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SHAKEDOWN by Charlie Stella Kirkus Star

SHAKEDOWN

By Charlie Stella

Pub Date: June 15th, 2006
ISBN: 1-933648-05-8
Publisher: Pegasus

Can a mob bookmaker have a wife and a family and be out for good? “Fuhgetaboutit,” say the wiseguys.

Bobby Genarro had at least a shot at escape until the untimely flipping of Nicky D’Angelo, an underboss with the Vignieri family, who when presented with limited options by the FBI chose the Witness Protection Program. Suddenly, Bobby’s position is ambiguous enough to require a hasty visit from a pair of Vignieri soldiers: If Nicky squealed, how can they be sure that Bobby, who worked for him, won’t? And by the way, it would show respect if he came up with $50,000. Annoyed not so much by the breakdown in logic—he knows full well the wiseguy way with a syllogism—as by the boldfaced attempt at extortion, he stonewalls. Bobby is one cool and resourceful customer, but he’s also vulnerable, as the Vignieris know full well. There’s a woman in his life, the adorable Chinese-American Lin Yao, for whom he would die in a Mafioso minute rather than leave her to their tender mercies. And so the dance along Mean Street begins, as complex as it is violent and brutal. Bobby will have to step lively to keep from paying the piper.

With his fifth entertaining entry in the gangster follies (Cheapskates, 2005, etc.), Stella earns a place among the most readable writers in crime fiction.