Tag Archives: mafia

Find Big Fat Fanny Fast

Book Review of Find Big Fat Fanny Fast, by Joseph Bruno

Find Big Fat Fanny FastI picked Find Big Fat Fanny Fast, by Joseph Bruno off of the KDP free list.

Description from Goodreads:
Since the start of the 20th Century, the Italians and Chinese in the Little Italy/Chinatown area in New York City have endured an uneasy truce. In the first three quarters of the century, the Italians ruled the neighborhood with an iron fist. But starting in the 1970’s, the dynamics began to change, as more Italians moved out and droves of Chinese began flowing into Chinatown from China. This did not bode well for Italian mob boss Tony Bentimova (Tony B), so he enlisted the help of his most trusted killer, Big Fat Fanny Fanelli, all six foot six inches and six hundred and sixty pounds of her, to ensure the Italians maintained control of all the illegal rackets in Little Italy, which was slowly, but surely being transformed into Chinatown.

Review:
I’m not sure exactly what I just read. I suppose it was a satire of some sort. And I suppose as a spoof it was pretty funny. But I have to admit it left me scratching my head a bit. For example, though there is a character called Big Fat Fanny Faneli, she isn’t by any means a main character. She shows up in chapter one, then the book jumps back tree generations and the next 45% of the book is dedicated to history. Fanny shows up again in the latter 1/3 of the book, but is still on the sidelines. So, other than sounding snazzy, why is she the title character?

I’m not just being snippy here. It’s a legitimate question. I’m not entirely sure I was able to pick out the point of the events that occurred, i.e. the plot. I’m not claiming it didn’t have one. It did. But just like the title of the book is focused on an insignificant character, the events leading up to the culmination of the novel seemed less than focused. Amusing, worth reading, but scattered and a little too far reaching.

Again, I do have to admit the book is funny. There is a lot of irony in it and anyone who enjoys mob stories would recognise the themes here, purposefully exaggerated as they may be. So for a fun, fast read it’s worth picking up…as long as you aren’t easily offended. I don’t think there is a group or race that isn’t insulted here. At least it is equally spread, so at no point does it feel as if any one grouping is being targeting for racist commentary, but there is no shortage of it.

Lastly, it had a perfectly good ending in place. It had wrapped up nicely and everything. Then it had to ruin it by going and tagging on a cliffhanger for book two. Grr. Still, the few hours it took me to read the book weren’t wasted.

Book Review: Murder Takes Time, by Giacomo Giammatteo

Author Giacomo Giammatteo (who has possibly the coolest name ever) sent me a copy of his new novel Murder Takes Time. This book had 25 5* reviews on Amazon.com when I got it. It has 26 now. 

Description from Amazon:
A string of brutal murders has bodies piling up in Brooklyn, and Detective Frankie Donovan knows what is going on. Clues left at the crime scenes point to someone from the old neighborhood, and that isn’t good.

Frankie has taken two oaths in his life–the one he took to uphold the law when he became a cop, and the one he took with his two best friends when they were eight years old and inseparable. Those relationships have forced Frankie to make many tough decisions, but now he faces the toughest one of his life; he has five murders to solve and one of those two friends is responsible. If Frankie lets him go, he breaks the oath he took as a cop and risks losing his job. But if he tries to bring him in, he breaks the oath he kept for twenty-five years–and risks losing his life.

In the neighborhood where Frankie Donovan grew up, you never broke an oath.

Review:

Oh yea,  a full five stars for this one! Murder Takes Time is ostensibly a pretty straightforward cops versus the Mafia murder mystery, but it doesn’t take long to realise that there is a lot more to it than that. Tony ‘the brain,’ Nicky ‘the rat,’ Paulie ‘the suit’ and Fankie ‘Bugs’ Donovan are fabulously conflicted characters, with full histories and a genuine desire to do right by their friends (even when failing miserably). You really feel for them (one in particular, but I don’t want to ruin anything).

“Rule number 2: Murder has consequences”, and so does everything else. This is a book that highlights impeccably the damage that can be done in the spur of the moment. It moves along at a good pace, never seems to drag more than necessary, throws a few red herrings at you to keep things interesting and ends on a high note. There is quite a lot of violence. The title should probably forewarn you of that. But despite being gruesome I never thought it became gratuitous or overly graphic. It certainly could have been and I don’t think the book would have been improved by it. Giammatteo walks a dangerously thin line on this one, but never steps off it in my opinion.

Definitely if you are a fan of The Godfather (especially the second one), Goodfellas, or Donnie Brasco you should race out and pick this book up. You’ll feel right at home.