From Publishers Weekly
A cranky fat woman and her hunky partner in the New Jersey Bureau of Parole's "Jump Squad" (those who track down cons who "jump" parole) are an unlikely pair nonetheless ripe for comic plotting as Bruno proved in their first well-received outing, Devil's Food (1997). Fans of Loretta Kovacs and Frank Marvelli may be disappointed in the follow-up, though nifty plot twists and Bruno's clutch of kinky bit players still make it worth the read. The duo is off to coffee-rich Seattle to reel in Frankie's brother-in-law, Sammy, a parole violator who's working as a hit man, and the formidable Loretta grows nearly homicidal while she tries to kick caffeine. What almost saves this Dilbert-esque conceit is the crime-novel set-up. Sammy's target is a federal witness against loathsome mobster Taffy Demaggio; slender, blonde, diet pill-popping FBI agent Veronica Springer wants the hit to happen so Taffy will flip on bigger fish. Frank calls in a debt from another FBI agent to find a secret witness-stashing compound in Puget Sound, and the pair spring the hit man, avoid the feebs and get tangled with Sammy and Taffy in ways the reader won't see coming. The resolution works, and budding romance points to new ground for the series ahead. The coffee gimmick grows quickly tiresome, and some of the humor falls flat, but there's enough good writing to justify hope for an improved third caper. (Aug.) FYI: Devil's Food will be released by Forge as a mass market paperback in July.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Loretta Kovacs, demoted to parole officer from assistant prison warden after a riot, is paired with fellow officer Frank Marvelli on a road trip from New Jersey to Seattle, where they must find hit man Sammy Teitlebaum before he can off Mob snitch Gus Rispoli, ensconced in the witness protection program. While carrying out his contract on Rispoli, Sammy hopes to rekindle romance with his ex-wife, Jennifer, who happens to be Marvelli's sister. Frank and Loretta are the classic mismatched cop buddies. He's all machismo and instinct; she's all civil servant and caution. Bruno folds in the Mob, two freelance psychotics with recurring roles in Loretta's nightmares, a bent female Fed whose ambition has twisted her perspective, and Rispoli, a killer who wants to go one-on-one with his hired assassin, for a cast of kooky, dangerous characters worthy of Elmore Leonard or Carl Hiaasen. Building on the promise of the first Kovacs-Marvelli caper, Devil's Food
, this is a funny, often harrowing crime novel. Wes Lukowsky