cover image Joey Dee Gets Wise: A Novel of Little Italy

Joey Dee Gets Wise: A Novel of Little Italy

Louisa Ermelino. St. Martin's Press, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-05451-9

When Little Italy kingpin Nicky Mole and his goons murder Sonny Magro, the only witness is Vito Santero, a young man who hasn't been the same since the day Sister Agnes slapped his head with a board. Vito can't help divulging the story to his only friend, Joey Dee, who knows he must keep talkative Vito quiet. The bad guys figure out that Joey knows the truth, and to watch him more closely, hire him as chauffeur for Sonny's widow, who is Nicky's secret lover and apparently the cause of the trouble to begin with. All Joey really wants is to leave New York for Las Vegas, preferably with girlfriend Josie, Sonny's daughter, at his side. The one-dimensional characters in this straightforward, briskly paced first novel hold few surprises, but the author, a native of New York's Little Italy, brings her setting alive with descriptions of superstitious neighborhood gossips and the annual Feast of St. Anthony. (Jan.)