Robert Randisi’s latest Rat Pack Mystery

… “It Was A Very Bad Year” — just landed on my Kindle.

As you probably know by now, I love these Rat Pack Mystery novels; and I’ve been anxiously awaiting this — the seventh in the series — since this time last year (check out my previous Rat Pack Mystery reviews here & here).

Randisi turns out fun, immersive, Dashiell Hammett-esk detective stories that are set in Las Vegas and Hollywood (mostly), and steeped in the milieu of the extended Rat Pack (Frank, Sam, Dean and their constellation of hangers-on) at the height of their careers and influence. It’s easy, fun reading … a great Sunday afternoon escape.

Invariably in this series one of the Rat Packers gets into some sort of trouble and Sands Casino pit boss, and friend of Mr. Sinatra — Eddie Gianelli — is called in to “do Frank a favor”. With Jerry — Eddie’s buddy … the very large, lovable, Mafia torpedo — along for the ride, things get interesting in a hurry as they attempt to make the problem go away.

This time ’round…

…it’s Joey Bishop’s wife that starts the ball rolling with a bit of a blackmail issue. But this is 1963 … and as the title suggests “It Was A Very Bad Year” for Frank Sinatra with the bombshell of Jack Kennedy’s assignation, and the kick in the gut of Frank Jr.’s kidnapping.

My book queue is full-up at the moment so I can’t offer a review until later this month … hmmm, maybe a fun T-day week read is in order! However, I must admit that the cast of characters arrayed for the 7th in the series doesn’t quite have me as enticed as usual — I much prefer seeing Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe or the core Rat Packers as the central characters rather than Bishop’s wife and Frank Jr.

That said Randisi has never failed to craft a fun, sexy, action packed “who done it”, with interesting tie-ins to the real happenings of the day; all generously larded with the ambiance of 60’s Rat Pack era Vegas … I have confidence that’s where I’m headed when I do start turning the pages (virtually of course) on the next Rat Pack Mystery — “It Was A Very Bad Year”.

I’ll let you know in a few weeks, but don’t wait on me! If your up for some swing’n, murder mystery fun, dive on in!

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Smash star – Megan Hilty…

… will swing with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center on November 23-24 in a show titled Luck Be a Lady: Megan Hilty Sings Sinatra and More (NSO event link). 

Apparently Seth MacFarlane was set for shows on those days but had to cancel out … I really like Seth and his foray into the American songbook, but Megan is a fabulous singer and MUCH easier on the eyes!

In addition to paying tribute to the music of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack (Dean Martin & Sammy Davis Jr.), Hilty — former Broadway musical star from Wicked, 9 to 5 and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes — will perform from the catalog of Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James. Wow … what a show.

Man this sounds like a kick…

After seeing a superb concert with Natalie Cole and the Austin Symphony Orchestra earlier this year, I really wish I had room in the VS schedule to dial in Megan’s Luck Be a Lady event. But with the late notice … I don’t think I can make it happen.

Bad for me … but good for you if you’re able to be in the D.C. area leading up to Thanksgiving time. With tickets very reasonably priced in the $20 – $85 range this looks like not only a great event, but a steal as well. GO!

 

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SDjr didn’t shovel the holiday hits like Dean and Frank…

© Vladimir Gorsky

…but the few songs he did bring us were very cool, very Sammy.

It doesn’t necessarily surprise that Sammy Davis wasn’t as prolific with Christmas numbers as the other guys in the Rat Pack … he was Jewish for God’s sake (literally).

That said, I was still a bit surprised that only three SDjr songs appear on the hugely popular 2002 compilation album — Christmas With the Rat Pack.

It’s funny though… even with Sammy’s scant offering of holiday fare, the few songs he did bring are “best in class” hits for the season and worth highlighting on this first day of Chanukah 2011. [Read more…]

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What a fun read…

I want to follow up an earlier review of Robert Randisi’s Rat Pack Mystery novels, with a quick update and review of I’m a Fool to Kill You — the 5th book in the series.

Not being especially acquainted with Ava Gardner’s background, I thought I might have trouble connecting with this story — the previous four RPack mysteries from Randisi have placed the likes of Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy and Marilyn Monroe at the center of the murder mystery story-lines — but I couldn’t have been more wrong. [Read more…]

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Since we’ve been talking about Crossover Artists this week, just for fun I am crossing over to the literary side to chat you up on Robert J. Randisi’s six-pack of Rat Pack Mystery novels.

Fun is definitely the operative word with these books … at least if you’re a fan of “the Pack” and enjoy fast breaking private-eye style mysteries. We’re not talking Pulitzer prize winning stuff here, but Randisi uses the first-person PI style to great effect and immerses the reader in the lively (hot!) action packed Vegas that was home to Frank, Dean, Sammy and Joey in their hey day.

All the trappings are here with scads of Hollywood stars, show girls, booze and all manner of trouble for Eddie Gianelli — former Brooklyn CPA, now a blackjack pit boss at the Sands. Eddie finds himself in the middle of it when Jack Entratter asks him for a small favor … he just wants Eddie to help his friend Frank Sinatra out with a little blackmail issue!

Thats’s the thumbnail for the first book in the series — Everybody Kills Somebody Sometime — where it turns out Frank needs someone “expendable” to help Dean out of a nasty fix.  [Read more…]

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