Jack Kelly, Author Dutton Books $18.95 (314p) ISBN 978-0-525-24778-4
Following Apalachin , Kelly's well-received debut offers an equally gritty, timely thriller about a Mafia hit man. Set up by his boss, hoodlum Sal Veronica barely escapes execution. He kills his attackers and makes a deal with the Feds: Sal will testify against his capo and start a new life in the federal witness-protection program. Resettled in an unnamed Midwest city, Veronica, now called Vincent, joins real estate salesman Ted Reed, a very straight citizen, in developing Ted's longtime dream, a retirement community. The new company seems on the way to success until a combination of factors--a local gangster, labor goons and, not least, Sal's inveterate womanizing--brings disaster. Kelly effectively juxtaposes Sal's life in suburban middle-America against his former career as a ruthless New York Mafioso, seen in flashbacks. Readers may wish for deeper characterization (especially of Sal, an interestingly flawed anti-hero) and for more details in the last scene, depicting justice, Mafia style. But the book's brisk pace, clever plot twists and ear-perfect dialogue provide a very satisfying read. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
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