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Picks and Pans Review: The Pope of Greenwich Village

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by Vincent Patrick

Charlie manages a Village restaurant. Paulie is a waiter. They are petty hustlers desperate enough to think their lives can be changed by one masterful burglary and enlist an old safecracker to help. Charlie bumbles through his nightmare existence, drinking, betting his savings and losing, winding up in debt to vicious loan sharks. He is starkly memorable, and this solid first novel is like New York’s Seventh Avenue local subway—littered, dirty, filled with dialogue as bright as the graffiti and with so much pain on every furtive face that the reader winces. (Seaview, $9.95)