Cover image for Tribal secrets
Tribal secrets
Izzi, Eugene.
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Publication Information:
New York : Bantam, [1992]

Physical Description:
376 pages ; 24 cm
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Reviews 2

Booklist Review

By writing about what he knows--scarred souls adrift in the Chicago urban wastelands, familial ties acting as both umbilical cords and wire-tight nooses--Izzi continues to blaze his own crime trail, pulling few punches as he dishes out his bruised and bruising dialogue. The usual tight scams are missing this time, and the gambling stuff isn't front and center, but the stakes are still high. The story begins with up-and-coming TV star Babe Hill planning to wash his hands of his mob-linked old man and his murderous younger brother, Anthony, whose killing episodes start when the words get all twisted in his mouth. Babe's no longer drinking, has put crime behind him, has a cop as a friend, and has a family. But the streets have a way of catching up on you. Tough guys cheated by his pop want Babe to pick up the tab, and against his better judgment, Babe agrees to talk. At the same time, there's another story demanding our attention: that of Edna, Babe's fat, grotesque, twisted, and abused admirer, in love with both her dead father and her dead son, whom she mixes up with Babe. The Edna territory is new ground for Izzi, but as a study in repulsive torment she is hard to forget. While Tribal Secrets may not have the multiple scams that detonate near the end of most recent Izzi works, and while the usually slick plot sometimes falters, the early moments glisten with a dark and supple menace, and the expletive-riddled scenes of media deal-making ricochet with the familiar Izzi staccato. A dark book filled with very dark souls. (Reviewed July 1992)0553073613Peter Robertson

Publisher's Weekly Review

In his ninth novel, Izzi ( Prowlers ) offers an in-depth study of dysfunctional families. Edna Rose, a willing incest victim, a matricide and the mother of a son who has recently died of muscular dystrophy, is obsessed with Babe Hill, Chicago's newest TV superstar. Babe's father is Johnny Hilliard, a mob soldier and stone killer; his brothers are a drunk, a punk and a psychopathic killer and rapist; his mother is a sluttish, nasty lush. Babe's coproducer, Jerome Spinnell, is a wife-beating cokehead with a vicious mobster brother. And Babe's best friend Tim, a cop, hates his abusive father. This basket of snakes is entwined with various unpleasantries in the worlds of drugs, show biz, the Mob and kinky sex. Babe becomes the focus when his psychopath brother and Edna Rose form the quintessential odd couple in ages and kidnap him. Izzi's cinematic quick-cutting reaches a peak in the bloody finale, which leaves enough corpses to end a Jacobean tragedy. The writing is serviceable, but on the whole the novel reads like a violent soap opera. Babe himself proves a hollow core: even with his great body, smile, popularity and talent (we are told), he comes off as a priggish whiner. 50,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved