Friday, March 23, 2007

Book: Everybody Kills Somebody Sometime, by Robert J. Randisi (2006)

You can have your rock’n’roll fantasy camps, your dude ranch getaways where grown men play cowboy, your baseball weekends where you take the field with the last of the Brooklyn Dodgers. My dream experience would require a wormhole. I want to be in Las Vegas in the early 1960s, when the Mob ran the town and the Rat Pack ruled the land.

So Robert Randisi’s latest novel is pure wish fulfillment. Eddie G is a Brooklyn CPA turned pit boss at the Sands. When Dean Martin starts receiving threatening letters on the set of Ocean’s Eleven, Frank Sinatra asks Eddie – as a personal favor – to get to the bottom of it.

All the boys – Sammy, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, even Henry Silva – are characters in this yarn, and Randisi nails ‘em all. He even captures behind the scenes figures like casino kingpin Jack Entratter. But above all, he brings the mood of that place and time to life: the booze, the broads, the hellzapoppin’ masculine energy, the devil-may-care attitude. I can’t actually wow a showgirl from the Sahara with tickets for Buddy Hackett and Patrice Munsel, so this book will have to do. I devoured it in one sitting, and can’t wait for the follow-up.

Miscellaneous Rat Pack Note #1: Henry Silva had one of his only cracks at a lead role in Johnny Cool, based on a Gold Medal paperback by John McPartland. No less an authority than Bill Crider has spoken highly of the film. Turner Classic Movies is scheduled to air it next Tuesday, March 27, at 6PM EST/3PM PST. My DVR is already set.

Miscellaneous Rat Pack Note #2: Through Rhapsody, I have discovered Sammy Davis Junior’s cover of the theme song to TV’s legendary flop My Mother The Car. I can’t stop listening to it.