Nick Gaitano, Author Simon & Schuster $22 (256p) ISBN 978-0-684-80750-8
The third work (after Special Victims and Mr. X) in the pseudonymous series from Chicago crime writer Eugene Izzi features all the raw talent that makes Izzi/Gaitano downright irresistible, plus the nagging idiosyncrasies and overwrought mannerisms that hinder this author's ascent into the top rank of crime-fiction writers. The pacing is, as always, bruising, as Chicago Special Victims police officer Jake Phillips goes deep undercover. Jake is taking payoffs from crooked cops. He's also assigned the deathwatch as thief Jimmy Duette spends his last few seconds of life fingering the cops who beat him senseless in the basement of the precinct station. Jake thus garners the goods, but in the process looks dirty to the rest of his colleagues, his estranged wife and a crusading woman journalist. Jimmy's beating and an incidental court scene are two marvelous virtuoso sections. Yet the story is overloaded with similar characters awash in psychological ticks who spout the same self-help platitudes. A slew of criminals live and scheme and die on the narrative margins, and a final trick near the end of the tale is clumsy. Gaitano remains a ferocious and original talent, but he doesn't seem in charge of this pulsating and morally ambiguous novel. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56431-185-6
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