At fifty-nine, facing a dull and lonely future, Phillip Vail yearns for a way to put vigor and purpose into his remaining years. Then he finds the Mafia.
While riding a commuter train, enjoying a chat with a younger woman sitting next to him, he encounters three violent drunks. Phil is powerless and terrified but the woman is neither; her father is the caporegime of New York’s Sforza crime family and a quick call brings her three mobster brothers who deal out brutal punishment. Phil is appalled but fascinated. In subsequent contacts with the woman, he finds himself falling in love and deeper into the Mob. Then comes the game-changer: a crazy-seeming offer to become a crime boss himself, an offer he cannot refuse.
Phil sees the dark comedy in his situation but tells the story earnestly describing his emotions, reflections, and surprising leadership, As well as his adventures—including a sensational brawl with a Mafia kingpin in a posh Manhattan restaurant, a near-death experience in a karate dojo, and a spectacular stunt to force the hand of the FBI.
Meanwhile, his respectable life intrudes. An ex-client, the retired CEO of a blue-chip corporation, decides to run for president, with Phil as a key member of his staff. He must now find his way between two preposterously conflicting purposes: leading a crime family or serving a potential president. Which is more worthy of his allegiance? Which offers a better life?
"Former speechwriter Zousmer has a light touch with fast-moving prose as he not only spins an entertaining caper but also ruminates about retirement and its waste of valuable human capital. A winner for fans of both business books and lighthearted mysteries"-Booklist
STEVE ZOUSMER spent half his career as a journalist, mainly with ABC News, and the other half as a freelance speechwriter for the CEOs or presidents of about 30 major corporations. His ABC assignments included chief writer of Good Morning America and 20/20, senior producer of Nightline, and writer for Harry Reasoner and Peter Jennings. He also wrote documentaries for Discovery, Audubon, Smithsonian World, and National Geographic. He is a graduate of Stanford and Columbia Universities and served as a United States Navy officer in Vietnam. He has written six books: two novels, three books on writing, and a Smithsonian book on evolution in the Galapagos.