Monday, May 05, 2008

LUCK BE A LADY, DON'T DIE by Robert J. Randisi

Robert J. Randisi is one of the hardest working writers currently producing and his work is reliably entertaining, action-packed, and good fun. He has written a broad variety of popular fiction over his twenty-five year career--Westerns, both series and stand-alone, mystery, action, and even horror. He reintroduced me to the Western early in the twenty-first century with his fine novel Miracle of Jacal and downright wowed me with his police procedural Alone with the Dead, the first of his impressive Joe Keough series, and now he's at his best with the latest Rat Pack novel, Luck Be a Lady, Don't Die.

Luck Be a Lady, Don't Die opens six months after the filming of the original Ocean's Eleven. Eddie Gianelli--Eddie G to his friends--is back at his post as a Sands pit boss when he learns his new friends, the Rat Pack, are expected back in town for the premier of the film. Eddie isn't expecting much so when Dean Martin summons him, Eddie is pleasantly surprised; and even more surprised when Martin asks him to help Frank with a problem. His new paramour, who was supposed to meet him in Vegas, has disappeared. Frank assigns New York heavy Jerry Epstein to watch Eddie's back again, and with good reason, because it doesn't take long for the body-count to rise and for Eddie to realize things are going to get a little personal.

Luck Be a Lady, Don't Die is a terrific private-eye novel--Eddie G is a likable, hip, sarcastic, and tough protagonist. The supporting cast is strong. The New York import, Jerry Epstein--don't call him torpedo--is perfect. He brings a straight-faced humor to the story that elevates it well beyond the usual. And his appetite for pancakes and playing the horses is seemingly endless; in a good way.

The background characters--the Rat Pack, Sam Giancana, Jack Entratter--help create the glitzy, cool atmosphere of 1960s Vegas; you know, before it was dummed-down to Disneyland in the desert. The mystery is top-notch and there is more than one kink in the final pages. The reader, as well as Eddie G and his small gang, are in the dark until Randisi expertly reveals the intrigue.

Luck Be a Lady, Don't Die is Randisi's best work since the Joe Keough novels, and if you like American-style mysteries, hip private eye stories, or just an entertaining and enjoyable read you can't do much better. And I hope Randisi has plans for one or two more of these.


dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie Ben, like thanks so much dude for the heads up on this cool new Rat Pack caper...had heard from 'nother pallie 'bout this, but so very much appreciate the glowin' review.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the glowing review. Glad you like reading the books as much as I like writing them. The third, HEY THERE, YOU WITH THE GUN IN YOUR HAND, will be out in December. A fourth will come the following year.


Ben Boulden said...

Bob: I'm glad to hear you have two more Rat Pack novels in the works, and even better that the third has a release date.

I think the cover art for the first two books has been great, and I hope the third and fourth are at the same level. And, needless to say, I can't wait for HEY THERE, YOU WITH THE GUN IN YOUR HAND to hit bookstore shelves.

Also, if you read this, do you have anything else coming out in the near future?