud! And it even tugs at your heart strings!
Join in the fun as chunky Loretta(one tough mama with 'tude) and greaseball Frankie(sexy, sensitive, vulnerable, and Italian!) race to a fat farm to bring back a parole violating gal.
What makes this such a great hilarious book is the characters. All oddballs.
And kudos to the author for dealing straightforwardly with such issues as obesity and dying.
It's a fast read and romp. Pick it up. You won't be disappointed. After all, who can not break into squeals of laughter when the the female lead refers to her partner as a "slaphappy chipmunk."
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Two things especially work to make Devil's Food standout in the genre mastered by Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiassen. They are the novel's food oriented humor and its food obsessed heroine. No chapter is complete without food references, which range from catalogs of high cholesterol munchies to satirical jabs at the tiny, tasteless portions served to the hungry dieters at a fat farm. Anthony Bruno, the author, is especially good at caricature. He manages the difficult feat of making believable and hilarious such characters as the hunted, calculating parole violator, her sidekick motorcycle hit man, and her unctious, hypocrital boss, the head of the fat farm. This book would be a ten were it not for the teary, dreary sub-plot stuff about the heroine's partner and his dying wife
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. S. Jennings on March 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I liked the book but did not love it. It has a marked similarity to Stephanie Plum mysteries but not as funny as they are. I chuckled during my reading of this book. I laugh till the tears run down my cheeks in a Stephanie Plum Mystery. If the author had named the male part of this team a different name I would have liked it better. It was just too close to Morelli. Made you think of the other, better books immediately. Really wasn't fair to the characters. Still the potential for real fun was there. I may well read book two to see if it is more developed in that book. Not all bad not all good. Bears a second look.
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