Jimmy Mangino figures he’s overdue. Already he’s done two stretches in the joint. But he’s back, and he’s still a good earner for the family. You got a loser you need to lean on, Jimmy lends his strong arm, and he doesn’t flinch at murder, not for the Vignieris. He also bench-presses four hundred pounds. Jimmy wants to be a made man. Alex Pavlik wants to take Jimmy down. Pavlik, the edgy Polish cop who tailed Eddie Senta in Charlie Stella’s enthusiastically reviewed debut, Eddie’s World, has been transferred to Organized Crime from Homicide, where his short temper, keen sense of justice, and too-ready prizefighter’s fists have proved to be a volatile combination. Tough-talking, taut, and craftily plotted, Stella’s second novel takes Pavlik and his new partner, another New York police detective, John DeNafria, into the shifty world of Jimmy Bench-Press when wannabe-mobster Larry Berra hires Mangino to collect on a bad loan to a sixty-three-year-old Italian barber with a Cuban girlfriend. Jimmy’s got his fingers in any number of illegal pies, from extortion to murder, among purveyors of drugs and porn. Enough to get a man made, maybe.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was the first Charlie Stella novel I have read, and intend to read more, which is about the highest level of endoresment I can give. This was a quick read, chock full of excellent dialogue, fast moving plot, and plenty of action. I am not a fan of police procedural mumbo jumbo, and the author does a great job of keeping the two detectives from getting to much into that. If you like stories about bad guys, doing bad things (like I do) this is a story you will love.
My first foray into Charlie Stella's writing, and I really enjoyed it. His voice and style are great -- I love how this book is so driven by dialogue, and each character, even bit players, are individual and memorable. Jimmy Mangino, aka Jimmy Bench-Press, may be the title character be he is just one in an ensemble of characters that tie this book together. I got a kick out of watching all the machinations and betrayals weaving through the story, and the tribulations in the lives of the characters who actually fill the roles of "good guys" that make them do things we wish they wouldn't. A fine, quick read. Can't wait to read more from Charlie Stella!
This is a very good crime thriller.It's full of well-drawn characters(DeNafria and Pavlik are great-let's see more of them!)and very realistic prose.Well-written,fast-paced and suspenseful.Good fun for thriller fans.
I loved reading this book- usually I don't read crime novels- but this as well as his first book Eddie's World were so good. I'd reccommend it to anyone who like their books real and a little raw. WONDERFUL!!! A great read for everyone
JIMMY BENCH-PRESS Charlie Stella. Carroll & Graf, $24 (224p) ISBN 0-7867-1057-8 Jimmy Mangino can bench-press 400 pounds or maybe more after spending time jerking iron in the pen, and now he¹s back on the streets and moving to establish himself in the New YorkNew Jersey turf in Stella's second fast-paced, brutal crime novel (after 2001's Eddie¹s World). Looking to become a made man with the local Mafia and to line his own pockets as quickly as possible, Jimmy gets in on various scams involving loans that are due and porn movies, leaving a wake of maimed and cooling bodies behind him. Cops Alex Pavlik and John DeNafria with Organized Crime know his history, but he¹s just another head buster as far as they¹re concerned. Anyway, they have their own problems: Pavlik, shuffled from department to department because he can¹t control his fists, haunted by images of the victims of a child-murderer he nabbed; DeNafria, caught up in a divorce he can¹t accept. To the cast add a would-be tough guy, the wannabe¹s beautiful girlfriend, some Russians and Koreans, swingers and porn stars and more. Stella moves confidently into territory staked out by Elmore Leonard, though he isn¹t quite as funny or as adept at interlacing his plot lines. Stripped down to essentials, the completely lean prose style ["She spit fragments of her front teeth onto her lap"]ought to do the job for fans of unrelenting underworld fiction, while the squeamish may wish to give this one a pass. (Dec. 9) Forecast: This solid follow-up to Eddie¹s World should spread Stella¹s name wider.