The Don Con
Fiction Satire/Lawyers & Criminals Humor
Setting – Various
Pace Press (April 1, 2019)
Paperback: 250 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07NY8R8VC
Joey Volpe’s life sucks. As an actor, he hit the peak of his career when he played a bit part as a mobster on The Sopranos. If you blinked, you missed it.
But now, at age 40, he’s unemployed, broke, and forced to make a living by signing autographs at pop-culture fan conventions. His lack of income, along with his chronic womanizing, has put his marriage at risk, too.
Joey’s life gets even worse when a real mobster shows up in his autograph line and makes him an offer he can’t refuse:
He forces Joey to rob all the celebrities of their cash at the next fan convention. When the heist goes bad, the mobster frames Joey to take the fall.
With two long years in prison to plot his revenge–plus a cellmate who’s an expert at running con jobs–Joey comes up with a plan to get back at the mobster, make millions of dollars for himself, and rescue his marriage in the bargain.
But if the plan fails, Joey could find himself fitted for a pair of cement overshoes.
When I was approached to read and review this book I read the synopsis, thought I would pass but didn’t delete the email. When I went back later in the day when I wasn’t so rushed, I found myself thinking about how I watched The Sopranos every week with my husband. We were “fans” but not “FANS”, we would never go to a convention center to pay for the actor’s autographs, but I thought both my husband and I may enjoy this story, so I said yes to a copy.
Joey Volpe was a bit actor hoping for his big break, finally realizing the small parts he played on The Sopranos were as big of a break as he was going to get. His career now amounted to going to fan conventions and signing autographs for people who didn’t really know who he was but thought if he was signing autographs he must be somebody. Unfortunately, he had no problem cheating on his wife at these conventions either.
When a real-live mobster corners him at a convention making him “an offer he can’t refuse” he finds himself getting that big break. A break right into the Federal Penn after the scheme he was forced to participate in leaves him holding the bag. He makes some friends at Club Fed and learns some new tricks that could help him to get the revenge he seeks when he gets out. He could also wind up “swimming with the fishes”.
A tongue in cheek look at organized crime featuring a not too savvy crime boss and an out of work actor down on his luck. They are believable characters but not the cream of the crop. The con artist Joey meets in prison was much more up to speed on the art of the con. His lawyer, on the other hand, was the bottom of the barrel, an online degree? more like he clipped off the back of a box of Wheaties. The dialogues had me and the situations Joey got himself into had me laughing out loud from beginning to the end.
The author sets a smooth pace and it was hard to put this book down. There is a slow build to the actual “Don Con” but then things wrap up rather quickly, almost too fast. The title foretells the basic conclusion the story is leading to and that took away some of the excitement of the ending. Don’t get me wrong, this was a fun and entertaining read. Fans of The Sopranos, Goodfellas and the like will enjoy this foray in craziness.
Mr. Dollycas hasn’t done much reading since our son died but this book may get him out of the rut.
About the Author: Richard Armstrong has been a freelance advertising copywriter for more than forty years. His previous books include Leaving the Nest: The Complete Guide to Living on Your Own; The Next Hurrah: The Communications Revolution in American Politics; and the world’s only novel about direct mail, God Doesn’t Shoot Craps. Armstrong’s articles have appeared in National Review, Washingtonian Magazine, Advertising Age and many other publications. He lives with his wife Sharon and his dachshund Stardust in Washington, DC.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”