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Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite
Elderly Bobby Valentine has his daughter drive him back into the Spanish section of Queens. They park and eat lunch at a cafe which features Italian food and Bobby remembers when a long ago time this cafe was the Starlight Club where Mafia "made" Yip and Red were the owners and ran their illegal businesses out of back private rooms. Yip and Red take really good care of their loyal followers, rewarding Trenchie for his unjust ten years in prison with a restaurant of his own, even letting the young meat deliverer, Bobby Valentine, place discreet bets while they lent him money that he needed for his family. Colorful unforgettable characters pass through these pages like Jimmy the Hat, a handsome hitman who actually succeeds as a movie star. Violence is the norm with rival Mafia organizations like the Gallos and the Profacis looking to move in on Yip's territory. Those were the days.
"The Starlight Club" is an enjoyable, well-written and well-edited book that tells accurately how, decades ago, the Italian Mafia were kings, with connections in politics, police and even Hollywood. Character portrayal is first-rate and the reader will come to appreciate, if not love, Yip, Red, Trenchie, Joey Gallo and the many other "wise guys". Author Joe Corso has created a memorable look into a world long gone as the streets of our country now see not just the Mafia but gangs from countries all over the world. The Prologue and Epilogue with Bobby Valentine looking back on his life as a young man are effective in telling the story. Finally, the plot moves smoothly, if rather violently, to its conclusion making "The Starlight Club" a must read for mystery and Mafia history lovers everywhere.