THE CORSICAN by Bill S. Ballinger


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Almost more of a documentary than a novel and not too bloodshot at that about the career of a Sicilian who wouldn't know a compunction if he tripped over it -- but then he never trips over anything as he makes his way up to become Le Patriarche -- via liquor and cigarettes after World War II to drugs in Marseilles with affiliations as far as Istanbul -- a farm and heroin lab. Connection-contractor Cesar is an expressionless sort and only once, more than midway, is attracted to a gift who refuses the gold and amber bracelet she had liked, but not from him. Finally he moves on to New York and Harlem where he fears, rightly, that the Cosa Nostra will catch up with him, has his face changed and lifted, kills his cousin (""It was strictly business"") and disposes of the evidence -- himself, in an explosion before assuming a life of leisure as a count, aboard a yacht. Ballinger's chronology has a certain professionalism which comes with long experience but the main problem here is that Cesar is as cold as the pink marble mausoleum where presumably he lies.

Pub Date: April 22nd, 1974
Publisher: Dodd, Mead