Act of Revenge

#2 -- RKT cover -- ACT OF REVENGE


ACT OF REVENGE is the 11th book in the Butch Karp series of legal thrillers.

To Butch Karp—a chief assistant district attorney with a formidable reputation as a brilliant and fearless prosecutor—the brutal assassination of Bollano family capo Ed Catalano appears to be a continuation of old-style wars between Mob families. But Willie Lie, leader of a Chinese gang called the White Dragons, insists that he and his cohorts were involved.

The case is further complicated by an unscrupulous and ambitious U.S. attorney looking to use the Mob murder to advance his political career. And, when Karp’s twelve-year-old daughter witnesses a Chinatown gang slaying, she suddenly becomes a target herself.

But Karp’s child isn’t the only loved one threatened. Karp’s wife, Marlene—a private security consultant specializing in protecting stalked and abused women—is delving perilously into the decades-old death of a notorious Mob lawyer.

As their two investigations intertwine, Karp and Marlene must race to find answers before two of New York’s most dangerous criminal organizations turn an unsuspecting city into a bloody battleground.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Veteran author Tanenbaum (Reckless Endangerment) pens a lethal family outing for series protagonist Butch Karp, his vigilante wife, Marlene Ciampi, and their linguistic prodigy daughter, Lucy, in this take-no-prisoners tale of mob violence, Asian incursion and political corruption that spans decades.
All become embroiled in a labyrinth of interconnected plot lines and intersecting lives during an Asian gangster’s plan to take over Italian mob turf in Little Italy next to Chinatown. Chief Assistant District Attorney Karp’s team is stumped when the usual mob suspects don’t pan out in the killing of Eddie Catalano, a capo for Big Sally Bollano, don of the Mafia crime family, but he has bigger problems when two Hong Kong triad biggies are murdered in Chinatown.
Karp’s daughter, Lucy, witnesses the killings, but refuses to talk because it would endanger the Chinese family she grew up with. Pressure mounts when Lucy is roughed up by Vietnamese goons before being saved by the mysterious Tran, Marlene’s devoted Vietnamese muscle. Meanwhile, Marlene is hired by the wife of Little Sally Bollano, nutcase son of the mob boss, to prove that her father’s suicide when she was 16 was really murder.  This is a job that twists into the Chinatown killings, ignites the Bollano family, exposes a corrupt judge and almost costs Marlene her life.
The closed society of Chinatown proves a formidable barrier to police probes and only Lucy and Tran can make headway and flush the killer when attacks on the Karp family get starkly personal. Former New York City homicide chief and trial attorney Tanenbaum has crafted a believably twisted gem of a gangster tale with visceral action and smooth comic relief in a technicolor, Big Apple setting that waxes nostalgic for the gentleman killers of yesteryear. Lucy is an engaging adolescent addition and Karp’s quirky extended family provides enough depth for years of sequels.  Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.


As former chief of the Homicide Bureau in the New York district attorney’s office and an enormously successful trial lawyer, Tanenbaum knows as much about mayhem and the people who commit it as anyone writing today.
Butch Karp, chief assistant New York DA, and his cohorts are trying to figure out the who and why of an important mafioso’s murder. Karp’s wife, security consultant Marlene Ciampi, is puzzling over a case of her own involving a Mafia wife and is almost killed in the process. Karp’s 12-year-old genius daughter, Lucy, a language whiz and as inscrutable as her Chinese friends, turns out to be important to both cases and at serious risk.
Chinatown Tongs, Asian Triads, Vietnamese gangs, the ever-popular Mafia, and a handful of freebooters are all involved in the body count. This colorfully written and cleverly plotted novel will be another winner for Tanenbaum. Budd Arthur

Kirkus Reviews

Fasten your seat belts for the bumpiest ride in Butch Karp’s long career with the New York D.A.’s office, a case that expands until it gobbles up his wife and daughter.
Butch’s latest brief is the execution of Salvatore Bollano capo regime Eddie Catalano, whose rival Joe Pigetti, the obvious candidate for pulling off the hit, has an alibi this wide. While Butch duels with US Attorney Thomas Colombo over who talks to whom about what with which guarantees, his wife, domestic-abuse-vigilante Marlene Ciampi, is busy with her own nest of hornets far from the usual turf of her security agency.  The widow of Jumping Jerry Fein, who dived from the observation deck of the Empire State Building 20 years ago, suddenly wants the case reopened. (Why now? wonders Marlene. And why do so many people object?)
Busiest of all, though, is Butch and Marlene’s daughter Lucy, 12, who was witness to a murder at the Asia Mall. Now the shooter is very interested in Lucy and the two friends who were with her, Mary Ma and Asia Mall offspring Janice Chen. In real life, or in Tanenbaum’s last novel (Irresistible Impulse, 1997), these three cases would never come within a mile of each other; here, they’re wound together tightly enough to make most readers beg for Motrin.
As usual, Tanenbaum pulls off a hundred effective scenes in a dozen different tones.  His affection for Butch’s knockabout, have-it-all family is neatly balanced by his brisk malice in showing them and their legion of well-armed allies facing down killers and kidnappers and TV hosts.  The mind-boggling plot, which Marlene compares to an Elizabethan revenge tragedy, is rife with double-crosses, legal maneuvers, and killings. And, it’s no surprise when the climax shows Marlene under deadly attack by two parties who don’t even know of each other’s existence.  It all adds up to too much of a very good thing indeed. — Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


“A suspenseful thriller.” — Bozeman Chronicle

“Act Of Revenge not only thrills but also entertains.” — Orlando Sentinel

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