It's more than four months old, but it's still worth reading...
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Wild Bill, by Dana King
When Gianni Bevilacqua dies a premature death from eating too many cannoli, an internecine war breaks out over who will succeed him as mob boss of the Outfit. Will it be his son, Gianni Junior, who takes a blood lineage succession for granted, or will it be old hand and former consiglieri Frank Ferraro's years of savvy and experience that will win the day?
From this question springs the whole of Wild Bill's wild ride, involving not just the two sides of the Chicago Outfit, but cops and Feds as well. This is a very accomplished debut novel, which keeps many plates adeptly spinning, and reminded me in this sense of novels by John McFetridge and Declan Burke, and from there inevitably hearkens back to the crime fiction of Elmore Leonard. There is quite a lot of understated humor in this book as well. I probably should have taken a few notes so that I could quote you a few lines, but maybe it's just as well, as you will run across them yourselves.
As I'm not normally a huge fan of the Goodfella kind of mentality, it's probably understandable that I would be a tad more interested in the Feds and cops, though you couldn't by any stretch of the imagination make this a black and white sort of issue. But I would have liked to see more of fed protagonist Will Hickox's sidekick Ray Fa'alepo, and definitely more of Madeline "Mad" Klimak, a strong female protagonist who shows that King has a range beyond the macho trope. Maybe they'll appear in a sequel?