cover image Tragic


Robert K. Tanenbaum. S&S/Gallery, $26 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4516-3555-3

Roger “Butch” Karp takes on organized crime masquerading as union politics in bestseller Tanenbaum’s overly ambitious 25th thriller featuring the New York County DA (after 2012’s Bad Faith). Recently deceased union leader Leo Corcione left two prospective heirs: ruthless Charlie Vitteli and upstanding Vince Carlotta. Vitteli’s thugs, led by brutal Joey Barros, set out to prove that the nice guy finishes last—by putting a bullet through Carlotta’s head. Karp works to pin Vitteli to the crime, but when Karp’s wife, ADA Marlene Campi, provides crucial testimony, the personal connection threatens to discredit both them and the case. Tanenbaum, himself a criminal lawyer, supplies fluid, authentic dialogue, but overlong courtroom cross-examinations drag down narrative momentum. On the plus side, the expansive cast of characters includes intriguing portrayals of the petty lowlifes who are both agents and victims of Vitteli’s machinations. Constant allusions to Macbeth freight the book with grandiose expectations that are never met. Agent: Bob Diforio. (Aug.)