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Roger "Butch" Karp takes on organized crime masquerading as union politics in bestseller Tanenbaum's overly ambitious 25th thriller featuring the New York County DA (after 2012's Bad Faith). Recently deceased union leader Leo Corcione left two prospective heirs: ruthless Charlie Vitteli and upstanding Vince Carlotta. Vitteli's thugs, led by brutal Joey Barros, set out to prove that the nice guy finishes last-by putting a bullet through Carlotta's head. Karp works to pin Vitteli to the crime, but when Karp's wife, ADA Marlene Campi, provides crucial testimony, the personal connection threatens to discredit both them and the case. Tanenbaum, himself a criminal lawyer, supplies fluid, authentic dialogue, but overlong courtroom cross-examinations drag down narrative momentum. On the plus side, the expansive cast of characters includes intriguing portrayals of the petty lowlifes who are both agents and victims of Vitteli's machinations. Constant allusions to Macbeth freight the book with grandiose expectations that are never met. Agent: Mike Hamilburg, Mike Hamilburg Agency. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Simplify, simplify, simplify. After several books that came close to collapsing under their own unnecessary weight, Tanenbaum takes the Butch Karp/Marlene Ciampi series back to basics, completely (finally!) ditching the distracting terrorism-themed story lines in favor of a meaty murder investigation and courtroom drama. A well-liked union organizer is dead, his murder arranged by a ruthless union boss (this isn't a spoiler: the author tells us whodunit right up front). District attorney Karp and his wife, Marlene, slowly build a case against the culprit, but does his corrupt reach extend into the halls of justice? Drawing inspiration from such diverse sources as the Elia Kazan film On the Waterfront and Macbeth (the killer as usurper of the throne; the three witches as a trio of homeless women), the novel is tightly plotted and, overall, feels very much like the early installments in the series, before the author started wandering off on thematic tangents. Series fans should be very happy.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist