The Big Squeeze

Jim Cirni, Author
Jim Cirni, Author Soho Press $18.95 (223p) ISBN 978-0-939149-46-9
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-56947-058-9
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Cirni's ( The Kiss Off ) lusty account of Mafia activities in Brooklyn and Queens centers around a lowly minion in the Tony Montello ``Family.'' ``Dip'' Dippolito's job, in collaboration with his lifelong friend Prize, is to collect outstanding loan-shark monies from recalcitrant debtors. Dip suddenly finds himself near the center of Montello power, albeit as an observer, when he is ordered to ride herd on Tony's son, who is in danger of flunking out of high school and who couldn't care less. In his new position Dip gets to view the violence and constant power struggles of the Family, especially as they relate to the decades-old animosity toward Tony's brother-in-law Joey Cara. But when Prize is implicated in an aborted attempt on Tony's life, Dip is informed by hint and innuendo that he is also suspect. To add to his problems, Dip's girlfriend is insistent that he retire from the Family, not a simple matter. The jargon, characters, plots, double- and triple-crosses are all cleverly and wittily drawn, in an authentic-sounding narrative. Although the already slender story line further thins at the end, the novel's pace and ambience keep the reader hooked. (Feb.)
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