cover image A Meal to Die For: A Culinary Novel of Crime

A Meal to Die For: A Culinary Novel of Crime

Joseph R. Gannascoli, with Allen C. Kupfer. . Forge, $22.95 (271pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-1444-4

Actor Gannascoli, best known for his role as Vito Spatafore on The Sopranos , with an assist from Kupfer (The Journal of Professor Abraham Van Helsing ), serves up a solid debut filled with mouth-watering recipes. Mobbed-up Brooklyn chef Benny Lacoco prepares the dinner of a lifetime, knowing that someone stands to get whacked when the last course is served. The rat who set up the reigning capo for 10 to 20 is one of the made men at the table, but Benny realizes suspicion could fall anywhere: "I'll be cooking all night and my reward could be a piece of lead in the head." Benny ruminates on how he fell into his life of crime, acting as a food fence to move stolen stock out to select restaurants, "transfusing" inferior olive oil or wine into higher-ticket containers. The mix of haute cuisine and Mafiosi is a natural—obviously Julia Child and Tony Soprano both like to eat, right? And how often do you see a mobster getting disrespect for "revealing his limited knowledge of food and even more limited food choice experience"? (Jan.)