ONDINE by Charles Kozloff


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Cheating and mobstering in the gambling-glittered Atlantic City of the near future--where Tim Seagurt has just been sent to be new casino manager at the swank Ondine hotel. Tim works hard to weed out the thieving dealers and their accomplices: he uses a computer as well as the usual TV cameras to figure out which tables are turning in lower profits than they should. But it takes him the whole book to find out that the really big stealing is being done after the cash is collected (by the hotel manager). And his clean-up efforts run afoul of two unscrupulous Atlantic City forces: a black mayoral candidate who demands payoffs in exchange for support of legalized gambling (which has done the black residential community little good); and the Mob, of course, which becomes enraged when Tim expels a mob-connected player--and especially when Tim's bodyguard, a wild Vietnamese, gets tough with local mobsters. Some gory back-and-forth vendettas ensue (hands cut off, castration), and eventually there are shoot-outs and chases while Tim struggles to keep the Ondine casino open against all odds. He does this with the aid of semi-estranged wife Caro, an artist who's annoyed by Tim's new job but doesn't know about his extramarital jollies, which include drugging a teenage girl (and including her in a threesome). Unlikable hero, listlessly mechanical sex (""He manipulated her clit while she held onto his dick""), routine violence--familiar melodramatics with some marginal appeal (the casino detail) to gambling buffs.

Pub Date: March 28th, 1980
Publisher: St. Martin's