EPITAPH FOR A LOSER by James T. Doyle

EPITAPH FOR A LOSER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ex-cop turned Tampa p.i. Paul Broder--a likable Marlowe clone--is visited in the dead of night by old friend Norm Colquist, on the run, he says, from Manny Diaz' boys and huge gambling debts. Norm needs a gun, some money, and a ride to the bus station, as well as Broder's promise to look after his sister--Broder's ex-wife--Margaret, now married to accountant Harold Talent, who refused Norm help. Broder agrees to all but the gun and soon receives a police visit: Norm forgot to mention that he was leaving his girlfriend Elinor Garcia in his apartment with five slugs in her. Then Margaret calls: Will Paul prove Norm's not a murderer? He will, but first the cops inform him that the Mob ran Norm down and he's been pulled out of the river badly decomposed. Before the close, Broder's quest will include: a work-over by incipient Mob honcho Tony Alvera; a visit to Ray Diggs' laundromat, where, appropriately, the Mob launders its money (Ray's soon dead, again five slugs); a meeting with Norm's Gamblers' Anonymous pal, who swears Norm hadn't placed a bet in over a year; several run-ins with Margaret's husband, who kept three sets of books for Ray's laundry--one for the I.R.S., one for the Mob, and another for himself; and a trip to Mexico to confront--Norm. Neatly plotted, with bittersweet marital byplay and believable Mob machinations. Not as flinty as the author's Deadly Resurrection (1987) but certainly readable.

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1988
Publisher: Walker