cover image Trinities


Nick Tosches. Doubleday Books, $23.95 (435pp) ISBN 978-0-385-47003-2

If the prospect of Yoruba tribesmen employed as drug couriers and detonating all over the inside of airplane cabins seems intriguing, Tosches's (Cut Numbers and the biographies of Jerry Lee Lewis and Dean Martin) new novel has just such a hook. That elaborate scheme is one of the many spectacular elements of an aging mafioso's attempt to destabilize the world heroin trade in order to again reign supreme-for too long the ``spics,'' ``niggers'' and ``chinks'' have been getting all the glory. Guiseppe De Pietro, a legendary mobster presumed to be in retirement, enlists his nephew Johnny and an older gent named Louie Bones to do his bidding. Hot on the trail they leave of riddled, acid-burned, beheaded and incinerated bodies is a do-good cop named Marshall and his sidekick, Wang. Tosches's tale advances like storyboards for an action picture, with prolonged sequences of hysterical, over-the-top violence and cruelty. Although the plot wobbles in and out of plausibility and the good-guy cops seem like they've wandered into the wrong book, readers nonplussed by pervasive misanthropy and gore can marvel at Tosches's detailed vision-down to the brand names of chemicals used in making heroin-and his at times extraordinary prose. Film rights to MGM; 10-city tour; audio rights to BDD. (Oct.)