cover image A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself

A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself

William Boyle. Pegasus Crime, $25.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-64313-058-3

Early in this addictive hardboiled crime novel from Boyle (Gravesend), Rena Ruggiero, the widow of murdered Brooklyn mobster “Gentle Vic” Ruggiero, hits her octogenarian neighbor, Enzio, over the head with a heavy ashtray after he makes an unwanted pass at her. Thinking him dead, she takes off in Enzio’s prized ’62 Impala. With no real plan, she flees to the Bronx, the home of her estranged daughter, Adrienne, and her 15-year-old granddaughter, Lucia. When Adrienne slams the door in Rena’s face, Adrienne’s neighbor, con artist and retired porn star Lacey Wolfstein, invites her into her home. Meanwhile, Adrienne’s ex-boyfriend, Richie Schiavano, has just killed members of a major mob family, stolen a briefcase full of cash, and plans to grab Adrienne and Lucia and run. A violent confrontation between the hapless Richie and a brutal mob enforcer ensues, and Rena, Lacey, and Lucia end up in possession of the money fleeing for their lives. Boyle skillfully mixes a classic Westlake/Leonard–style caper with the powerful tale of three women facing the ghosts of their pasts. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Assoc. (Mar.)