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IN BRIEF

Fiction

April 21, 1996|Susan Reynolds

FLOATERS by Joseph Wambaugh (Bantam: $22.95; 293 pp.). Wambaugh, former member of the Los Angeles Police Department and the author of 14 bestsellers, has here assembled a cast of characters that unravel his neatly conceived plot for him, entering stage right and exiting stage left and chafing only slightly under his stern authorial direction. They've got such big personalities, you see--street-smart hooker Blaze Duvall, smelly old sex-fiend Det. Letch Boggs, momma's boy yacht-club preppie Ambrose Lutterworth--that to walk the walk and talk the talk inside the plot is almost more than they can bear. Lutterworth, official keeper of the America's Cup, doesn't want the Kiwis to win the race, so he thinks up an elaborate scheme to destroy their boat that involves the professional talents of Duvall. Duvall, on the run from a flesh-eating pimp named Oliver Mantleberry, needs the money and Boggs, for his own reasons, needs to nail Mantleberry. It's fast action, not too many dead bodies, not too much sex, and a lot of slangy dialogue.

* JOSEPH WAMBAUGH will participate in a discussion of crime writers at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival today at noon at UCLA.

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