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I didn't get much out of the book. Strange story, but it really just felt like fluff. I just wanted it to end
I really liked this easy-to-listen crime novel with its dryly witty, yet dark, plot I'd sum up as:
Great Lakes Goombah Guns Down 4 G-men, Goes to Vegas, and Turns into a Tony with a Torah.
Rabbi David Cohen (aka Sal Cupertino, a 35-year-old shadowy hitman with a bad plastic surgery job) appears to go through a existential crisis-lite as he misses his wife and young son and considers the Torah that he's basically committed to memory (his mob nickname was "Rain Man"), but maintains his killer karma. While Mr. Goldberg has fun playing with the interplay among Italian mobsters, a hitman's rabbinical conversion and perhaps a reptilian shedding of the Jewish skin, he doesn't glamorize gangsters, the mob lifestyle, Jews or G-men. The novel maintains a diabolical darkness in 1990's Las Vegas despite the comedic diversions.
I'd not heard of Tod Goldberg before seeing the good reviews for this book, but he really seems to have hit his mark. I'll be looking forward to his next book.
If you loved "The Sopranos" and "Bugsy," you should revel in "Gangsterland."
My only complaint is the narration. I hate it when a narrator botches an easily recognizable, nearly household name, like Brett Favre (as Fave-ruh), a Hall of Fame QB, in an important part of the story, and then repeatedly mispronounces it. Of course, the Producer is just as much at fault for not correcting this.
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