Codes of Betrayal

Dorothy Uhnak, Author St. Martin's Press $23.95 (293p) ISBN 978-0-312-15582-7
Irish-Italian detective Nick O'Hara looks like an ordinary New York City cop. His marriage is outwardly placid, his best friend is his partner and his only vice is a passion for gambling. But Nick's beloved grandfather, an aging but still powerful Mafia don, represents a hidden, troublesome past for the protagonist of this uneven effort from popular crime novelist Uhnak (The Ryer Avenue Story). At a 75th birthday celebration for his grandfather, Nick reluctantly agrees to let his son Peter attend the San Gennaro festival on the Lower East Side with Nick's no-good cousin Richie. Through Richie's carelessness, Peter is caught in the middle of a Chinatown shootout and killed. In the aftermath of his son's death, Nick's life unravels: his wife leaves him; crippling gambling debts lead him to steal a cache of drug money; and then he gets caught in a DEA bust. Offered the choice between a possible 20 years in prison or turning informer on his grandfather, Nick must choose between duty and family loyalty. Uhnak is skilled at sketching the diverse cultures of New York's boroughs, but Nick's dilemmas lack immediacy; the plot, which introduces dozens of characters and settings, is scattershot. Worse, the revelations Nick eventually uncovers about his outlaw kin let him off the hook too easily, sacrificing moral ambiguity for tidy resolution. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Analog Audio Cassette - 2 pages - 978-0-88646-448-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 320 pages - 978-0-312-96531-0
Ebook - 310 pages - 978-1-4804-6098-0
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