PARADISE CITY

Lorenzo Carcaterra, Author . Ballantine $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-345-41097-9

Carcaterra has written extensively for television and it shows in this melodramatic tale of war between the New York branch of the Italian Mafia and a lone, mob-busting supercop from Italy. Giancarlo Lo Manto has arrived from Naples on the trail of his recently kidnapped niece Paula, taken as bait for an assassination trap that Lo Manto must step into if he is to rescue the girl. Lo Manto's arch foe is Mafia boss Pete Rossi, a man so evil readers will sit wide-eyed as he coldly kills underling after underling with astonishing heartlessness. No one can doubt Carcaterra's firsthand knowledge of the mean streets of New York (see his bestselling memoir, Sleepers ), his extensive vocabulary of cop-speak (Apaches ) or his expertise regarding the city of Naples (Street Boys ), but his made-for-TV writing may prove a stumbling block for more literary readers. Veteran cop-story aficionados will find that the eventual attraction between Lo Manto and partner Jennifer Fabini, detective daughter of NYPD legend Sal Fabini, comes as no surprise, and the connection between the cop and crime boss Rossi will garner few gasps. But those readers unafraid of a little purple in their prose (" 'Get ready to taste it, cop,' the Squid said. 'Get ready to die' ") will have a perfectly good time following Lo Manto and his unusual allies. Agent, Owen Laster. 5-city author tour. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/05/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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