Del Plato is a Fort Lauderdale squad-car cop--separated, lonely, on the take, very confused as to exactly what's required for success: ""He wanted to know how to cook noodles so they didn't stick to the bottom of the pot. The basics, the very principles of human existence, he wanted them. The privilege to be on the guest list, and to get thirty-five miles per gallon, and to know somebody with tickets on the fifty-yard line."" And Del's current money-making endeavor--shaking down bookies--doesn't seem to promise much. So he works and works at persuading his partner, Jewboy Breed, to think bigger: to go in for a jai-alai fronton robbery with the help of Joe Hooven--a vain, spacey, long-haired hustler. Breed is skeptical, hates Hooven. Yet eventually the caper does come off, with a kind of negligent success that's somehow in keeping with Del's whole almost-but-not-quite sort of lire. And once the robbery gets underway, Koperwas (Westchester Bull, Hot Stuff) does generate a little action, a little suspense, some solid studies of characters under pressure. Unfortunately, however, most of the novel is pre-caper--as Koperwas, in the manner of a hip magazine-journalist, presents the lifestyles of Del, Breed, Hooven, and Del's estranged wife: sweet/sour facts that add up to a repetitious catalogue of modern American malaise, mostly in proper nouns. (""Del had been sleeping in a room he rented by the week, next door to a couple who listened to 'Stairway to Heaven' at 6:57 every morning, and he was spending all his free time along with his gas money in the Pillow Talk Bar and Lounge across the street, where he are Cheez Doodles and drank Michelob on tap, watching the Atlanta Hawks on cable out of West Palm."") And the result, like the similar but considerably more comical Hot Stuff, is a sporadically lively seedy-caper novel--with vague sociological pretensions that overshadow the thrills while never amounting to much in themselves.