HELL BENT by Ken Gross


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 Once upon a time, retired New York cop Jack Mann (Rough Justice, 1991; A Fine Line, 1989) and IRA fellow-traveler Nora Burns had a chance to help themselves to $3 million of Mafia money. Now the mob- -unimpressed that Nora's used the money to run an orphanage for victims of Irish violence--comes after the money, setting off a deadly game of chases and betrayals. Using his sick old partner Moe Berger to flush Jack out of Ireland, mob cops Vinnie Manero and Rocco Valone plan to kidnap Nora's son Seamus to force her to give up the loot. But Jack chases back just in time to barge in on the kidnapping, turning it into a murder that leaves Nora coldly bent on avenging Seamus by using her brother Michael, an IRA assassin hiding in New York, to get at Don Daniello Iennello, the capo who's after the money. Michael, meanwhile, has ideas of his own: He's using Don Daniello's help in his plan to kill everybody at the Academy Awards banquet at the Waldorf. So as the mob and the Garda--the two crooked Manhattan cops joined by Inspector Timothy McCormick and Officer Mattie Nolan, two visiting Irish cops, for a total of four rogue officers all out to get each other--bear down on Nora, she's hounding Michael to help her get a clear shot at the big guy, and wondering whether Michael isn't out to get her as well. The only flaw in this intricate weave of counterplots is that top plotting honors go to stolid Jack and his invincibly cute weather- forecaster lover Bonnie Hudson (``Hey, it's only weather''), who improbably manage to foil all the plotters who haven't killed each other off before the climax. First-rate melodrama, with just enough resonance to make you see how far out past their depth Jack and Bonnie are.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-312-85304-1
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1992


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