cover image Kingpins: Tales from Inside the Mob

Kingpins: Tales from Inside the Mob

. Carroll & Graf Publishers, $18.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-88184-807-6

According to the editors' introduction, this collection delivers ``the inside story, the dirty secrets'' of organized crime--but that promise is little more than a bill of goods. Rather, the 17 stories here represent a not particularly outstanding sampling from the Ellery Queen's and Alfred Hitchcock's mystery magazines, in which all the entries first appeared. The best of the lot is T. M. Adams's ``The Iceman Cooleth,'' the tale of a numbers boss whose empire is threatened by a new state lottery as he is pursued by a hired killer. James A. Noble contributes ``Murder in the Fast Lane,'' a neat little escape from a particularly cruel murder trap; Raymond Chandler is represented with the run-of-the-mill ``Philip Marlowe's Last Case''; Stephen King and Andrew Vachss also lend their names, as do some lesser-knowns. Even comedienne Phyllis Diller puts in an appearance with ``The Misfit,'' a short-short about a would-be hit man who can't seem to get it right. Decidedly minor. (July)