Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Shamrock Alley-Ronald Damien Malfi

Shamrock Alley
Ronald Damien Malfi
Medallion, Sep 2009, $24.95
ISBN 9781933836942

Secret Service agent John Mavio goes undercover in an effort to break up a particularly violent Irish gang working out of Hell’s Kitchen. He plans to end their lucrative counterfeiting operation. As a collateral action, Mavio also hopes to bring to justice two predominantly nasty gang members, two twenty-something age killers Jimmy Kahn and Mickey O’Shay.

To achieve his objective Mavio pretends to be a criminal wanting to buy counterfeit money from Kahn and O’Shay. They do not trust him and he knows it making him wonder if a snitch is in his office working for the gang. Still he persists trying to obtain evidence to send both behind bars even knowing the danger if they uncover his identity to himself and his family; and the realism that O’Shay has never been convicted of any crime even when a cop witnessed him killing someone; which adds to his fear for his loved ones.

This is an interesting Manhattan police procedural that looks closely at the gangs, drugs, and those living at the peripheral on gangbanger waste and charity scraps in the cesspool. Ronald Damien Malfi paints a dark gloomy Manhattan based on a real 1980s case. Although the story line is very straightforward and in some regards narrow, SHAMROCK ALLEY provides readers with a solid undercover investigation and more fascinating in a sad macabre way the life of gangbanger groupies, hanger-ons and dependents.

Harriet Klausner