Cover image for Street hungry
Street hungry
Kent, Bill, 1954-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Minotaur, [2003]

Physical Description:
340 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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Shep Ladderback, the Philadelphia Press 's aged obit writer, mentors the young Andrea (Andy) Cosicki, fledgling journalist and daughter of the late political fixer,Benny the Lunch Cosicki. Ladderback (who knows everything about everyone in the city) wants Andy to cover the death of a street fruit and vegetable salesman, which seems to him to be suspicious. But Andy has a date for lunch at the Loup Garu, a so-hot-you-can't-get-a-reservation-for-three-months restaurant with a new "culinary concept" (which seems to be horrible foodcombinations, trumpeted as Transylvanian-Caribbean-fusion) and turns him down. (Ladderback knows that Loup Garu means werewolf; Andy does not.) But Andy ends up in a big story anyhow, when one of the country's most notable food critics drops dead at her table.

Author Notes

Bill Kent is a writer, journalist, critic and author of three novels and two non-fiction books. His writing has appeared in more than 40 regional and national publications, including the New York Times , the Washington Post , the Philadelphia Inquire r and Philadelphia Magazine . He lives in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, with his wife and son.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

This marks the second streetwise romp--following Street Money BKL O 1 02--for the abrasive, conflicted team of two newsies: N. S. "Shep" Ladderback, obituary writer, and Andrea Cosicki, the crusader-when-she-can writer of the "Mr. Action" complaint column, both for a Philadelphia paper that seems like an updated version of Ben Hecht's Front Page. As an obit writer, Ladderback has a ringside seat for untimely deaths. He suffers from acute agoraphobia, however, making him rely heavily on the phone, the Internet, and Cosicki. This time outent concocts a down-and-dirty version of Somebody Isilling the Great Chefs of Europe, displaying wrongful deaths at both the high and low ends of the foodie chain. The first sudden death is of a street vendor of fruits and vegetables who pulls out a plum and drops dead. The second food-connected victim to keel over is a food critic, the author of "The Angry Eater," who ends up clutching the tablecloth in an exclusive restaurant. The deaths provide the raison d'etre for the sleuthing here, as Ladderback at his desk and Cosicki on the street plunge into a world populated by egomaniacal chefs, slimy attorneys, shark-like food critics, and various other power brokers, both inside the newsroom and out. Wonderfully funny and searing. --Connie Fletcher Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this complex, offbeat mystery, Kent's second (after 2002's Street Money) to feature N.S. "Shep" Ladderback, the agoraphobic obituary writer for the Philadelphia Press, Shep looks into a series of bizarre food-related deaths. First, local fruit and vegetable vendor Sidney "Weight" Wisnitz suddenly keels over at his stand spitting up blood. Next, restaurant critic Michelle Fragg (known as "The Angry Eater") drops dead in a similar fashion at her ex-lover Matt Plank's trendy new Transylvanian/Caribbean "fusion" restaurant, Loup Garou. Shep's assistant, Andrea "Andy" Cosicki, who witnesses Fragg's death, suspects foul play and traces both deaths back to an experimental appetite suppressor produced by Alixxir, a local pharmaceutical company that manufactures cheap knock-offs of brand name drugs. As Shep and Andy dig deeper into the matter, they find similarities with the recent death of Philadelphia mobster Carmen "Chickie" Marandola, whose body was dismembered and hidden all over town (only his pinkie finger was recovered). The truth behind the murders proves to be closer to the two journalists, and to their own pasts, than they could have imagined. Kent explores various notions of hunger-the craving for wealth, power, food and sex, among other things-in this literate, character-driven crime novel, which straddles the line between hardboiled detective story and thriller. Mystery fans of all stripes should go for it. Agent, Jake Elwell. (Oct. 6) Forecast: Kent hasn't sold yet to paperback, which is a pity. A blurb from a big-name author or two could help bring him to the attention of the wider readership he deserves. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved