When you set your sights as high as Dana King did in Wild Bill, it's easy to fall down. The epic scope of this mob yarn offers plenty of pitfalls for a first-time novelist. But author King handles things with a steady hand, crafting something truly captivating and special in a crowded field of "Godfather" wannabes. It had my complete attention from start to finish.
The title character is working a long-term operation to bring down organized crime in Chicago. When the Outfit's leader dies, two rivals compete to take things over. It's up to Bill to play one off the other in hopes he can bring both to justice. He's got to do it before the plug is pulled on the operation, and before he winds up arrested himself.
The story is told through tight, concise writing that never misses a beat. The style lends itself well to the twists and turns. Author King writes like a tough guy, never revealing too much until the bodies start hitting the floor. Yet he paints a vivid enough picture that you feel you're right in the middle of things. You might even pick a side in the mob war.
That goes for the ending, too, which is so unexpected and unsettling, I'd put it up there with the elevator scene in The Departed. It's that good.
Wise guys, gun molls and other made men will want to pick this up. You will, too.