You know Lorenzo Carcaterra's work. I mean, you know his
work. Does the television show "Law & Order" mean anything to
you? Carcaterra is a writer and producer for the program, which has
been on for how many decades now? In addition to that, three of his
novels --- APACHES, GANGSTER and STREET BOYS --- are in active
development for feature film adaptation. He has co-scripted Beyond
the Sea, which should be released soon. He's also…well you
get the idea. He's everywhere. My favorite "everywhere" for the
moment, however, is PARADISE CITY, Carcaterra's latest novel.
Carcaterra is a master at combining several different elements that
are lethal enough individually into an explosive mix. PARADISE CITY
is an example of Carcaterra at his best. His protagonist here is
Giancarlo Lo Manto. Lo Manto, born in New York City, moved to
Naples, Italy as a teenager. Now a policeman, Lo Manto wages a
one-man war against the Italian Mafia. His vendetta is the result
of a blood-oath he swore over the body of his late father, an
honest-working man who paid for his integrity with a violent,
senseless death on the streets of New York City.
Lo Manto is lured back to New York City due to the kidnapping of
his beloved niece by the crime family of Mafia boss Pete Rossi. Lo
Manto's police work in Naples has cut dramatically into Rossi's
overseas operations, and Rossi accordingly wants --- and needs ---
Lo Manto out of the way. Rossi sees some rough justice in bringing
Lo Manto back to his birthplace to die. Lo Manto, however, has some
very different plans. Fueled by the desire to rescue his niece and
avenge his murdered father, Lo Manto begins a systematic rampage
through the back streets and neighborhoods of New York City,
leading to a violent, apocalyptic climax between good and
PARADISE CITY is a violent, gritty tale of revenge and rough
justice. Fans of the crime/police genre will see the relationship
forming between Lo Manto and his NYPD babysitter, Detective
Jennifer Fabini, before the two even meet. But Carcaterra handles
the chemistry between the two so well that readers would be
disappointed if they didn't hook up! PARADISE CITY also
contains a subtle but very visible plug for "Law & Order."
Hopefully, that august program will at some point return the favor.
On the other hand, maybe that won't be necessary.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 14, 2011