Friday, 21 September 2012

CHARLIE STELLA - JOHNNY PORNO


 
 
 


I’ve probably put off reading this for a couple of years now, not from any dread that it wouldn’t be any good but more from the realisation that once I’d read it, there was no more Stella on the TBR pile. You don’t always get that sense of anticipation with every book you pick up and crack the spine on.

Since I read his first offering - Eddie’s World a few years ago, I’ve tried to catch up and keep pace with all his novels. Fortunately, he has another one out this year. Unfortunately, as far as my pockets go, that’s another one to be added to the never decreasing wish-list.  

Eddie’s World, 2001

Jimmy Bench-press, 2002

Charlie Opera, 2003

Cheapskates, 2005

Shakedown, 2006

Mafiya, 2008

Johnny Porno, 2010

Rough Riders, 2012

Johnny Porno is populated with good guys, bad guys, good cops, bad cops, good women, bad women and a kid adored by his father. A tale set in 70’s New York concerning the mob cash-cow film Deep Throat which was banned at the time.  Johnny Albano is hustling for a living, trying to be a good father and meet his child support obligations, whilst lacking a regular union job after his temper exploded on the wrong guy. An opportunity to collect the mob receipts on the film probably wasn’t going to be the best decision he ever took.

Albano or Johnny Porno as he’s nicknamed, manages to get on the wrong side of the mob, a bent cop, a vindictive ex-cop and his ex-wife as well as her previous sex-mad spouse at various times throughout the book.

In a nutshell, there’s plenty of gritty action, character, dialogue, wise guys and sleaze throughout.  

Stella has been likened to George V. Higgins, and having read a few of his early books in the last couple of years, - The Friends Of Eddie Coyle and A Rat On Fire, I can see why. For me there’s no real comparison though, Charlie Stella has yet to disappoint.

My reading tally for this year is over 80, this is definitely up in the top 5, alongside Michael Zadoorian’s Leisure Seeker, Jeremy Dun’s Free Agent and Lynn Kostoff’s The Long Fall.   

Shame I can’t give it 6 out of 5!   

 

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