My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The rise, during a couple of weeks in the 1963, of Russell Newhouse from Brooklyn College honor student to kingpen of a major crime organization.
Hestin fills his narrative with enough period detail to keep all the wild improbabilities and outrageous characters grounded in a very believable New York City. (Although some of it we may recognize because the cliches have been so embedded in our minds from movies and TV.) The momentum flags some in the second half, but from the time Shushan Cats, the most famous Jewish mobster in New York City, enters the Bhotke Young Men's Society in Brooklyn to arrange a funeral for his mother, Russell Newhouse finds himself adopted into a seductive world of money, glamour, and the kindly (?) attentions of the most erudite mobster character ever created.
Hestin creates laugh-out-loud episodes and also has characters let loose on several sacred cows of the period -- actually it's mostly the Kennedy family. The story reads like a fable, although the moral may be that you can justify just about anything. The book left me craving cold cuts and sharper suits.
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