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The Old Turk's Load
     

The Old Turk's Load

by Gregory Gibson
 

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Angelo DiNoto is the most powerful crime lord in New Jersey, his empire bolstered by pure heroin imported from an old Turkish farmer. But when a five million dollar shipment goes missing during the Newark riots of 1967, DiNoto isn’t the only one willing to turn over every rock—and bust some heads, arms, legs— to locate it. Shady developer Richard Mundi

Overview

Angelo DiNoto is the most powerful crime lord in New Jersey, his empire bolstered by pure heroin imported from an old Turkish farmer. But when a five million dollar shipment goes missing during the Newark riots of 1967, DiNoto isn’t the only one willing to turn over every rock—and bust some heads, arms, legs— to locate it. Shady developer Richard Mundi sees the heroin as the key to replenishing his fading business with new capital. His daughter Gloria, literally in bed with a band of wannabe revolutionaries, believes the lucrative stash might be her ticket out of her father’s domain. A longtime postal clerk disfigured by cancer thinks finding the drugs is the perfect cap to a failed life.

With an Elmore Leonard-esque cast of characters rampaging across Newark and Manhattan, The Old Turk’s Load is a twisty historical crime novel whose disparate thread leads directly to an unforgettable showdown over the “old Turk’s load.”

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
First-time novelist Gibson delivers an assured, complex PI story that opens during the 1967 Newark riots, when a load of Turkish heroin ($5 million value) imported by Mafia crime lord Angelo DiNoto goes astray. Nostalgia, noir, and narcotics are blended together into a runaway train journey of a story that careens down the track at breakneck speed, carrying along characters who include addicts, alcoholics, federal agents, enforcers, activists, crooked cops, fiery sophisticated females, the Mafia, and protagonist PI Kelly. The dissolute Kelly has a brain injury, and his cerebral misfiring lends authenticity to the overall narrative structure, which often luxuriates in bizarre scenarios delivered in frenetic prose. Although initially hired by the corrupt property developer Mundi to keep tabs on his radicalized daughter, Kelly is drawn into trying to retrieve the missing heroin, which Mundi has acquired. VERDICT Breaking new ground in crime fiction with his unusual protagonist, Gibson gets a gold star for deftness, great writing, lethal encounters, mayhem, murder, and bleak black humor.—Seamus Scanlon, Ctr. for Worker Education, CUNY
Publishers Weekly
The 1967 Newark, N.J., riots form the backdrop for Gibson’s quirky, amusing first novel. Farmed on “a remote Anatolian plateau” by an old Turk, “ten plastic sacks of diacetyl morphine” arrive in New Jersey in the care of the notorious Street Brothers, who promptly lose the load during the chaos of the riots that summer. The mob wants it back, but the eccentric Mailman sees it as a shot at a better life. Meanwhile, a businessman hires Manhattan PI Walkaway Kelly to spy on his daughter, the heiress Gloria Mundi. Gloria is dabbling in subversion with “the well-known revolutionary” Kevin Gallagher, a mole for the feds. Kelly’s world-weary observations anchor the action: “If there was a genetic predisposition to the low life, this poor bastard had it.” This well-handled caper novel recalls the late great Donald Westlake. Readers will want to see more crime, and more comedy, from Gibson. Agent: Neeti Madan, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
“Gibson’s elliptical, ever-evolving plot seems a marriage of Raymond Chandler complexity and Donald E. Westlake comic haplessness, but he imbues his characters with a kind of desperate humanity that is brilliantly played out when Manhattan goes dark in the famous 1967 blackout. The sense of time and place is wonderfully evocative, and The Old Turk’s Load will be a signal pleasure for crime-fiction aficionados.”
Booklist [HC starred review]

“The narration of R.C. Bray is perfection in almost every aspect. A gripping good read, this audiobook is a real pleasure.”
Library Journal [starred review]

Booklist
“Gibson’s elliptical, ever-evolving plot seems a marriage of Raymond Chandler complexity and Donald E. Westlake comic haplessness, but he imbues his characters with a kind of desperate humanity that is brilliantly played out when Manhattan goes dark in the famous 1967 blackout. The sense of time and place is wonderfully evocative, and The Old Turk’s Load will be a signal pleasure for crime-fiction aficionados.”
Booklist [HC starred review]

Kirkus Reviews
Several pounds of uncut heroin, derailed from their intended recipient by the 1967 Newark riots, attract the lethal attentions of a motley crew in Gibson's debut thriller. Woody and Vince Street, partners but not brothers, unexpectedly lose control of the Porsche they're driving to a mob that has no idea what a fabulous cargo it contains. So, it's left to DiShaun Smoot to claim it for his boss, old-time enforcer Julius Roth, whose own boss, paper millionaire Richard Mundi, is running a development partnership that can really use a shot in the arm. But since Angelo DiNoto, Woody and Vince's employer, isn't about to take the loss of $250,000 to $5 million--after it's cut and distributed--lying down, he sends his own enforcers after Mundi. Mundi's daughter Gloria sees the H as fuel for the amateur terrorism of the self-styled revolutionaries she's been hanging around with. When Mundi hires private eye Walkaway Kelly to tail Gloria in order to separate her from Kevin Gallagher, the grandiose agitator she's been closest to, Kelly gets the zany idea that the key to the troubled relationship between father and daughter is the death seven years ago of Agnes Day Mundi, Gloria's actress mother. Nor are these the only wild cards in the deck. Harry Jarkey, the investigative journalist who doubles as an investigator for Kelly, soon develops his own interest. So does the Mailman, a messenger whose laryngeal cancer has left him talking through a blowhole in his neck. The Mailman doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but neither does the rest of this crowd. So it's anyone's guess who'll be the last man (or woman) standing. An overcaffeinated noir farce enlivened by many cartoon fatalities. Just the thing if you're really stoned and don't have to pass a quiz on the plot.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802193537
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
04/02/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
830,545
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

Gregory Gibson has been an antiquarian book dealer since 1976. He has published three non-fiction books and writes an influential weekly blog on the book trade called "Bookman's Log." He has homes in Gloucester, Massachusetts, Cork City, Ireland, and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, but in his imagination he inhabits an undiscovered Raymond Chandler novel somehow set in Manhattan in the 1960s.

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