09/02/1996 at 01:00 AM EDT
by Jon A. Jackson
Beach Book of the Week
IF ELMORE LEONARD WROTE A SCREENPLAY for David Lynch, the result might be a lot like this hard-boiled, darkly humorous tale of wise guys and grifters that sprawls from the Motor City to Montana and back again.
This entry in the much praised "Fang" Mulheisen series finds the Detroit cop on the trail of perennial nemesis Joe Service. Mulheisen wants to question the Mob "fixer" about what appear to be his most recent services: helping Mafia princess Helen Sedlacek take revenge on the rival gangsters who murdered her father—and making off with millions in the process. But Mulheisen is the least of Service's problems. He's trying to outrun a Mob hit woman, mollify his patron "Fat Man" Humphrey DiEbola and elude a gang of very large—and very angry—Tongans.
First-time Jackson readers should relish the fast and funny action as much as old fans, but with an added perk: They get to discover all Jackson's earlier gems. (Atlantic Monthly, $22)