come alive, primarily because he seemsnto capture so accurately the various idioms.nThe slang, sarcasm, profanity, andnIrish intonations have the stamp of authenticitynand are woven into engagingncharacterization and narrative. He conveysna period flavor by including thenmovies and songs of the era, and he recreatesnold neighborhoods and city landmarksnwith an obvious tincture of nostalgia.nAny prominent figure associatednwith the city receives mention: the Jamesnfamily, Thomas Dewey, Jack “Legs” Diamond.nFortunately the period material isnhandled with restraint. He avoids the excessesnof Doctorov/s Ragtime and JoycenCarol Oztes’s A Bloodsmoor Romance,nin which period trivia is scattered aboutngratuitously and the fictional familyncomes into contact with every headlinenpersonality of the age.nLegs (1975) is a fictional biography ofnJack “Legs” Diamond, the flamboyantngangster who was shot in an Albanynrooming house in 1931. Reading it is likenwatching one of those movies of a criminal’snpersonal life that subtiy entices yournsympathies until, with an unsettling realization,nyou find yourself wanting thenpolice to lose. The story is told by MarcusnGorman, an Albany lawyer who foregoesnan opportunity for a political career innorder to work for Diamond. He sees Jacknas “a singular being in a singular land, anfusion of the individual life flux with thenclear violent light of American reality.”nWhat particularly attracts and fascinatesnhim is Jack’s “electric animation” or “luminosity”:n’Tou felt something had descendednupon him, tongues of fire maybenor his phlogiston itself, burning its wayninto your own spirit.” As one characternputs it, he had the right to steal fi-om us:n”He was magic. He had power.” This Irrepressiblenenergy or vitality receivesnpointed emphasis in the first and lastnsentences of the novel. In the first,nMarcus says, 43 years after Jack wasngutmed down, “I really don’t think he’sndead.” In the last. Jack is imagined afterndeath saying, “I reaUy don’t think I’mndead.”nWhat Kennedy seems to be suggest-nCheaper hy the DttzetinAtcoriling to thu (‘/vctiji. Ms. l-‘arkinsonnis a nuithematieiiui of morality. Kevii-win};nher reaction to the public tli.selosiire ofnher indlemenl with the men. she said;n1 ilon’l Ihiiik [li:il li:iviii}> .sex willi sixnnicii ill lu’d vein’s is tlial li:iil…nWith its inimitable sense of style,n(.hiciiao Tnhunu profiles Ms. Parkinsonnin depth:nshe could oxik well, ciijcnt-il enlenaiiiing.npiirtits. iimsirvalive iTolilies.nIlie ii.seof erbs hy the Trihiowwriternstrike’s us as soniewhal (KIII. hut after anmoment of reflection we eoiikl linallyngrasp how one can “enfoy” lonservativenpolities. r 1nin man, the instinct for play and games.nAnd this archetypal impulse is one of thennovel’s two main concerns. The otherncomes into focus with Martin Dau^erty,na newspaperman wlio mediates betweennBilly and the political boss. Martin isnpsychologically tormented by his relationshipsnwith his fether and his son. Hisnsituation, involving a compounded versionnof the usual Freudian triangle, raisesnquestions about authority, domination,nand exploitation in father-son relationships.nA recurrent Abraham-Isaac motifnis used to signal this theme. In the end,nMartin is able to reconcile Billy and thenreigning political femily by pointing outnBilly’s peculiar kind of integrity andnmagic—^the same two qualities the narratornof Legs finds admirable in JacknDiamond.nUilly’s father, Francis, who appearsnbriefly in Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game,n^^mma^ 9nSeptember 1983n