Street Fights: A Novel Based on a True Story

Joe Martori, Author, Toby Stein, Editor Santa Barbara Press $17.95 (389p) ISBN 978-0-915643-24-0
While researching an article on the involvement of the Mafia in Arizona government, reporter Dan Barnes is blown up in his car. To vindicate their dead friend, 30 reporters fly to Phoenix to pick up where he left off. Weaving innuendo and implication, building a story that is weak on facts but heavy on insinuation, in the process they destroy the lives of several honest, hardworking citizens. One of those citizens is Joe Corelli, a senior partner in a prestigious Phoenix law firm, who grew up on Brooklyn's tough Avenue U in the '50s. This first novel is a roman a clef; Joe Corelli is the author's alter ego, a device that both adds and detracts from the book. When Martori writes of Brooklyn, of growing up surrounded by the bookies and henchmen of Carlo Gambino and Joey Gallo, he displays admirable skill, conveying a sense of community, custom and attitudes toward life. Unfortunately, when he describes the blood-hungry reporters who descend on his protagonist, he engages in the same sort of vendetta Corelli decries, and the book becomes an embarrassingly self-indulgent tract. Perhaps Martori needs to distance himself as far from his life in Phoenix as he did from Brooklyn before he can write about it perceptively. 35,000 ad/promo; author tour. (July 15)
Reviewed on: 08/04/1987
Release date: 08/01/1987
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