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We ain't sirs, we're cops!"" Sgt. Herman Stubbs tells powerbroker Angus Wilson's snooty butler. Correct. To be precise, Fatty Stubbs and his partner, Lt. Bill Griffin, are pastiche cops from the glory days before the Miranda ruling changed the way cops did business. So when Wilson demands vengeance for his murdered daughter Kathy, Fatty and Griff, officers of the law in a town Griff calls Bay City (the only touch of Chandler in sight), are happy to oblige, bullying witnesses who saw the razor-wielding killer, leaning on working girls who knew another of his victims, and going into every showdown (there are many) with weapons drawn. They'll need all the firepower they can get, not only because their prey--Kathy's scheming boss and sometime date Henry Armitage and his sinister bodyguard Gando Jarmandeu--are armed and dangerous, but because, absent the customary niceties of morality and stylistics, there's not much to do in Bay City but bang bang bang. The nonstop action is interrupted only by occasional epiphanies (one mobster is so tough that ""death was his friend, his confidant, maybe even his lover"") that make Mickey Spillane look like Plato. When all the characters but Fatty and Griff are dead, first-novelist Lovisi gears down for two short stories--an underplotted vignette about some nasty decapitations, and a fitfully amusing look at somebody who's kidnapping department-store Santas--which, like his main course, remind you what a long way the hardboiled detective has come since Carroll John Daly.

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 1997
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Do-Not/Dufour