Title: Gangland (2022) Author: Chuck Hogan Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Book jacket: Based on the true story of Tony Accardo, the longest‑reigning mob capo in history, Gangland is a Shakespearean-esque drama of integrity, lost honor, and revenge. Gritty and action‑packed, it is the ultimate gangster tale and Chuck Hogan's most thrilling novel yet. Joe says: Chuck Hogan serves up a feast of pulpy goodness that deserves to be savoured with a knife in one hand and a bottle of A-1 in the other.
Gangland is a helluva good read for all of the reasons one would expect. Set in the late 70s and dealing with the Chicago Mob – the Outfit – Gangland is full of tough talk and tough tension. Strong men turned weak with betrayal. Shrewd planning upturned with crazed indecision. Gangland is an in-your-face page turner of a story that is hotter than a stolen bracelet and cooler than a Lake Michigan breeze.
Based on the true story of Tony “Joey Batters” Accardo, Chuck Hogan breaks apart some of that Mob mystique that popularized Goodfellas and The Sopranos but he has no problem successfully playing in their shadows. Taking a nugget of Accardo truth, Hogan expands and plots on what a life of crime means, the rationalization of such a choice, and the endgame of its players. Gangland starts with a series of solo vignettes that perfectly draw together into a dramatic composite. A former capo is whacked. A perfect heist is thrown – but at the wrong jewelry store. An innocent drink is toasted at a guilty bar. And the throughline of it all is Nicky Passero, loyal soldier, low-level go-fer, and bowling lane proprietor. Using Passero, Hogan opens up a world of crazy intentions and misplaced honor that is both horrific to understand while remaining an alluring fantasy.
While Passero fights to restore his own family, Accardo tasks him to uphold duties to the Family. And as the cops and feds get ever closer, Accardo seemingly slips into self-delusion. Or is he becoming crazy like a fox? Nicky, meanwhile, has his own secrets that are eating him alive, when all he wants to do is bowl.
With Gangland, Chuck Hogan serves up a feast of pulpy goodness. One that deserves to be savoured with a knife in one hand and a bottle of A-1 in the other. And brother is it good.
Appreciation and gratitude to Grand Central Publishing for the book and the cannoli.