Last night, the promo for next week's Real Housewives of New Jersey said the secret to Danielle Staub's shady past could be found in an out-of-print book called Cop Without a Badge. Well, that's been tracked down and a "coke whore" named Beverly Merrill bears an awful close resemblance.

The book, by about felon-turned-informant Kevin Maher, describes Merrill as an 80's coke queen who stripped for a living, and may have been naked dancing it as late as 1992. And her stripper name was, well, Danielle. When they meet at a drug dealer's party in Miami, he describes her thus:

She was brunette. Long, perfectly shaped legs poked out of her leather hot pants just as provocatively as her braless breasts strained against her low-cut blouse." And no, she wasn't wearing any underwear. After she and Maher have "explosive sex," he thinks to himself, "This is a good person. She has no morals, but she's a good person.

Beverly turns out to be a "coke whore." That's okay at first, because Maher likes coke too. But he really doesn't like her sleeping with other guys. So Maher confronts another one of her boyfriends at the Bennigan's in Saddle Brook, sticks a gun in his crotch, and makes him confess. By this time, Beverly Merrill is now dancing at various North Jersey establishments under the name Danielle. Maher, deciding he wants to have a kid but that Beverly isn't "mother material," eventually splits up with her. According to the epilogue, Maher last saw her in 1992 dancing at a club called Shakers in Carlstadt.

So, yeah, sigh. The book also says she was also apparently hanging out, Alpha Dog style, with a drug dealer who kidnapped a rich kid who owed him money.

A quick public records search shows that Danielle Staub indeed used to go by Beverly Merrill, as well as both Danielle Maher and Beverly Maher, as in the Maher who's in Cop Without a Badge. Or at least that someone with the same Social Security number went by all four names at dozens of addresses in New Jersey and Miami.

And via ONTD, someone has scanned two of the pages in the book that discuss Merrill. Read them and weep. No, really, weep.

Eventually the lady decided to shape up and marry rich and start a new life with her two young daughters. But of course then she got greedy and wanted on TV so the truth came out, as it inevitably would. Lessons learned, perhaps.