Finished: Bad Guys by Eugene Izzi, 1988, 0312017332.
A couple weeks ago my library received a documentary about Jeffrey Dahmer. That got me to thinking about a guy in Champaign, named Hart Fisher, who, in 1992, released a comic book about Dahmer. The comic was gory - I never read it - and made a big splash in the press. A big cause of that wave was from the relatives of Dahmer's victims driving down from Milwaukee and protesting at Hart's house.
Hart relished in the press attention (his reaction seems to have been a mix of disbelief, indignation, and youth) and hosted a backyard cookout as a counter-protest. I looked the Hart up and saw an online commentary by him in 2008 where he mentions Eugene Izzi and Izzi's suicide. Or murder. I think the cause of Izzi's death is still under debate.
I read an Izzi novel when I was in high school. The Take. The Take must have been one of the first adult novels I read, along with Joseph Wambaugh's work, that had a lot of grit with plenty of sex and violence. I recall sitting with a teammate before football practice and loudly trying to detail the plot in a misguided teen attempt to impress the redheaded, lady athletic trainer standing 15 feet away from us. My teammate didn't give a damn about the story either.
Anyway. Chicago policeman Jimbo Marino has been undercover for three months trying to bust a mob outfit. Jimbo has gathered a lot of information about his mob patron, Barboza, but GiGi Parnell (a guy who Jimbo put away several years ago) is coming out of prison. GiGi Parnell has business with Barboza so Jimbo is pulled off the undercover assignment before he is recognized. Jimbo is upset. Jimbo wanted to stay undercover, gather more information, and work his way up the outfit ladder to bust Barboza's bosses.
All sorts of things happen. Jimbo is as much crook as cop now. GiGi used to write death letters to Jimbo from prison and Jimbo does not like admitting his fear of GiGi. GiGi is a violent nut on the loose. Jimbo's investigation is used for a press conference by a federal prosecutor looking to make political moves. Barboza is under a death sentence for letting a cop into the mob. GiGi wants to kill Barboza because Barboza owes him $20,000. Jimbo has to send his awful ex-wife away for safety. GiGi hooks up with a kinda ditzy gold digger.
Mix things together for a good read.
1. Jimbo has a Beretta. This was right after the Army's adoption and when all the police departments were moving over from wheelguns.