I found this book in Winnipeg, looking for The Don is Dead by Nick Quarry on behalf of Lantzvillager. He will have to explain how he found out about this author, but I'm glad he did. This is good, solid, workaday crime writing that was enjoyable from start to finish. à
It's the story of a Sicilian immigrant, Paolo Regalbaota in 30s who gives up the life of a budding gangster to take care of his wife and twins. Unfortunately, they get blown up in an extortion hit (they live underneath the restaurant where the protagonist is a waiter). It's already suggested that Paolo was a strong person, physically and mentally so when he comes out of the hospital he is ready and capable to get revenge. The fire that burned his home and family also scoured his emotional insides, leaving him brutally cold with one motivation: vendetta!
However, the scope of the novel broadens considerably, when he takes up with the second-in-command of a weakening Capo and works with him to fight back the capo's enemies as well as to take command himself. This ignites an all-out gang war with all kinds of hijackings, tommy gun battles, ambushes, raids and a lot of other good stuff.
The Vendetta does not contain the most elegant of prose, but it keeps moving along. I kept forgetting that it took place during prohibition because the writing style had a very '70s feel, which is when it was written. The neat details of the mafia's methods and the political affiliations between the various gangs (Jewish, Irish and Italian, and the subsets of the Italians: Sicilian, Neopolatin and others), the cops and the politicians make up for the anachronistic tone however and there is a ton of great action. A lot of dudes get their heads blown off. Good sex too.
I did a little research using The Internet and discovered that Nick Quarry is the nom de plume of Marvin Albert, one of these writers who cranked out a ton of paperbacks. I'll have to keep my eyes open for him as well.