BoatGirl’s #CBR4 Review #52:They Always Win by Anthony M Pesare
The title They Always Win refers to the mafia in Rhode Island. The book cover states that it is “inspired by a True Story” and reading it did have me wondering who the real people were and how close this comes to real events. The author, Anthony M Pesare, is a former RI state and current RI town cop, so he certainly has the background and insight needed for a realistic story of the mafia.
The author’s protagonist, Gino, is a half-Italian state cop who grew up in a mafia run neighborhood, but made the decision to be a cop instead of a gangster due in part to his belief that his father was murdered in a mob hit. Trying to rise through the ranks of the state police, he studies the mob, with an eye towards taking them down. His opportunity arises when he is promoted to the special organized crime branch, whose one purpose is to combat the racketeering, drugs, gambling, murder and other crimes the mob runs out of RI. A made man takes the fall for someone else on a charge, is sent to prison, then realizes that the family is not actually going to look after him as he spends the rest of his life behind bars. So, he reaches out to Gino, offering information on an unsolved murder if Gino can help get him out for the crime he didn’t commit. One informant leads to another informant who leads to another crime and more informants. The mob has a very tight grip on the state – one of the crimes was a shooting which happened in front of multiple uninvolved witnesses, yet not a single person felt safe enough to call the police about it.
I found the overall story fascinating, and very different from the old-style view of the mob as an organization that takes care of its own. These people had no qualms about killing each other, often for no reason, and certainly didn’t take care of each other. The only benefit seemed to be temporary. However, the writing style was completely amateur. The inclusion of a love interest for Gino was entirely gratuitous and less well-written than your average 1970s Harlequin romance. Additionally, an editor should have taken a quick look prior to publishing and removed such inconsistencies as giving main character Frank Detroia’s nickname as ‘Bobo’ in the key at the beginning of the book, but referring to him as ‘Tiger’ throughout the story. Similarly, an editor could have made an executive decision as to the spelling of the crime family’s name – Ramondi or Raimondi.