Badfellas - Tonino Benacquista

UNDER cover of darkness, an American family moves into a villa in Normandy. Fred Blake tells everyone he is writing a history of the Allied landings. In fact, he is Giovanni Manzoni, a former Mafia boss who grassed on his colleagues and is now in the FBI

UNDER cover of darkness, an American family moves into a villa in Normandy.

Fred Blake tells everyone he is writing a history of the Allied landings. In fact, he is Giovanni Manzoni, a former Mafia boss who grassed on his colleagues and is now in the FBI witness protection programme.

Badfellas by Tonino Benacquista (�8.99, Bitter Lemon) is a terrific, boisterous and hilarious black comedy which will inevitably draw comparisons with hit TV series The Sopranos.

This is a strangely likeable family, considering the awful things that happen to people who cross them.


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The manager of the local supermarket insults Maggie behind her back and later that afternoon his shop burns down.

A plumber who angers Fred with delays and exorbitant estimates falls down the stairs and breaks his arms.

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Even the young son, Warren, starts a gang at school to intimidate the bullies.

The Manzonis are joined in their French village by the FBI team assigned to protect them.

And when an unbelievable and farcical coincidence blows Fred's cover, he is able to return to the violent life he misses as he saves his family from the Mafia gunmen sent to silence them forever. And we end up cheering him on.

It's easy to see this being turned into a film - it's violent, pacy and full of detail of everyday, humdrum lives, interspersed with the extraordinary.

If you like Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich, you'll love this. The best comedy thriller I've read in the past year.

- LINDSAY JONES

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