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NOVEMBER 12, 2008
Paradise City ~ Lorenzo Carcaterra
I wasn't quite certain what I wanted to read in between this month's book discussions. I was browsing through our stacks when I came across Lorenzo Carcaterra. I have read two of his books and found his non-fiction book Sleepers, fascinating. So I picked up Paradise City and read it in two days. It's an easy read, fast paced, great dialog, interesting characters. Given this, I still can't give it more than a 3 star rating as the plot is a bit thin, the ending, a bit unrealistic, and what starts as a fun ride becomes sappy. And yet, the story was still fun. Who wouldn't love reading about a crime family to rival the mafia. The main character, Lo Manto is a Naples cop who lives life and savors good Italian cooking, both with gusto. He's a thorn in the side of The Camorra (they're real), an organized crime family with a presence in Italy and New York. The Camorra have been hit hard by Lo Manto's interference and lure him to New York to take him out by kidnapping his niece. On his arrival he's teamed with a tough female cop, Jennifer Fabini, who is like no woman Lo Manto has ever been partnered. Two characters I wished would have been more fleshed out were a young, homeless teen named Felipe (maybe another story?), and an english bulldog with bite, owned by an old blind man. Lots of action, bullets flying, street talk, nasty guys, over the top violence and a saga of revenge and justice. Carcaterra has written for Law and Order and knows the streets of New York. I think I'll try his Apaches, about New York city cops on the take. The soon to be released, Chasers is a follow-up to Apaches.