First, the blurb ... Action packed, loaded with Higgins-like dialogue and clever, Leonard-like plotting, Wild Bill is more than a sure footed debut … it’s wonderful, a GREAT read.
Now, the link ... go get it!
Wild Bill Hickox had already logged more than enough time with the bureau to retire when a pesky pissant from the federal prosecutor’s office wanted to shut down a two year investigation into the Chicago mob (a.k.a., the outfit). Bill’s been after the capo di tutti capi, Gianni Bevilacqua, the last two years, but now that the S.O.B. croaked from natural causes, there’s a power struggle in the outfit that everybody is trying to keep from turning into a full scale mob war. His kid, Gianni Bevilacqua, Jr., wants his inheritance.
So does Francis Albert Ferraro (Frank to us), the guy’s been around the longest, even did some time recently. He’s underboss of the outfit and anxious for the last star on his lapel—that of undisputed boss.
Jr.’s got a crew of young turks much like himself, with not much upstairs and even less experience and/or patience. Frank has guys that have been around. Doesn’t look like much of a match until Jr. shows his balls when there’s an attempted hit on him.
In the meantime, Wild Bill does what he can to infiltrate Frank’s world one-on-one. It won’t be easy if a war erupts.
There’s Bill’s love interest in all this, Madeline Klimak, a former cop working as an insurance investigator, who catches Jr’s wrath while on the job (she’s been checking on somebody close enough to Jr. to warrant the warning). It reminded me of the incident between John Gotti and a truck driver … arrested for assault, the driver suddenly came down with amnesia when it was time to testify.
Madeline’s husband, Mitch, a dirt bag himself, works local O.C. and isn’t below shaking down hookers for the action he can’t get at home. He’s also managed to shake down Jr.’s comare (pronounced gumada) and learns information that will trigger the start of the war no matter what happens. This guy is a fly in anybody’s ointment, except nobody can sell him short. He, too, has been around …
One of my favorites is Vinnie Dominoes (you’ll learn how the monikers evolved as you read), who reminds me of a guy ate 5 meals a day, too* (see footnote below) … he’s been around and he knows the score … but can he survive the crossfire?
The author sports some of the most clever prose you’ll find. This one was not only spot on, it had me smiling ear to ear. Speaking of Frank’s old world connections: They’d been with him since they came out of The Patch together forty years ago, the last of the serious wiseguys to come from the West Side neighborhood that used to cough up talent for the Outfit like the Dominican Republic produced shortstops. Old school hoods who knew how to get what they wanted.
Wild Bill is a great character you’ll root for all the way as he tries to keep a lid on the power struggles in the Chicago mob. Those of us in the New York area will especially love the references to New York wiseguys (Gotti, Gaspipe and Persico), and a subculture of our society rapidly in decline. Fans of good writing in general will be more than satisfied; this is some of the best mob/crime fiction around, fact. Author Dana King has the chops to rival Elmore Leonard and thus, is probably heads above anybody else in the field. Wild Bill is a must read, amici. Get it now and look forward to this author’s future novels. You will not be disappointed—fact.
Action packed, loaded with Higgins-like dialogue and clever, Leonard-like plotting, Wild Bill is more than a sure footed debut … it’s wonderful, a GREAT read.
The author has a set of character bios right here.
TK Proud Announcement: Dana King (author of Wild Bill above) and I will be doing a book of short stories together. Mob Stories (or whatever we title it) will feature an equal number of mob short stories from each of us. We haven’t nailed down the details yet, but I asked Dana immediately after reading Wild Bill. The big publishing houses claim mob fiction is dead. We say, “Over here with your dead mob fiction. (Guess what we’re pointing at).
*One of my favorite midnight meals was octopus in gravy (sauce to yous nons) at the original Grotto Azzuro (it was up the street from me in Little Italy—forgetaboutit). Me and my partner used to go there around 3:00 a.m. a couple times a week; 69 Bayard (in Chinatown) the other nights. It was a beautiful thing ... and don’t kid yourselves, that part of the life I still miss ...
And since Wild Bill is about the Chicago mob (the Outfit), what better opera favorite (of Mr. Al Capone) than Vesti La Giubba?