One of the rare Mafia books written with a novelist's eye for description and zest for the pointed word. Somehow Brashler makes Sam Giancana, Chicago don and once the most powerful mafioso in the States, a densely arresting figure despite the ghastly human lacks that were his greatest strengths. The story carries him from his birth in turn-of-the-century Chicago through his rise as a teen-age wheelman, his jail terms, his emergence as a small-time gang leader on the make, his move to top slot, work for the CIA in setting up a hit on Castro, love affair with singer Phyllis McGuire, handle on Sinatra, fiasco with the Kennedys, battles with grand juries, flight to Mexico and ten years in exile, and final rub out (seven slugs in the skull) in the den of his Chicago home in 1975. Despite the blood on his hands, Giancana was a devoted collector of fancy porcelain and chinaware. Brashler's new material is only partly new (some has already appeared in New York magazine), but he has a sure touch for the shape of things unseen--and for the body on the meathook.