Amazing. The same old stuff--Chicago, Capone, bought cops, scheming politicos--is handled with originality and tough-minded grace by an author better known for screenplays (The St. Valentine's Day Massacre) than his hard-edged Paul Pine mysteries (written years ago as John Evans). Jake Lingle, on-the-take Chicago Trib reporter, is shot in the head by a blonde hit-man. Colonel Robert McCormick, Trib owner, banners the story, offers the reward and calls in a few favors to set up his own investigating panel. At odds on it: Cook County Chief Investigator Pat Roche (honest, Irish, streetwise) and McCormick-picked lawyer Charles F. Rathbun (cover-up all the way). There follows a riveting, cross-and-double-cross saga with the emphasis on Capone's bootlegging operations (a multimillion-dollar enterprise), Jack Zuta's whorehouses (and the racetrack that never ran), Bugs Moran's terrorism of the North Side, slots, numbers, payoffs, pork barrels. Plus, the corrupt and plot-teetering lives of Frankie Foster, blonde triggerman; Anthony Ruthy, bent cop, recanting eyewitness, vital press leak; Angela Terrell (nÃ‰e Angelina Torrenello of the Brooklyn Family), who sleeps wrong and gets her throat sliced; John Hagan, mob-bought ex-P.I. and Rathbun's chum; Leo Brothers, small-time muscle, fall guy. Great twists, character confrontations, and the pacing picks up after a sluggish first-chapter set-up. And you just can't beat the plot's top-notch premise: People will always lie if they think it's the only way to stay alive.