Gangsterland: A Novel

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Gangsterland: A Novel has been named a top 10 Crime Fiction Audiobook of the Year (2016) by Booklist ALA!

This darkly funny crime novel is exceptional in audio. Sal Cupertine, Chicago hit man, ends his mobster career when he snuffs three undercover FBI agents. Spirited to Las Vegas, Cupertine is transformed into Rabbi David Cohen and becomes part of the “Kosher Nostra” crime syndicate. Cupertine is doggedly pursued by Jeff Hopper, the G-man who indirectly caused the murders of his colleagues. Narrator Heller understands the lead character is actually two people and adjusts his voice accordingly. Sal’s voice is rougher, more urgent; David’s is smoother, anxious, slightly higher in pitch. Listeners will catch the desperate, earnest tones in Jeff’s thoughtful speeches. Heller’s vocal talents stand out most with the secondary characters. He nails the Jewish accent and inflections in the warmly sinister lectures from Rabbi Kales. He pitches his voice a little higher for the youthful eagerness of young FBI agent Matthew. For Sal’s “widow,” Jennifer, Heller’s voice softens, and listeners will catch the sorrow and anger in her clipped responses to the agents. The majority of the book is exposition and description. Heller keeps the pace steady through these longer passages and detaches from the text so listeners can absorb the ominous noir humor and feel the suspense build. Highly recommended.