Tribal Secrets

Eugene Izzi, Author Bantam Books $15 (376p) ISBN 978-0-553-07361-4
In his ninth novel, Izzi ( Prowlers ) offers an in-depth study of dysfunctional families. Edna Rose, a willing incest victim, a matricide and the mother of a son who has recently died of muscular dystrophy, is obsessed with Babe Hill, Chicago's newest TV superstar. Babe's father is Johnny Hilliard, a mob soldier and stone killer; his brothers are a drunk, a punk and a psychopathic killer and rapist; his mother is a sluttish, nasty lush. Babe's coproducer, Jerome Spinnell, is a wife-beating cokehead with a vicious mobster brother. And Babe's best friend Tim, a cop, hates his abusive father. This basket of snakes is entwined with various unpleasantries in the worlds of drugs, show biz, the Mob and kinky sex. Babe becomes the focus when his psychopath brother and Edna Rose form the quintessential odd couple in ages and kidnap him. Izzi's cinematic quick-cutting reaches a peak in the bloody finale, which leaves enough corpses to end a Jacobean tragedy. The writing is serviceable, but on the whole the novel reads like a violent soap opera. Babe himself proves a hollow core: even with his great body, smile, popularity and talent (we are told), he comes off as a priggish whiner. 50,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1992
Release date: 09/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-553-56339-9
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