Edmund Basseni is a small business owner, a body shop guy who pieces together the parts of car engines and their housings, motor and chassis. And he is also a hired assasin, a mechanic who does jobs as easily and flawlessly as he puts together a 383 hemi into a collectible Dodge. Vinnie, as he is called by friend and foe alike, has a problem. He has suffered a severe wound to his forearm, which leads to the hands and fingers that do the terrible job of “whacking” a wrong doer.After the accident he must piece his life together again and make it right; and in Vinnie’s world morality is a very important issue. There is justice and retribution and a code of honor that drives this good fellow to commit murder and mayhem.
After an extensive period of rehab and strengthening, the shattered Vinnie is determined to pick up his weapon of choice, A Browning pistol, and return to the glory and privilege of his former world.
He is also not exactly an outsider. As an an insider and operative in the shady world of finance and extortion, he owes people and is obliged to do their biddings. If he is ready; and Vinnie is in the process of getting ready.
Bored with the tedium of reconstructing cars, he meets a very hot and sweet, but “married to the mob” young lady named Elizabeth. This slowly and inexorably develops into a “relationship” for them, but in the process of getting involved with Elizabeth, Vinnie meets and greets women in various places—forest, city and bar—and has some very steamy, and somewhat psychotic, sexual encounters.
Vinnie and Alan conspire in a plot that is recreated about four times. Each job is a work of art, and that is Vinnie’s approach to his work. There is an interesting dynamic to their friendship, since they’re kind of bonded in the blood and iron of their work—organized criminal activity that is ruthless and business like, with violence and violent language a big part of their argot.
Finally, the job is completed , and Vinnie, in the final scene in the novel, realizes a fractured dream of completion that is simply a continuation of the bizarre life he cannot seem to extricate himself from, no matter how hard he tries.