reviews > Dinner at Tony Napoli’s
Review Novel Dinner at Tony Napoli’s Fiction 2023 / 335 pages
Genre: Thriller & Suspense

Dinner at Tony Napoli’s
Reedsy Review
Reviewed by TPBR – The Prairies Book Review
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"Fast-paced, thrilling, poignant, and profound…"

A dying prominent restauranteur is forced to revisit his dark past after a grisly discovery in Izzi’s latest tense crime thriller. With his late-stage cancer diagnosis, 87-year-old Antonio ‘Tony Napoli’ Sorrentino knows the time has finally come for him to close his legendary restaurant, a happening place in the heart of the West Loop in Chicago, where he had served prominent politicians, famous entertainers, renowned dignitaries along with well-known mobsters. But Toni’s plan of spending his remaining days in peace and quiet turns upside down after four decomposed bodies of the members of a crime family are discovered beneath the concrete foundation of his restaurant. Tony must decide if he wants to break the family ‘omerta’ or go quietly with the secrets of a dark past buried deep in his old heart. High tension, breakneck pacing, and an intriguing storyline elevate this thriller, which meditates on family and friendship while exploring complex themes of integrity, honor, regret, and redemption. The setting beautifully evokes the neo-noir atmosphere of an action-thriller, taking readers to the crime-ridden streets of the ‘90s Chicago. Dennis and Sorrentino’s individual moral dilemmas act as the main drivers of the book, while the decades-old stories of crime, extortion, and unsolved murders make an essential part of many subplots. Dennis is an easy to root for, complex and likable character, but it is Sorrentino who, with his moral quandaries steals the show. The supporting cast is so large as to occasionally confuse, but on balance, the writing is crisp and engrossing and the plot unpredictable. An exhilarating tale of moral dilemmas, murder, and mayhem.


"If ‘dem walls could only talk…"

It was the end of a Chicago era. Antonio ‘Tony Napoli’ Sorrentino has finally closed his legendary restaurant in the heart of the West Loop. It has been a gathering place for prominent politicians, famous entertainers, renowned dignitaries, and of course …well-known mobsters. Often dubbed as the ‘Artie Bucco’ of the Chicago Outfit, 87-year-old Tony Sorrentino has decided to close his celebrated restaurant after 57 years. Suffering from late-stage cancer, the time had come to sell his property to a local developer and close his business for good. The demolition equipment arrived to begin annihilating his prominent restaurant one November afternoon. As Sorrentino sat in his Cadillac across the street, he uttered the words that so many FBI agents often wondered out loud: “If ‘dem walls could only talk.”

Suddenly, the demolition stopped, and several construction workers climbed out of their machines to begin digging through the rubble by hand. They abruptly make a gruesome discovery: Four decomposed bodies in large black body bags are discovered beneath the concrete foundation.

Dinner at Tony Napoli's

Chicago P.D. Detective Dennis Romanowski is very familiar with the famous restauranteur. Being half Italian, Sorrentino is a cousin on his maternal side and has often referred to him as ‘Zio Tony.’ When he is called at the Eighteenth District on that autumn day, he visits Sorrentino in his prison cell. There, he finds a sickly, broken old man being held on suspicion of first-degree murder.

Realizing that he may soon die in prison, Anthony Sorrentino decides to break the family ‘omerta’, or the code of silence. Sitting his detective nephew down in a prison conference room, Sorrentino narrates the stories of crime, extortion, and unsolved murders that only he and the walls of his renowned restaurant were the only witness to…