A respectable citizen trips on a store escalator. On cue, Cadillacs start disappearing from lots all over San Francisco, as a team of scam artists use pure criminal genius to do one California bank out of $1.3 million of Detroit's finest.
The bank hires Daniel Kearny Associates to get the cars back, and soon Kearny's team discover what they're up against: Gypsies. Dangerous charmers, they are one nation united in street crime. The escalator fall has mortally wounded their beloved King, and they're planning to attend his funeral Cadillac-style. And the action won't let up until both repo-men and Gypsies reach the dying Gypsy King - and the biggest scam of all.
A versatile crime writer and winner of Edgars in three categories (short story, novel and TV screenplay), Gores deserves a big breakthrough novel, and this might well be it. This fourth book (after Gone, No Forwarding ) in his series about Daniel Kearney Associates, a San Francisco private investigation firm specializing in auto repossession, displays his skill in managing a large cast and a variety of subplots; Gores's own experiences in a firm very much like DKA lend an air of verisimilitude to the often-hilarious goings-on. As the King of the Gypsies lies near death after a fall, San Francisco gypsies defraud Bay Area Cadillac dealers out of 31 vehicles in a single day. The meat of the story concerns the recovery of these cars plus a 32nd Cadillac, a pink 1958 convertible in which the king has said he would like to be buried. Gores provides lots of authentic gypsy lore and often induces readers to cheer the bad guys, since, like all successful con artists, the gypsies prey on their victims' venality and stupidity. Good fun all around, capped by a neat, unexpected ending. ( Dec. )