YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR by Larry Beinhart
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Witty, crafty, smart, and even better written than its predecessor, No One Rides for Free, which won an Edgar as best first mystery in 1986. Here, private eye Tony Cassella is hired by his landlord to prove that Samuel N. Bergman has been illegally subletting his rent-controlled Brooklyn apartment for years. Very simple, and not nearly as interesting as Tony's other case--getting the unexpurgated grand-jury testimony in the matter of the US vs. Randolph L. Gunderson, the (maybe) mob-connected Attorney General, and delivering it to Des Kennel, political scandal-monger for WFUX. Soon, however, the stories overlap, and Gunderson is indictable if not convictable of real-estate shenanigans featuring buying low, reselling high, arson, murder, tie-ins to Santino ""The Wrecker"" Scorcese, etc. Also sleuthing: Tony's mom's beau, Guido the priest, Santino's family confessor, who schlepps to Dannemore to get Santino's help for Tony. A deal is cut--if they find Fat Freddy Ventana and Frank Felacco, who hit his son Arthur, Santino will squeal on Gunderson. Santino will eventually renege on his part of the deal, but Tony does finally get the goods on Gunderson--after tracking down a crooked arson-inspector to a wacko Bible community, where the saved-again man confesses to save his eternal soul. Two more turnabouts, however, stymy Tony: an IRS audit and the real motive of congressman John Straightman, who initiated the Gunderson case as a trade-off. But Tony won't play ball; turns the evidence over to the new candidate for Brooklyn D.A.; and Gunderson resigns. Case closed. Religion, politics, power games, love, friendships, morals, ethics and trends--all explored with pungent humor. A masterly novel.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1988
Publisher: Morrow