Crunching vengeance on crime, or Death Wish restored for full symphony, with the kitchen sink thrown into the cannon and...



Crunching vengeance on crime, or Death Wish restored for full symphony, with the kitchen sink thrown into the cannon and percussion section. Christopher Taggart, whose accomplishments as a building entrepreneur outrival those of Donald Trump, has a towering goal behind his vast drive to make millions: revenge for his father's death. His dad, the owner of a concrete-supply firm with his own fleet of mixers, was breaking into the big time by erecting his first big building when he decided not to make his usual payoff to the Mafia-led drivers union. So, after punching out the payola collector, Pop was run over by a mixer, with Chris holding his hand at the fatal moment. Chris decides to finish his dad's building and finesses the bank into backing him, while his brother Tony goes to law school with the intention of becoming a rackets buster and putting their father's killers behind bars. Chris, however, decides to fight fire with fire: he will make war upon the five Mafia families, himself funding his own Shadow Mafia of hit men who are IRA gunmen, Palestinian bombers, French mercenaries, professional fighters, and terrorists who slip in and out of New York on a one-hit basis. To fund his onslaught against the Mafia, he expands his building activities to mask the money he's diverting into setting up his own drug empire. Silently, he is going to drive the gangs into internecine warfare by creating a drug drought that will have them at each other's throats. Meanwhile, he falls for Helen Rizzolo, who has taken over her jailed capo father's family and become the quiet queenpin behind her less brilliant brothers. Chris seduces Helen into helping him wipe out the other four families so that her family can rule the roost. Little does she know that Chris plans to blow away the Rizzolos as well. As it happens, she puts family before love and the climax is a replay of Prizzi's Honer. Scott (The Shipkiller, Many Happy Returns) is as lively a storyteller as ever, here including convincing detail from the building trades and the song of the high iron, and entertaining pedantry about the Mafia and terrorists. Unfortunately, though, the characters themselves, full of posing and blather, have much slighter density than their finely rendered settings.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1986


Page Count: -

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1986