Gangland by Chuck Hogan 2022

When I read a review of this book in the New York Times and saw the words ‘Tony Accardo’, I was hooked.

I grew up from the age of 8 in River Forest, a small, toney suburb of Chicago, which was primarily known for its population of mobsters, including the reputed Boss, Tony Accardo.  His son, Joey, was in my class at Oak Park-River Forest High School and I knew him well enough to be invited to a party at his palatial home only four blocks south of our modest house.  During the party which included bowling at the two alleys in the basement, I used the rest room, got lost in the corridors while returning to the bowling, and opened a door along a corridor.  Inside was a smoke filled room with 6 or 8 guys sitting around a conference table playing cards.  Several of them were wearing shoulder holsters with guns in them.  I mumbled an apology, left, and managed to control my sphincter to return to the party.

The book takes place in part in that very same house with a description of that conference room, though Hogan changed the address and street.  It’s an action-packed, tense tale about Accardo, a ruthless gang boss, and Nicky ‘Pins’ Passaro who through a series of serendipitous events becomes Accardo’s messenger and assassin, as the Boss struggles to maintain control over the Chicago mob.  In reading Accardo’s bio on Wikipedia, it became clear that much of the book is based on real-life events which Hogan embedded in this fine crime novel.

It’s a page turner with vivid characters, fast-paced action, and a credible plot that kept me moving through its 330 pages at high speed.  I highly recommend it even if you never were in Accardo’s mansion.