Murder Takes Time
By Giacomo Giammatteo
Reviewed by Angie Mangino
Rating: 4 stars
When is a crime novel not only a crime novel? To this reviewer, it is when the story is not a shoot-it-up surface action story alone, but when the novel gives the reader characters of depth that go beyond stereotypes.
From childhood the trio of Niccolo Fusco (Nicky, known as Rat,) Anthony Sannullo (Tony, known as Brain,) and Mario Frank Donovan (Frankie, known as Bugs) swore to be friends forever. They took an oath of friendship and honor, with only two rules: never betray each other and stick up for each other. Tony becomes a mob boss, Nicky a hit man, and Frankie a police detective.
The story starts in current day Brooklyn, New York; goes back 32 years, then 26 years, then 25 years ago to Wilmington; back to current day Brooklyn; then back and forth with Wilmington 21 19 years, etc.; concluding in current day Brooklyn after a foray to 3 years, 2 years, 20 months, 18 months, 1 year and 8 months ago in Brooklyn; with scenes 20 months ago in Wilmington and Hersey, Pennsylvania. Confusing? Yes, a little.
Although each chapter clearly denotes the time and place, this reviewer, once engulfed in the story, found the necessity of reading each chapter title to get a sense of place and time pulling me out from the intensity of the story. Unfortunately, this was the only reason the rating is not a five star one since the story was so good, and the characters were so compelling, that I found myself going back when I needed to fill in for the story and moving on.
Add in Mama Rosa, Angela Catrino, Sister Mary Thomas, Gina Small, and a cast of other characters who touched the lives of the three in major and minor ways. This is a look at the mob, hit men, the Catholic Church, and the police department that will make readers see them all in a different light, better understanding the nuances of the reality of life that make this story differ from the stereotypical view usually presented in such stories.
Murder Takes Time is the first in the Friendship and Honor series of books by Giacomo Giammatteo.