Andrew Coburn’s The Babysitter was a bestseller; his previous book, Off Duty, was hailed by the New York Times Book Review as “a flawlessly plotted, stylishly written account The rewards are many and exceptional.” Now, in Sweetheart, a novel about the Boston Mafia, Andrew Coburn has surpassed himself.
Revenge, the defining motif of this suspenseful tale of crime, is a joyous emotion in the Mafia. It figures in their use of tire irons to dismember the killers of the innocent, honored parents of Anthony Gardella, the local capo. And, over cocktails, a more sophisticated vengeance can be soughtby using a Beretta semi-automatic with silencer fired at point blank range.
Police Lieutenant Wade, code name “Sweetheart”, has troubles of his own. Wade is recruited by Russell Thurston, and FBI agent of immaculate grooming and soaring ambition, to infiltrate the Gardella family. As shock follows surprise, Wade finds himself caught in a dilemma: The police lieutenant’s sympathies are subtly drawn toward the all-too-fascinating charm of the mobster chief, until Wade, the honest cop, must make an agonizing choice. The man who always did what was right has to decide whether to cross the slim line between justice and corruption.
Andrew Coburn’s ear for dialogue and his eye for vivid characterization make Sweetheart superior and original entertainment as well as a grippingly authentic Mafia story.