Tragic-Robert K. Tanenbaum

Robert K. Tanenbaum
Gallery, Aug 13 2013, $2600
ISBN 9781451635553

With the death of North American Brotherhood of Stevedores union leader Leo Corcione, a power struggle between brutally corrupt heir apparent Charlie Vitteli and ethical challenger Vince Carlotta explodes; as the latter accuses the former of being a violent crook. Vitteli’s henchmen end the debate when they assassinate Carlotta though the waterfront crime scene looks more like a robbery gone badly.

New York County DA Roger “Butch” Karp seeks evidence to take down Vitteli. Meanwhile his wife private investigator Marlene Campi meets a frightened potential witness at the East Village Women’s Shelter. That lead has her seeking several hit men with one of them probably the “masked robber” who pulled the trigger. Finding the killer and getting him to testify should prove Vitteli cannot wash the blood from his hands.

The latest entertaining Karp-Campi legal thriller (see Bad Faith) is an exciting tale when the focus is on union waterfront activity as those segments bring to life hard working workers and violent thugs. The fascinating courtroom segue is also well written; while the metaphorical references to Macbeth turn from intriguing to overused distractor. Readers will enjoy this tragedy wondering who will be the highest rank living official providing the final soliloquy.

Harriet Klausner

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