True Confessions


by John Gregory Dunne

Dutton, $9.95

Some wines do not travel well from coast to coast, but here’s a full hogshead of Irish-American roguery and vulgarity that has been transported with success from the Northeast to Southern California. Dunne, who absorbed his Mickness in Hartford, Connecticut, transplants it to Los Angeles in the persons of two Irish-American brothers, a crooked cop named Tom Spellacy and a venal priest named Desmond Spellacy, provides them with dialogue that stings and sparkles, encircles them with a congerie of grotesques and human jackals, involves them in a case of homicide and several instances of political and spiritual corruption. It is tough, readable stuff. There is not a touch of compassion in any of Dunne’s characters and only a bit of it (when Monsignor Spellacy approaches his death) in his narrative, but it is a rompingly entertaining book. —R.M.