The downside to having an abundance of READ THIS listicles on the internet is that sometimes, books slip through the cracks. Rarely do I go into a library or bookstore without knowing exactly what I’m looking for. Sure, in the pre-Covid era, I could spend hours browsing but when it came time to check out, I’d usually go with what I know I wanted. There was a time when my shelves were just stacked with books I know I would never read and I’m seriously trying to cut that down.
However, this one was an impulse purchase. I got it against the advice of obscurity and low reviews on GoodReads because I was in a mood for mob tales. It sat on my shelf for over a year until I needed to down something quick.
I don’t want to overstate it: The Kiss Off isn’t a masterpiece. I only gave it three stars. But it’s a good, entertaining read by a talented writer. I have no idea who Jim Cirni is (was?) but he wrote three mob related books and disappeared off the scene for good. This was his first and I feel like he already had a good sense of location and characters. I was impressed by his ability to plot the tale and keep me invested. I only docked it a star because the ending dragged and the female characters, while still feeling real, are treated as disposable to the narrative.
Still, this is a great example of why sometimes it helps to browse. I’ll probably read his other two.