Blood Sons: a mafia family

Three striking stories intertwine in this American fable of family and fidelity. The author uses a vicious minor mobster in New York to explore the influence of nurture over nature – and it’s a set-up that works surprisingly well. The Family is all about family… isn’t it? That’s just one of the crime-thriller clichés which…

World Gone By: the end of an era

  WW2 was tough on the American mob. The ample criminal opportunities provided by shortages and stressed policing were balanced by the gangs’ own issues – lack of decent manpower, the rise of fierce competition, the gradual erosion of the values which had made the Italian mafia all but invincible. The Feds are putting the…

Suburra: gritty, bitter Eurocrime

An Italian neo-noir thriller about organised crime in modern day Rome. Gritty, violent, explicit and enthralling, it depicts the semi-fictional events of a single week building up to its ultimate ‘apocalypse’. Suburra pulls absolutely no punches in its depiction of brutal, street level intimidation and corruption among politicians and the clergy at the highest level.…

Blue Blazes: modern urban fantasy meets old-time evil

Mookie Pearl is a great creation, a fictional protagonist who just for once isn’t gifted, handsome, wise-cracking or a wizard. He’s an ugly, pug-faced lunk (albeit an unusually intelligent lunk) who breaks heads and solves problems with blunt instruments as a mob enforcer. He’s a heavyweight of the underworld – and in this universe, a…

Beat The Reaper: a medical mafia masterpiece

This was a wicked delight to read. The initial idea of mixing medicine and the mafia seemed a little unlikely but the result is a gripping, witty, well-written page-turner. It indulges in instances of brutal violence, goes into graphic detail about the bloodier aspects of human anatomy, exposes personal holocaust histories, dabbles in recreational chemistry,…