Cover image for Cleopatra gold
Cleopatra gold
Caunitz, William J.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Crown Publishers, [1993]

Physical Description:
328 pages ; 23 cm
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An undercover New York cop is trying to put an end to the newest and deadliest drug: Cleopatra Gold. To the party goers of the late-night club scene, Alejandro Monahan is just a singer, but to others he's a good cop. He knows that Cleopatra is also the code name for the head of the Latin drug-ring: a ruthless female assassin who years earlier killed his father. Aware that a single mistake could kill him, Monahan makes a perilous journey to the heart of the Cleopatra syndicate

Author Notes

Born in 1933, William J. Caunitz used his thirty years of New York City police department experience for background in writing numerous novels depicting police corruption. In 1985, Caunitz published his first literary work, One Police Plaza, which gave readers a behind-the-scenes look at the way real cops behave. The book quickly became a New York Times bestseller.

After the success of his first novel, Caunitz continued to write whodunit books focusing on the police force. From 1987 to 1993, Caunitz published Suspects, Black Sand, Exceptional Clearance, and Cleopatra Gold. His sixth and final novel, titled Pigtown, published in 1995, was considered by critics to be his best. The book chronicles the investigation of a mob hit that puts lead detective Matthew Stuart and his fellow cops in mortal danger.

Caunitz, who divided his time between New York City and a little town in Mexico, died in 1996 at the age of 63.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ed McBain's police procedurals (see p.1918) often focus on the hum-drum routine of cop life. Caunitz, on the other hand, portrays supercops investigating big crimes. Alejandro Monahan is deep, deep undercover for the New York Police Department. A renegade cartel known as Cleopatra Gold has been responsible for the death of three previous undercover infiltrators. Monahan, whose cover is that of an aspiring Latin balladeer, performs in a club frequented by the dopers. In the face of increasing pressure from the various antidrug agencies, the bad guys are looking for a more efficient way to smuggle in their merchandise. Monahan, professing a desire to quit singing and get rich, proposes the use of a radio-controlled parachute drop system perfected by the U.S. military. The bad guys take the bait; Monahan is in. What follows is predictable but exciting. Caunitz's novels--and his characters--work because he gets the details right. He knows how money changes hands, gets laundered, and comes back to the dealers; he's got insider's knowledge of undercover operations and the people on either side of the law; he also conveys the paranoia and isolation of a deep cover operative. His latest is good bet to be a summer best-seller, but sales figures aside, it's a very good novel. (Reviewed July 1993)0517574985Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

In his best book since his debut, One Police Plaza , Caunitz follows a major Latin American drug syndicate that has brought new meaning to the term ``designer drugs'' by selling high-grade heroin in recyclable packages with the ``Cleopatra'' logo. Cleopatra is also the code name for the head of the syndicate, a heartless female assassin who years earlier shot down Alejandro Monahan's father. Now a deep-cover agent for the NYPD's Intelligence Division, the half-Mexican, half-Irish Monahan, a nightclub singer, has a fictionalized past but a continuing commitment to avenge his father. After three undercover agents are brutally executed, Monahan is put into play, infiltrating the syndicate. At the same time, other police units send another undercover agent--an attractive and relatively inexperienced young woman--into the volatile situation. The story follows generally predictable lines toward the climax in which both operatives face deadly danger and Cleopatra's identity is disclosed. Caunitz lifts his story out of the ordinary with a dazzling use of extraordinarily advanced spy and communications devices by both the authorities and drug lords. The fascinating, improbable technology makes a highly intriguing hook, which Caunitz exploits skillfully. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved