Even though they're married now, there's no happy ending for Atlantic City Officer Louis Monroe and his wife, ex-hooker Ellie. Monroe, struggling to come back from the savage beating he took at the end of Down By the Sea (1993) and the guilt he feels over how he stopped that beating, is resolved to stop the crooked developers who are trying to extract seed money for the proposed Miracle Mile project from drug kingpin Pieto Soladias. It's a resolve that puts him on a collision course with Ellie, who's now, like the town itself, determined to hide her nasty secrets in order to preserve her new status (executive marketing director at the Alcazar Casino), which depends on gambling. Impossibly straight-arrow Monroe saves Soladias from getting killed by loose-cannon cop Jack (Fu Man) Chou, fends off the amorous advances of Mrs. Fu Man, and protects a Soladias gofer from getting seriously shot by an impound lot super with an attitude- -all the while listening dutifully as his bosses tell him what dirty deals he'll have to cut to get back on the force instead of being pensioned off into oblivion by the police department and the wife he loves. Kent prophesies like the veteran journalist he is and plots as if he's never forgotten Raymond Chandler's rule that a good novel is a novel full of good scenes. The best installment yet in this fine, underrated series.