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Shakedown: a novel of crime [Paperback]

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Item description for Shakedown: a novel of crime by Charlie Stella...

"Stella is a winner, a true artist."-Ken Bruen

"Stella is a kind of obscene Ring Lardner, finding a lean, rancid poetry in his characters' vernacular, and rendering it with flawless precision and humor."-The Washington Post Book World

"Deft plotting, acerbic humor, and a knack for street talk will delight fans of Donald Westlake and Elmore Leonard."-Booklist (starred review)

"Stella earns a place among the most readable writers in crime fiction."-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Fans of the leaner, meaner novels of Elmore Leonard have a great reading waiting in Shakedown."-Publishers Weekly

"Combine equal parts Mario Puzo and Elmore Leonard . . . and who do you get? Charlie Stella, that's who. His compelling and authentic portrayal of the urban netherworld places his crime thrillers among the best in the genre, past or preset."-The San Diego Union-Tribune

For three months now, ex-bookmaker Bobby G has been heading down the straight and narrow. He's got the girl and he's bought the ring. He's also stashed away a tidy, slightly tainted retirement fund. Then his old boss, a captain with the Vignieri crime family, flips and rats on his Mafia associates. And Bobby's past begins catching up with him. Soon the wise guys' shakedown is escalating into warfare in the heart of Little Italy.

Bobby G has got trouble.

Charlie Stella's first book drew favorable comparison with such masters of the crime novel as Mario Puzo and Elmore Leonard. Shakedown is his fifth novel. Stella and his wife Ann Marie live in Brooklyn.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   288
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 4, 2007
Publisher   Pegasus Books
ISBN  1933648406  
ISBN13  9781933648408  

Availability  0 units.

More About Charlie Stella

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Charlie Stella is considered one of the rising stars in crime fiction, whose style has been compared to Mario Puzo and Elmore Leonard. Mafiya is his sixth novel. He lives in New Jersey.

Charlie Stella currently resides in the state of New Jersey.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > General
3Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Shakedown: a novel of crime?

A Compelling Neo-Noir Thriller  Apr 27, 2008

"Shakedown" was my first Charlie Stella novel and it will not be my last by any means. Stella is a master of dialogue and atmosphere; indeed, his take on the mob and the mean streets of Manhatten reads like a Martin Scorcece screenplay. I cannot emphasize how authentic and captivating his dialogue and character interactions are written.

The story is simple enough yet, like so much of life, quickly escalates into unimagined complications. Bobby Gennaro was a non-made book maker working for the Mafia who decided he had skimmed enough bets for himself and "retired" to move into a new life which includes marrying his love Lin Yao.

Unfortunately, the mob is in a period of turmoil and one capo or captain after another is "flipping" or turning informant. The newest powers distrust Bobby because he retired only months before his boss "flipped" causing another power struggle along with retribution. As the former mobster's followers are "whacked" in a process of elimination, Bobby becomes higher profile than he wanted. A local captain decides to put the squeeze on Bobby for a portion of the imagined money he may have skimmed.

This sets in motion a series of events that ultimately entwine the Mafia, competing factions of the Irish mob, the Chinese triads (led by Lin Yao's cousin, Rickey Zhu), and, of course, a crooked cop. As Booby tries to traverse an ever increasing battleground in an effort to extricate himself from the Mafia's radar, he leaves behind death, mayhem, and betrayal. Bobby is likable, believable, and none too gentle as a foe of the mobs.

Stella writes in a fluid, literate style that captivates the reader and engages the reader in his character's world. His style truly reflects that of a screenplay; in fact, I would expect to see this work in movie form soon. There is a healthy dose of humor but only in appropriate good vs. evil interactions...his good guys are infinitely smarter than his bad guys. Only a rushed ending that ties up all the pieces in a few pages kept this from being a 5 star rating for me. I highly recommend this novel to devotees of the neo-noir thriller genre.
One of the best  Jul 8, 2007
One of the best crime writers working today. Charlie Stella is the real thing. He knows how to tell a story. Shakedown is a good place to start, but for my money, go back to the beginning and enter Eddie's World, move on to meet Jimmy Bench Press, then make the acquaintance of Charlie Opera, get to know the Cheapskates, and land on Shakedown to fully appreciate the range and development of this fine writer who earns and exceeds the comparisons to George V. Higgins, Elmore Leonard, and Donald Westlake. Charlie Stella's fiction never disappoints.
Light-hearted mob riff  Sep 30, 2006
I read this one based upon the recommendation of Gary Griffiths And ripped through it in one night. This is an enjoyable, fast-paced, humorous story in the vein of Victor Gischler or Steve Brewer. If you like funny crime stories where the heroes are clever, strong and brave and the bad guys are oafish and get what is coming to them, then you'll enjoy this. This one is meant to be fun, light reading and makes a nice change-up from the edgy, in-your-face, gritty realism that I normally read.

