cover image Mafia Wars

Mafia Wars

Waller. Random House (UK), $0 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7493-0553-6

Waller returns to the gangland setting of The Family in this lengthy, highly derivative chronicle of underworld conspiracy, sex and violence. Charley Richards (ne Carlo Ricci) is intent on taking his family's vast holdings into legitimate realms, but his aging uncle Zio wants to keep him involved in illegal activity badly enough to send hit men to deliver the message. The Riccis of the next generation are following divergent paths, with identical twins Kevin and Kerry utilizing their brains and stealth to advance the family business while cousin Vince blackmails a compulsive gambler cum gynecologist into developing a new designer drug. Behind the scenes, industrialist Shan Lao is plotting against the Sicilians for domination of the drug trade and preparing to trigger the greatest stock market crash in world history. There are beautiful and smart women who serve mainly as repositories for male seed, although a profusion of female lawyers suggests that the genre is finally entering the '90s. Waller's prose is a bumptious stew of overheated metaphors and similes. On the plus side, there is so much going on that if you don't like one subplot, wait, because it will be played out in a few pages. (Apr.)