Cover image for Safe harbor
Safe harbor
Izzi, Eugene.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Avon Books, 1999.

Physical Description:
342 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Anyone who knows him will tell you that Mark Torrence is a decent man--a dedicated father, a person whose ingrained honesty and integrity is evident in his every action and all his personal dealings.

Ask James Bracken, however, and he'll describe a very different Torrence: a rat who squealed, then vanished into the Witness Protection Program; a traitor who ticked off powerful people who don't forget and never forgive; an untrustworthy lowllife who needs to die. For once upon a time, Mark Torrence was not a pillar of his society--he was not even Mark Torrence. In a previous New York City life, he was Tommy Torelli, an associate of wiseguys who made their bones through violence, extortion, thieveryand much worse. Bracken-a world class hit man with a swollen bank account--is willing to take Torrence/Torelli down gratis, in order to satisfy inner demons that will be appeased only by vengeance and with blood. And he's ready to eliminate anyone who stands between him and his well-hidden target.

As Torrence's paranoia grows to unmanageable proportions--as he senses an ever--closing circle of terror getting tighter and tighter around him--he realizes that his new identity has become a liabilityand that the only way to survive is to become something he despises: the man he once was. Because now only Tommy Torelli can save Mark Torrence and his family--and perhaps even salvage a small part of the new life he built out of the ruins. But the price might well be his soul.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Mark Torrence is a respected counselor for a Chicago youth program. His wife, Caroline, is a successful lawyer. They have two beautiful kids. Life has been great. Until lately. Caroline has been pushing Mark for information about his past. He sidesteps the questions for a very good reason: he used to be Tommy Torelli, a New York City thief and hustler who made his living on the fringes of the New York Mob. Then he got pinched and, facing a long time in prison, rolled over on his one-time business associates and kept rolling until he was in the Witness Protection Program. But now Caroline is asking questions, and Mark senses his past encroaching on his present. Skirting the fringes of Mark's life is James Bracken, a hired killer with a tenuous link to the past and a desire for revenge. Mark must not only escape Bracken, he must also find out who else has learned his true identity. The third posthumous Izzi novel adds another verse to a familiar Izzi tune: a tough but honorable criminal is forced to deal with a threat from tough, amoral--in this case, crazed--foes without assistance from official law enforcement. The first two books released after Izzi's death were more ambitious but not fully realized despite some strong writing. This is Izzi at his stripped-down best and a wonderful example of why noir fans will miss him so much. --Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

Crisply drawn lives of violence and redemption propel this fully dimensional novel of organized crime and inner-city life. Tommy Torelli was a favorite leg man for New York mob boss Pete Papa until Tommy squealed during a prison term, joining the FBI's witness protection program in order to save his infant son from Pete's threats. With help from a federal marshal, Tommy became "Mark Torrence," left the program, married again and had a daughter as companion for his son, and ran a center for troubled kids in the toughest section of South Chicago. When a nosy journalist's photographs reveal Mark's whereabouts to Pete, he sets sociopathic hitman James BrackenÄwhose lover was killed because Torelli turnedÄon Mark's trail. Then a retarded teen from Mark's youth center provokes a standoff with the police, finally committing suicide despite Mark's intervention. When the story makes the front pages, along with Mark's picture, Mark knows his life of hiding is over. Izzi (The Criminalist) constructs his wary characters and his suspenseful plot with assiduous attention to detail, and with few wasted words, exposing the two-way street of racial injustice, the realities of police brutality and the hollow "honor" of mob loyalties. This posthumously published novel stands out even amid the other fine crime novels by Izzi, who died in 1996: serious indignation and serious research lie behind this compellingly readable tale of a corrupt society and a genuine hero. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Crime writer Izzi died in 1996 under the sort of mysterious circumstances that could have been taken straight from one of his books. Safe Harbor, one of two posthumously published novels, is the unevenly written story of ex-criminal Mark Torrance, who once testified against his old Mafia employers but then never managed to disappear completely into the Witness Protection Program. Fifteen years after turning state's evidence, a hitman stalker from his past finds Torrance and engages him in a frightening (but underwritten) head to head. Unfortunately, Izzi spends more time detailing the men's lives before their final showdown, and the very readable build-up is followed by a disappointing conclusion. The book also contains an interesting but not entirely lucid deviation on the topic of urban race relations. Another log for the New York Mafia-book bonfire; recommended only for larger public libraries with sizeable crime collections.ÄLisa Bier, Alburquerque P.L., N.M. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.