The Fifth Man. James LePore. The Story Plant. February 2013. 236 pp. eBook. ISBN #: 9781611880656.
Matt Massi has made a decision, it seems. His father Chris Massie is a man who speaks little and listens carefully; and he has taught his son the same more by example than by excessive words. Now Matt is a student at Columbia University but doesn’t have much time for studies as he has been contacted for his connection to his father – and Eastern Europe interests. A tip off about a locked storage unit alerts him way beyond the message. At the same time it also eventually connects him to the abused wife of an alcoholic bully, the latter whom he will murder in self-defense and the former with whom he will fall in love!
Next we meet the rest of the Massi “family,” including his “Don” father, housekeeper, man who assists Chris in finding information on any individual person - or eliminating them, men in the “know” who never seem to be as on top as Matt’s father, and more. A theft of valuable diamonds has been noted and a “find” of $2,000,000 certainly piques Matt’s interest but not out of greed!
Off to Greece and eventually further into mainland Europe where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be meeting another European leader on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 massacre of Americans by Middle Eastern terrorists. An attack on them would be felt across the globe but for what reason? Before that can even be prevented, multiple individuals enter the picture, all claiming to be part of the connections to the answer, including a sexy lady, a man who heads another mafia family in Europe, a “wolf”-like man, a “blonde” killer and so on.
James LePore describes the public’s fascination with the Mafia, a group of people who live an entitled life but who all yearn for something far more. The essence of the mystery is about the courts of power, the motivations and tentacles of terrorists, and the necessity of discovering such plots before their devastating outcome in more ways than one. This novel, which is a sequel to LePore’s Sons and Princes, is superb, sparingly worded, tautly plotted, and engagingly intelligent enough to intrigue any reader. A great read and with a promise of future novels about this classy, slick and superhuman family who choose to “handle” crime in many forms!