FORCED ENTRY by Stephen Solomita


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A third and relatively tired outing for Solomita's streetwise Stanley Moodrow, who's turned in his NYPD gold shield for a gumshoe's plastic. Here, the ever-crusading Moodrow takes on venal landlords--but in Queens, not in Manhattan's Lower East Side that Solomita's mapped with such snap and grit in his standout urban crime thrillers, A Twist of the Knife (1988) and Force of Nature (1989). Jackson Heights, Queens: a quiet, middle-class, racially mixed community, microcosmed in the large Jackson Arms apartment building, now rent-stabilized but worth tens of millions should it go co-op. Enter Irish mobster Marry Blanks and sexually depraved Donald Trump-wannabe Marek Najowski, who buy the building behind a corp. orate screen and deploy an army of miscreants to drive out the tenants. But the whores, crack-dealers, and junkies who suddenly run amok in the Jackson Arms simply impire the tenants to organize--into a group led by feisty old Sylvia Kaufman, who happens to be the aunt of Legal Aid lawyer Betty Haluka, Moodrow's new girlfriend. As a favor to Betty, Moodrow attends a few tenants' meetings, cracks a few heads, and seems to have the slime on the run--until an arsonist sets a fire that kills Aunt Sylvia. Enraged, Moodrow declares war on the anonymous landlords, menacing their underlings until Blanks orders him killed. But the hit mushrooms into a bloodbath that leaves the assassins and two innocents dead, cops standing guard over the Jackson Arms, and Mood. row madder than ever--although not quite as mad as Najowski. . . Like Moodrow, this emotionally strained, overplotted tale, despite Goya-sharp villains and some razor-edged sex and violence, smacks of formula and sorely misses the fertile stink and steam of Gotham's meanest streets; Solomita should send Moodrow, and his own talented pen, back to the Lower East Side.

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 1990
Publisher: Putnam