Leonard, Elmore. Glitz.

NY: Arbor House, 1985.

Vincent Mora is a Miami Beach police lieutenant currently on medical leave (he got shot in the hip by a would-be mugger who died in the ambulance) and he’s doing it in San Juan, Puerto Rico — living cheap, lounging on the beach, and chatting with a particularly pretty young semi-hooker. Unfortunately, Teddy Magyk knows he’s there, too.

Teddy is a not-very-bright psychopathic rapist whom Vincent sent up eight years ago and now he’s out and looking for revenge. He figures he’ll play around with the cop for awhile, get him good and nervous, then shoot him. Teddy has no idea who he’s dealing with.

Meanwhile, the young girl, Iris, is trying to find a way to get to the States in search of fame and fortune and thinks she’s found it when Tommy Donovan, owner of a large casino in San Juan, decides to take her to Atlantic City as a hostess — whatever that means. Vincent doesn’t like it, and he doesn’t trust Donovan, but Iris is a big girl and is entitled to make her own decisions. And then word reaches him from the Atlantic City police that Iris has taken a dive off a tall apartment building, and Vincent is on his way to find out what happened and who’s responsible.

As always, Leonard’s characters are fascinating and fully-formed and his overlapping plots are engaging. There’s Jackie Garbo, Tommy’s casino boss in Atlantic City, who has gotten himself involved with the Columbians, and there’s Tommy’s wife, Nancy, who is much smarter and more cold-blooded than either Tommy or Jackie. There’s Linda, the bar pianist at the Puerto Rican casino and then in Atlantic City, whose life intersects with Vincent’s in ways that are interesting for both of them. And there’s Ricky Catalina, scion of one of the South Philly capos and a very dangerous young man — but he’s never dealt with anyone like Vincent before, either. And, of course, there’s Teddy, also now in Atlantic City, tailing Vincent around with a gun in his pocket and looking for an opportunity.

This isn’t great literature but it’s first-rate crime fiction by one of its most talented purveyors in English. Keep your Bloody Marys handy and enjoy.

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Published in: on 26 February 2014 at 5:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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