cover image Act of Revenge

Act of Revenge

Robert K. Tanenbaum. HarperCollins Publishers, $25 (402pp) ISBN 978-0-06-019218-1

Veteran author Tanenbaum (Reckless Endangerment) pens a lethal family outing for series protagonist Butch Karp, his vigilante wife, Marlene Ciampi, and their linguistic prodigy daughter, Lucy, in this take-no-prisoners tale of mob violence, Asian incursion and political corruption that spans decades. All become embroiled in a labyrinth of interconnected plot lines and intersecting lives during an Asian gangsters plan to take over Italian mob turf in Little Italy next to Chinatown. Chief Assistant District Attorney Karps team is stumped when the usual mob suspects dont pan out in the killing of Eddie Catalano, a capo for Big Sally Bollano, don of the Mafia crime family, but he has bigger problems when two Hong Kong triad biggies are murdered in Chinatown. Karps daughter, Lucy, witnesses the killings, but refuses to talk because it would endanger the Chinese family she grew up with. Pressure mounts when Lucy is roughed up by Vietnamese goons before being saved by the mysterious Tran, Marlenes devoted Vietnamese muscle. Meanwhile, Marlene is hired by the wife of Little Sally Bollano, nutcase son of the mob boss, to prove that her fathers suicide when she was 16 was really murdera job that twists into the Chinatown killings, ignites the Bollano family, exposes a corrupt judge and almost costs Marlene her life. The closed society of Chinatown proves a formidable barrier to police probes and only Lucy and Tran can make headway and flush the killer when attacks on the Karp family get starkly personal. Former New York City homicide chief and trial attorney Tanenbaum has crafted a believably twisted gem of a gangster tale with visceral action and smooth comic relief in a technicolor, Big Apple setting that waxes nostalgic for the gentleman killers of yesteryear. Lucy is an engaging adolescent addition and Karps quirky extended family provides enough depth for years of sequels. (May)