cover image Gangland


Chuck Hogan. Grand Central, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5387-5175-6

Bestseller Hogan (The Town) does a serviceable job of fictionalizing the Chicago underworld of the 1970s. In 1975, Nicky Passero takes advantage of the trust placed in him by Sam Giancana, the former boss of the Chicago mob, to whack him. While Giancana is preparing dinner for the two of them in his home in the city’s suburbs, Passero shoots him in the back of the head then fires six more shots into his face. The murder and the postmortem disfigurement were at the orders of the current boss, Tony “Big Tuna” Accardo, who suspected that Giancana was about to tell all to a congressional committee. The killing cements Passero’s status as Accardo’s right-hand man, which leads to more violence after hotheaded thieves burglarize the jewelry store of one of Accardo’s friends and then the boss’s own home. That Accardo doesn’t know that Passero is approached by the FBI to serve as an informant raises the tension. Thin characterizations match the familiar tale of a hit man with a trace of a conscience hiding multiple secrets. This offers nothing particularly new. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Aug.)