BLACK WIDOW by E. Duke Vincent


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A Navy pilot can handle anything that flies, but falls hard for a Hollywood blonde with an overprotective—and mobbed-up—father.

In this breathless adventure, Vincent (Mafia Summer, 2006) brings back hero Vinny Vesta, but this time he’s gotten his tough-guy protagonist out of New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen and into the Navy. It’s 1957 and Vesta is a pilot and lieutenant, stationed in Jacksonville, Fla. His first assignment, escorting the body of a fellow pilot across the country, is a dreary one. But once he signs over the coffin to the beautiful widow, Kat Pennington, his prospects pick up. Following a torrid weekend of sex and booze, they agree to meet again. But there’s a catch: Kat’s overprotective father doesn’t want her matched with a Navy man again. He’d rather set her up with a high-profile movie star, in the hope of furthering her career. When the couple persists, he gets rough, using hired thugs to kidnap Kat. Vesta, with Mafia connections of his own, reaches back to his New York roots for assistance. The real-life Mafia machinations of that year, with Vito Genovese killing Albert Anastasia to assume power over the New York mob, serve as backdrop, the changing alliances putting more pressure on both Vesta’s friends and Kat’s father. Neither Vesta nor his beloved ever move beyond cardboard caricatures. He’s the handsome fighter pilot who can drink nonstop but still expertly maneuver fighter jets the next morning. She’s flawlessly beautiful and sincere. Vesta’s friends back in New York speak in Brooklyn accents, employ lots of curse words and slurp up giant meals of pasta and veal. And the initial hook—Vesta’s colleague’s mysterious death—is never resolved. Still, with all the action and Vincent’s breezy prose, this time-capsule cartoon is entertaining.

Loaded with B-movie appeal.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59691-389-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2007


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