Safe Harbor

Eugene Izzi, Author William Morrow & Company $24 (352p) ISBN 978-0-380-97343-9
Crisply drawn lives of violence and redemption propel this fully dimensional novel of organized crime and inner-city life. Tommy Torelli was a favorite leg man for New York mob boss Pete Papa until Tommy squealed during a prison term, joining the FBI's witness protection program in order to save his infant son from Pete's threats. With help from a federal marshal, Tommy became ""Mark Torrence,"" left the program, married again and had a daughter as companion for his son, and ran a center for troubled kids in the toughest section of South Chicago. When a nosy journalist's photographs reveal Mark's whereabouts to Pete, he sets sociopathic hitman James Bracken--whose lover was killed because Torelli turned--on Mark's trail. Then a retarded teen from Mark's youth center provokes a standoff with the police, finally committing suicide despite Mark's intervention. When the story makes the front pages, along with Mark's picture, Mark knows his life of hiding is over. Izzi (The Criminalist) constructs his wary characters and his suspenseful plot with assiduous attention to detail, and with few wasted words, exposing the two-way street of racial injustice, the realities of police brutality and the hollow ""honor"" of mob loyalties. This posthumously published novel stands out even amid the other fine crime novels by Izzi, who died in 1996: serious indignation and serious research lie behind this compellingly readable tale of a corrupt society and a genuine hero. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1999
Release date: 08/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-380-78843-9
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