Bobby Gennaro is an ex-bookie, retired form the mob, trying to convince his Chinese girlfriend to marry him and live the American dream, when the mafia tries to shake him down for some cashola. Unfortunately Bobby tells them to take a hike. The story escalates and the violence spins out-of-control as first the Irish mob, and then the Chinese triads, get sucked into the escalating problem. The body count mounts until the final satisfying denouement. As I said this one is fun and light-hearted despite the violence and makes for a nice change-up. I'll be ordering more Charlie Stella for sure.
Fast, funny and violent  Sep 15, 2006
Ex-Mob bookmaker Bobby Genarro is not a Mafioso, he's just a guy who got caught up with the wrong people at the wrong time in his life. Things changed after he started dating the beautiful and fiery Lin Yao--Bobby quit his job, and began planning for a very different future, one that included marrying his paramour and moving far from New York's Little Italy, where he'd spent most of his life.

Intent on implementing this scheme, Bobby has purchased an engagement ring for Lin Yao, which he plans to give her at an opportune moment. Fate has other ideas, however, as former colleagues suddenly resurface, trying to extort money from Bobby on the orders of the new mob boss. Although he knows he'll have to pony up a token amount to get them off his back, the figure Bobby has in mind is nowhere near the sum the crooks demand. Unable to go to the law, Bobby scrambles to resolve the unfinished business from his past so he can pursue a brighter future.

Fast, funny and violent, Shakedown is crime fiction at its very best, recalling the work of masters like Elmore Leonard and Donald Westlake. An instinctive storyteller, Stella combines the humorous and the horrifying to great effect. The Little Italy he evokes lives and breathes, providing a realistic backdrop to the trials and tribulations of his very human cast, all of whom are very carefully drawn. Stella's cops and criminals are real people struggling with outsize problems, making for "arresting" reading.
Dagos and Goombas and Micks, oh My!  Sep 7, 2006
Charlie Stella indeed lives up to what the Chicago Sun-Times describes as "...the best crime writer you've never read." And after ripping non-stop through action-crammed pages of wise guys doing bad deeds, I couldn't help wondering: "why haven't I ever heard of this guy?" Check out the dust cover and just take a look at Stella - that mug screams New York, the mob, and "fuggetaboutit." With a street-hardened rawness that makes Puzo read like Mother Goose, Stella tells the story of Bobby Gennaro, recently retired bookmaker for the mob that simply wants to settle down and marry girl friend Lin Yao, raise a family, and leave the famiglia behind. Except the Soprano-boys won't hear of it, shaking Bobby down for a piece of the action he's stowed away during his wayward days. But in the world of Charlie Stella, the Italian mob isn't edgy enough, and soon Bobby finds himself in the middle of not only the Godfather's guys, but the Chinese mob, their Irish counterparts, and a crooked cop. Suspense builds between some raunchy sex and people getting turned into Swiss cheese, leading to an inevitable crescendo of even more violence.

But a word of fair warning to the gentle readers of Berkeley or Palo Alto: Charlie Stella must have been absent for diversity training: his frequent use of insensitive terms like "chink", "Dago", and "mick" may offend more enlightened ears.

But don't get me wrong - this isn't all sex, brutality, and political incorrectness. The dialogue is sharp and authentic, and there's even room for a street-smart priest to raise the book's levels of social redeeming factors. But not that much. So trust me - Charlie Stella is the real deal, a crime writer who "gets" the streets of New York and the thugs who walk them. This may have been my first Stella novel, but definitely not my last - I've already ordered two of his earlier works.

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