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SHAKEDOWN BEACH by Eric Dezenhall Kirkus Star

SHAKEDOWN BEACH

By Eric Dezenhall

Pub Date: July 7th, 2004
ISBN: 0-312-30772-1
Publisher: Dunne/Minotaur

A New Jersey election depends on which candidate put the body in the pine barrens and the graft in his pocket.

The latest client for Jonah Eastman, the wry, self-deprecating pollster and grandson of Jewish gangster Mickey Price (Jackie Disaster, 2003, etc.), is Governor “Rebound” Rothman, running for the Senate and after staff interns, especially luscious Simone Lava, the former Miss Little Egg Harbor Township, now stashed in an Atlantic City motel. Keeping the lid on the film someone’s making of the couple’s kinky couplings isn’t nearly as tough for Eastman as explaining Rebound’s endorsement of riverboat gambling despite his shady commitments to shadier casino owners. What’s behind the policy shift? What other hidden secrets are making Rebound worried about the election despite his big lead in the polls? And how can Eastman turn it all into anti-Swedish sentiment against Rothman’s snobbish opponent while blackmailers, strong-armed pig farmers, and investigative reporter Barri Embry (a.k.a. Barium Enema) are watching, prying, snooping, and conniving? With the help of cockeyed-aphorism-spouting Chief Willie Thundercloud and nonagenarian Irv the Curve, his grandfather’s “business” partner now resident in the Alter Kocker Arms, Eastman eventually disinters Rebound’s dirty 30-year-old secrets, leaving the Senator-elect at the mercy of the New Jersey electorate.

Dezenhall is the most mordantly funny writer not named Westlake, with an ear for the zinger, a lie detector that makes mincemeat of politicians and spinmeisters, and the ability to plot like Machiavelli.