ATLANTIC CITY PROOF by Christopher Cook Gilmore


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I'm no gangster! . . . I don't have a gun or a gang. I am not violent, nor do I aggress my enemies."" So says boat-loving Garvey Leek, the purest darn rum-runner to haul bootleg gin and rye up onto the New Jersey shore in the heydays of Prohibition. As folksy Garvey tells it, his rags-to-riches story starts out to be a little too effortfully zany--his family lives in an elephant-shaped house just down the coast from Atlantic City, his older sister is a 400-pound Moslem who dances naked on the beach--but things soon settle down into the palatably corny, likable tale of Garvey and his girl vs. both federal agents and gangsters from Chicago. Garvey's girl is a luscious ex-vaudevillian and premature feminist named Minnie Creek (engineer by day, flapper by night) whom he first meets when they're both teenage clam-diggers getting a penny a dozen from a cheapskate wholesaler. They join forces, buy a boat, do their own wholesaling, make good money, then shift into running in booze from ships outside the three-mile limit--financed by a sweetly crooked state senator and aided by an aircraft motor on their huge skiff. But, as for romance, phooey: Minnie's too tough, independent, and lusty for old-fashioned, virginal Garvey. Only when a real crisis arises--the arrival of murderous Fat Al from Chicago, who wants a monopoly on all Atlantic City bootlegging--does true love triumph, after Minnie helps Garvey and his huge sis to bamboozle the out-of-town thugs during a wild night of partying and rum-running. Good-natured, salt-air entertainment, with enough inventive touches (like a crocodile that sings bass in a vaudeville band) to make up for the hokey excesses and the tame predictability of the plot.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Simon & Schuster