cover image It Was a Very Bad Year: 
A Rat Pack Mystery

It Was a Very Bad Year: A Rat Pack Mystery

Robert J. Randisi. Severn, $27.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8191-5

At the outset of Randisi’s meandering seventh Rat Pack mystery (after 2011’s Fly Me to the Morgue), Sands Casino pit boss Eddie Gianelli squelches a sleazy photographer who’s trying to blackmail Abby Dalton, Joey Bishop’s TV wife. In the wake of the JFK assassination, which hits Frank Sinatra hard, Eddie has to escape a frame for murder while also helping to solve the kidnapping of Sinatra’s 19-year-old son, Frankie. Saving his own neck is important, but good-hearted Eddie wants to prevent Sinatra from starting a bloodbath by sending his Mafia buddies after the kidnappers. The relatively small role in the ramshackle plot that other members of the Rat Pack play diminishes interest, but the action comes to life whenever Eddie’s mammoth mob enforcer friend, Jerry Epstein, lumbers into view. As in the novel’s Vegas/Reno setting, glitter trumps content. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary. (Dec.)