cover image Malavita


Tonino Benacquista, trans. from the French by Emily Read. Penguin, $15 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-14-312385-9

In this hilarious Mafia farce from Benacquista (Framed), Giovanni Manzoni, an important American Mafioso, has been relocated, as Fred Blake, to the small town of Cholong-sur-Avre in Normandy, France, along with his wife and their two children. The discovery of a typewriter in their new home leads Manzoni to start writing about his experiences with organized crime. His 14-year-old son, Warren, uses the survival skills his father taught him to turn the tables on bullies at his new school, while his 17-year-old daughter, Belle, proves more than capable of fending off the wandering hands of would-be boyfriends. The FBI’s efforts to keep “the Blakes” below the radar hit a snag when a screw-up at a local movie night leads to a screening of Goodfellas, giving the mobster an opportunity he can’t refuse to share his firsthand knowledge of the criminal world depicted in the movie. Snappy writing and brisk pacing add up to a comic crime novel Elmore Leonard fans would relish. (July)