cover image Gangsterland


Tod Goldberg. Counterpoint, $26 (420p) ISBN 978-1-61902-344-4

Complex characters with understandable motivations distinguish this highly unusual crime novel from Goldberg (Living Dead Girl). When a sample of some particularly fine heroin causes Sal Cupertine, a hit man for the Chicago Family, to abandon his usual careful methods and execute three undercover FBI agents in a downtown hotel, Sal is certain that the Mafia will make him disappear. What he doesn’t expect is that, months later, after multiple plastic surgeries and much study of Judaic holy texts, he will reemerge into the light of day in Las Vegas as Rabbi David Cohen. Back in Chicago, FBI agent Jeff Hopper is determined to track Sal down and make him pay for killing his team of agents. All Sal really wants to do is get to his wife, Jennifer, and their toddler son, William, and then disappear. Goldberg injects Talmudic wisdom and a hint of Springsteen into the workings of organized crime and FBI investigative techniques and makes it all work splendidly. Agent: Jennie Dunham, Dunham Literary. (Sept.)