A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself: A Novel

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Loneliness has become Rena Ruggiero’s cross to bear in life. Her husband, Vic, was a mafiosi who was gunned down on their front porch a few years back. Rena is estranged from her daughter, Adrienne, and consequently her granddaughter, Lucia. Her only comfort is her daily trek to mass each day. Things begin to change when she is courted by her neighbor Enzio. She resists his advances and bashes him on the head with an ashtray when he won’t take the hint. She flees in his car and travels to the Bronx where she is hopeful Adrienne will give her sympathy and shelter. She is spurned by Adrienne but meets Lacey Wolfstein, a retired adult actress and latter-day grifter. Wolfstein is intrigued by Rena, loathes Adrienne, and chooses to aid Rena in gaining access to see Lucia. Chaos ensues when Adrienne’s boyfriend, Richie, pulls a power play in his mafia family, leaving scattered bodies and the man who got away out for blood. Everybody ends up at Wolfsteins, and bullets and other instruments fly. In the aftermath, Rena, Wolfstein, and Lucia steal a car along with a bag of mob cash and hightail it upstate. But will they get far enough away to breathe a sigh of relief?

A Friend is a Gift You Give Yourself is nothing short of a masterpiece of crime fiction. The story weaves through different narratives, but they all synch up in human carnage and the emotions, which are written deftly and sympathetically. The female characters possess tough inner strength and sharp wit, while the men are brutal but also sentimental. The story never wavers in drawing the reader in wholeheartedly with every word. A++

Reviewed By:

Author William Boyle
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher Pegasus Books
Publish Date 2019-03-05
ISBN 9781643130583
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue May 2019
Category Mystery, Crime & Thriller


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