cover image Shakedown


Gerald Petievich. Simon & Schuster, $16.45 (235pp) ISBN 978-0-671-63154-3

FBI Special Agent John isn't going any place special in the Bureauhe is too honest and unpolitical. After 15 years of service, he knows that the Las Vegas-based Organized Crime Strike Force is a dumping ground for misfits like himself. But he does have a mission in life, and that is to lock up Tony Parisi, a vicious hood who exercises a stranglehold over the town, partly by intimidation and partly through political connections. Novak's best hope of convicting Parisi lies in the testimony of a lesser hood, Bruno Santoro. Unfortunately, Parisi's gang murders Bruno before the Feds can put him in front of the grand jury. An alternative potential witness against Parisi is rogue cop Eddie Sands, an extortionist and ex-con married to a phony stock and investment scam artist. Eddie would rather die than fink on the other thugs, but agent Novak finally finds a way to make his case. The characters here are almost uniformly disreputable, including the putative white hats. (For example, a Federal Judge allows the FBI agent to make love to her in court chambers.) As he proved with To Live and Die in L.A., Petievich's thrillers add up to rough and ready entertainment. Paperback rights to Pocket Books. (January 5)