Dunne, Oct 2002, 23.95, 304 pp.
Upon graduating from the U of Penn with a journalism degree, former basketball star Andrea “Andy” Cosicki tries to obtain work with local newspapers, but is ignored until her father Benjamin “Benny Lunch” gets her a position with the tabloid Philadelphia Press. Her boss makes it clear that he does not want her, but has no choice as obviously the owners owed Benny Lunch for fixing something. So he assigns Andy the impossible column of Mr. Action problem solver for readers and to assist Shep Ladderbook the obit writer.
Almost immediately following her employment, the police find the body of Benny Lunch in the basement of the burned out Straight Up club. No one knows why he went there, but the death is ruled an accident. When thugs invade her home looking for something that Benny Lunch possessed, Andy wonders if someone killed him over a deal he arranged or that item not found so far. With the help of Ladderbook, who provides newspaper cover and leads, she begins to investigate.
STREET MONEY is an entertaining read that combines elements of an amateur sleuth with a professional investigation. The story line focuses on Andy, as a rookie just starting out so that her actions feel like an amateur sleuth yet because of Ladderbook providing guidance her effort is also professional. Andy makes the tale work as a modern woman not ashamed of being over six feet tall and towering over many of her colleagues. That self-positive attitude makes Bill Kent's novel a joy to read as she digs into her father's death to learn the truth of Benny Lunch.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner