Set in the Bronx and Brooklyn, this is a grisly and graphic story of mob murder, dismemberment, and torture, along with the businesses of protection, loansharking, and money laundering. Tommy Pagano, the sous-chef at a small restaurant, who was cared for as a child by his mob-connected uncle Sal Pitera, finds himself up to his prime rib in dangerous mob business when Sally wants payback. Sandwiched between bloodthirsty racketeers on one side and equally threatening and sinister investigators who want him to give up Sally and his "friends" on the other side, Tommy has more than ample reason to fear for his life.
Suspense and horror are leavened throughout by humor, which comes mainly from absurdities--a hitman standing naked while he dismembers a body in order to protect his clothes, a chef upset because someone used his kitchen knife instead of a boning knife, a mobster telling a hitman that his actions were "bush." This is primarily a fast-paced story of murder and mayhem, with humor on the side and lots of insights into the restaurant business. Local color, realistic-sounding (and often funny) wise-guy dialogue, an engaging main character with whom we sympathize, and investigators who are sometimes as venal as the men they investigate will keep you reading well into the night. Mary Whipple