July 30, 1984 12:00 PM

by William Diehl

Dunetown, the locale of this novel, is a racetrack city on the Atlantic Ocean. Jake Kilmer, an agent for the Federal Racket Squad, blows into town trailing a Mafia chief. A local lawman named Dutch leads a group of renegade cops, the hooligans of the title, and Jake joins them to clean up the place. By page 13, eight characters have met violent deaths. Diehl, a member of the William (The Exorcist) Blatty School of Excessive Writing, is the author of Sharky’s Machine (a Burt Reynolds film) and Chameleon. On page 57, Jake drinks a cup of coffee that is “strong enough to swim the English Channel.” Can coffee swim? Can the reader persist? Probably not. (Villard Books, $15.95)

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