The New Jersey Jump Squad’s Loretta Kovacs and Frank Marvelli (Double Espresso, 1999) take time off from chasing parole violators to chasing each other, going from stakeout to make out in the department’s Chevy Cavalier. Zaftig Loretta is in seventh heaven: Frank seems to love her even more than his chain-nosh, Arnie and Barry’s Elmer Fudge Whirl. Unfortunately, though, while Loretta can compete with super-premium ice cream, she’s not so sure of her advantage over Frank’s supersexy ex-partner Elvissa Mylowe. So when Vissa hijacks Frank to California to help her corral Ira Krupnick, a jumper who took a powder on them ten years back, Loretta hops a plane to the Coast to keep tabs on her man and his mantrap. Fresh off the plane, she runs into sweet, dim Dorie Utley, a former inmate who remembers the former Warden Kovacs with fondness. So while Frank fends off Vissa’s knowing looks and restless hands, Loretta camps out at Dorie’s palatial digs with her ice-cream mogul husband Barry, her lover (and Barry’s eponymous partner) Arnie, their dominatrix Sunny, and Sunny’s Rottweiler/Shar-pei Dragon. With Frank working the case and Loretta keeping tabs on all that Elmer Fudge Whirl, they’d stand a better chance of tracking down Krupnick if, like the Hardy Boys, they just didn’t keep wondering what could be on the other side of that door, then plunging ahead into peril.
A brisk, sunny love story, marred by some monumentally bad decision-making by sleuths whose judgment seems impaired even by the standards of the comic-crime genre and the state of New Jersey.