Sunday, August 9, 2015

GREENFELLAS reviewed in Hitchcock's!

Jackie Sherbow, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine:

"What do you expect when you pick up a novel about New Jersey mobsters?  Robert Lopresti's GREENFELLAS (Oak Tree Books, $17.95) has plenty of genre motifs, but it's the unusual characters, vistas, and twists that will surprise and amuse the reader.

"Legendary Sal 'the Screwdriver' Caetano is vying for the spot as head of the Napolito crime family after the impending demise of the current patriarch.  Sal, a widower, is 'even among Sicilians of his generation...a sentimental type' (despite his growing hit list and well-earned reputation).  After his daughter gives birth, Sal is struck with a crisis of conscience during his grandfatherly celebrations when a news report about the dangers of climate change interrupts musings about his granddaughter's bright future.  He enlists some experts and makes going green his first priority.

"Although Sal has always been known as forward thinking, the reactions to his new passion are mixed, to say the least.  While he tries to convince his compatriots of the cause and gather outside allies, changes in leadership and wavering alliances threaten.

"GREENFELLAS features a colorful host of secondary characters, including a computer geek with a belated realization as to who's payroll he's on, a squirmy double agent known to both sides as a seperate type of vermin, a Battlestar Gallactica-watching second in command, and a feminist rival borgata boss, among others up and down the mafia, law-enforcement and political hierarchy.   The chosen settings are equally quirky: A tense conversation occurs while overlooking a field of brightly clad yoga enthusiasts and a climax of the story hits at a picnic.

"Lopresti's multiple-viewpoint storytelling is peppered with clever juxtapositions and puns, but amidst the humorous aspects the characters also deal with betrayal, loss, and hope for the future. 'Caetano looked mostly like a successful small businessman who had been working too hard and had too much on his mind,' one character observes -- and, as the reader will realize, he is.  This idea is the heart of the book, which raises questions about morality both inside and outside the law.  The characters populating Lopresti's world are progressive and open in one instance, and closed off and ignorant in another.  They're shaking hands one moment, and shooting a gun the next.  They're human.

"In GREENFELLAS, Lopresti defies the reader's expectations in a contemporary way, and the result is a fun and suspenseful read."

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