JOE PETROSINO by Arrigo Petacco


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An awkwardly translated tiresome account (although said to be a best seller in Italy), of an obscure turn-of-the-century New York cop -- the token ethnic on a force that policed a city with a population one quarter Italian -- one of those men in blue who 60 years later would have been called, with some justification, a ""pig."" Petrosino viewed the law as entirely too lenient and had his own methods -- why trouble, after all, about a little police brutality when the suspect is a member of the Black Hand? Not surprisingly a contract seems to have been let on his life, and Petrosino was gunned down (an unsolved crime) on the streets of Sicily during a highly publicized ""secret"" mission. (He was given a hero's burial back home.) One of those books that attempts to build documentary minute-by-minute tension (how much Petrosino tipped in a restaurant, which direction he turned on a street comer), but after the initial grabber of a body in a barrel (genitals stuffed into its mouth), the story sinks as quickly as a cement encased corpse. An Italian Connection it isn't.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1974
Publisher: Macmillan