Thursday, October 25, 2012

Benny Muscles In

Peter Rabe
Benny Muscles In

Prologue Books, 2012 (e-book)
(originally published in 1955)

Petty crook Benny with a funny last name Tapkow is tired of being a valet for his boss Pendleton. For seven years Benny was a driver for Pendleton, and now Benny wants to climb the criminal ladder. Only Pendleton does not want that, and when Benny shows independence, boss puts Benny into his place. Angered, Benny wants to get even with the boss, knowing his weakness, his daughter Pam, a wild thing, accustomed that her father in no way denies her wishes. Benny comes up with a plan of the kidnapping of Pam, enlisting the help of another crime boss, Big Al Alverato. But the kidnapping plan goes awry, and Benny plunges into the sea of problems.

The title «Benny Muscles In» was coined not by Rabe but his publisher. Initially the book was called «The Hook», and it is more appropriate to that history. On the surface this is a gangster novel, but in fact it is only the outer casing. «Benny Muscles In» is the story of a man who is struggling with his own emotions. To become a gangster, you need to disable feelings, and feelings are a drug, which is hard to get off. Emotions have ruined more than one gangster, Benny knows it. Hate, love, fear, and uncertainty – you need to get rid of it all. There must be only business. Struggle with feelings and emotions, that is at the heart of the book. Resort for dopers, bad kidnapping, escape from a former boss, inflating drug boss' daughter are all just Benny’s bad dream, his nightmare.

In this book there is so much sweat and dry tears, lick it, and you will feel the salt.

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