Why Charlie Stella is my favorite American crime writer, Part I
"`Let's go,' DeNafria said. `Maybe I can get him to spill something on his expensive threads.' ...A good part of the texture of a novel comes from the bits between the main action, and no one does those bits better than Charlie Stella; the man is a fine comic writer.
"It took a few minutes before Quastifarre was holding onto a frankfurter loaded with onions and mustard. DeNafria called to him just before the gangster took a bite.
"`Hey, Joe Quack!' he yelled. `Joe!'
"Quastifarre turned too quickly and spilled a combination of mustard and onions onto his shirt. He slapped at it with his free hand and wound up smearing some onto the waist of his pants.
"`Motherfucker!' he said through clenched teeth."
But Shakedown, perhaps more than the five novels of Stella's I'd read previously, is a serious look at character and characters in the low- and mid-level mob world. Think Stella mines violence for cheap, morally objectionable laughs? Follow the character arc of mob hangaround John Forzino through Shakedown.
© Peter Rozovsky 2012
Labels: Charlie Stella