Dunne, Oct 2003, 24.95, 320 pp.
On the streets of South Philly, “Weight” Wisnitz sells fruits and vegetables out of a truck at cut rate prices. He's been a fixture in the neighborhoods for years so when he suddenly keels over and dies, one of his regular customers thinks enough of him to call obituary writer Shep Ladderbook of the Philadelphia Press. Shep writes a nice obituary for the colorful man who made an impact so many lives.
A few days later, Ladderback's assistant, Andy Casicki is eating lunch with her mother at the upscale restaurant Loup-Garou when a famous restaurant critic keels over in the same manner as Wisnitz. Andy and Ladderback learn that there have been similar deaths in the city, which raises the obituary writer's curiosity. He investigates the deaths and learns that they lead back to a free clinic, an ambulance company that is always late delivering the bodies, and a generic drug company ready to go public.
STREET HUNGRY is a fascinating who-done-it with so many interrelated sub-plots that is takes the full length of the novel to finally understand how they are linked. The protagonist, a man who has been on top at the paper game for four decades, is a likable character whose contacts developed over forty years allow him to track a story back to its source. Bill Kent looks at the seamier side of life and turns it into a gritty and dark expose of the human condition.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner