The revival of black pulp fiction no doubt explains the release of this previously unpublished work, written in 1978 by the notorious pimp-turned-poet of the streets (hustler name of Robert Beck, d.1992). Best known for his pulp classics, Trick Baby, Pimp, and Death Wish, Slim offers more of the same gritty world here in an inept plot and overwrought style. To further exploit the gangsta— rap connection, Ice T (his own name an homage to Slim) was enlisted to introduce the volume; his laughable justification for criminality, his celebration of Slim’s authenticity (—a true player—), and his claim that Slim is some sort of moral exemplar for kids—well, you don—t have to be William Bennett to find it rather disingenuous. And the proof , of course, is in this mess of a book that piles hard-luck story on top of hard-luck story, and flies through time without a care. One sleazy character after another—hustlers, pimps, prostitutes, junkies—enters the tale at the oddest moments, without regard for narrative coherence, though there is a unifying thread: the story of Joe —Kong— Allen, a pug-ugly prizefighter whose love of a beautiful neighbor leads to his eventual troubles and death. Episodic to a fault, the novel, set in South Los Angeles, pits good- hearted Joe against his first rival, the dandified, multiracial Melvin Steinberg, a —chippie crazy humper— who eventually spurns the pregnant Reba, love of Joe’s life and herself the daughter of a nympho Creole woman and a card-shark transvestite. Wild subplots, meanwhile, are peopled by equally wild characters: Whispering Slim, a pimp with rhyming jive; the Rev. Felix, a child preacher who grows up to be a bisexual swinger and embezzler; and Roxie Johnson, the blond teenaged hooker whose seductions lead to Melvin’s murderous revenge. Slim tricks up his prose with patches of low-grade porn: his lame melodramatics are as offensive as his degrading view of women everywhere on display here.