Appointment with ISIL: an Anthony Provati thriller

Anthony Provati is a nephew of the Mafia. He’s also in denial, running an art gallery and playing piano gigs, until he decides to get involved with the beautiful girlfriend of a Russian mobster, which minor error of judgement narrows his choices down to going to the cops or going to his Uncle Frank. With his illicit girlfriend pushing him to shoot the head of the Russian mob, his cop friend in deep trouble of his own, and the FBI treating the entire affair as a joke, Anthony’s time to figure his way out of the mess he got himself into may be running short.

One of the strong points for me in Appointment with ISIL was its multinational backdrop; the series of countries through which Anthony’s misadventures take him add colour to the plot, and Anthony’s companion on his travels is the character with debatably the most depth in the book: Basso, Uncle Frank’s personal bodyguard. Basso’s quirks, his love of food, and his taste in T-shirts add layers of interest to him that are to some extent missing from many of the other characters.

This story is definitely one of those thrillers that rewards some patience, as it takes a while to get started. The first chapter follows the story of an American woman who decides to take a jaunt into the warzone at Fallujah and unsurprisingly nearly gets herself and everyone with her killed, before the book refocuses on the actual protagonist, Anthony Provati. Anthony has an unfortunate habit of making dumb decisions, but his saving grace is knowing the right people; in this case, an improbable alliance of the New York Mob, the FBI, Mossad, and a few independent agents. Getting these varied teams to fall into line was well-handled in the plot, as the author managed it without ascending to the level of coincidences that would have strained my ability to suspend my disbelief.

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