An almost gripping account of a dental student's rise to a lucrative career: head of Philadelphia's ""Yuppie Conspiracy,"" a multimillion-dollar cocaine ring. As an undergraduate at the Univ. of Pennsylvania in the mid-70's, Larry Lavin and most of his friends got high regularly. Larry joined a boisterous campus fraternity, where an older pal dealt pot in the laidback tradition of keeping himself and his friends supplied. Lavin, hot with entrepreneurial zeal after a summer job in a Converse sneaker factory, naturally slid into the business. In an attempt to build volume, Lavin cultivated contacts, neatly packaged his merchandise, and worked on the phone constantly, scouting out sources, enlisting friends. Lavin entered Penn dental school and, by his second year there, made the slow shift into selling the portable, profitable drug of the moment: cocaine. Lavin's chums, packing huge bundles of cash under their clothes, bought it from Cubans in Florida in multi-kilo units and brought it north, occasionally bumbling into slapstick-style mishaps. Lavin, whose house was raided, eased up day-to-day control, bought a mini. mansion on Philadelphia's Main Line, and sat back to practice dentistry and rake in the cash, until the FBI spoiled the fun. Bowden's Lavin is more stereotypical yuppie than cartoon drug kingpin: He is un. touched by violence, but hopelessly addicted to the bottom line. Full of drag deals as male bonding, wrapped up in the cozy and moral-judgment-blurring haze of sky-high profits, this book has the well-oiled pace of a good read, with the vinegary aftertaste of a cautionary tale.