Hesh Kestin

Mulholland Books

The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats

Hesh Kestin
Authors:
Hesh Kestin

It's New York, 1963, and college student Russell Newhouse has just made the acquaintance of notorious Jewish gangster Shoeshine Cats.Cats wants a tiny favour. And - for his own reasons - he also wants to educate Russell in the world of crime, cops and the gritty reality of life on the edge.Russell knows a lot about books, a bit about girls, and nothing at all about the mob.That's about to change.

Hesh Kestin

An honors graduate of the Brooklyn streets, where he grew up across from the former headquarters of Murder Inc., Hesh Kestin reported on war, crime and terrorism in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. His work has appeared in publications as diverse as Forbes, Newsday, the Jerusalem Post and Playboy. After hanging up his trenchcoat Kestin founded two prize-winning newspapers, the independent Israeli daily The Nation, and The American, a weekly for expatriates. He is also the author of a collection of novellas, Based On A True Story. "You never stop being afraid," Kestin says of a former life in which he was often the only unarmed man in the room. "But having grown up in a part of New York where every day was a war, I had a unique advantage: I was used to it."

Mulholland Books

The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats

By Hesh Kestin

Mulholland Books presents... THE IRON WILL OF SHOESHINE CATS

It's New York, 1963, and college student Russell Newhouse has just made the acquaintance of notorious Jewish gangster Shoeshine Cats.

Cats wants a tiny favour. And - for his own reasons - he also wants to educate Russell in the world of crime, cops and the gritty reality of life on the edge.

Russell knows a lot about books, a bit about girls, and nothing at all about the mob.

That's about to change.

There are innumerable books about New York gangsters but I can guarantee you'll never have come across anything as wacky, witty and irreverent as Kestin's novel.Had Kurt Vonnegut written The Godfather, it would have read a lot like this.Everything a good novel should be and more, THE IRON WILL OF SHOESHINE CATS is by turns hilarious, brutal, irreverent, thought-provoking, vexing and terrific fun.THE IRON WILL OF SHOESHINE CATS just may be the best book you never read. Think The Godfather on laughing gas, or Catch-22 with guns. It's also as good a novel about life in the 60s as you'll ever pick up. Witty, sexy, thrilling, and all story. You can't put the damn thing down. If you're still one of the blessed who reads for pleasure, get this book, because it's a pleasure to read.A vibrant, hilarious addition to the genre of mob tragicomedy....his snappy, concise prose and dialogue is on par with Raymond Chandler.The best book I've read this year is out! Haven't read any good fiction lately? Go out and buy The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats, and don't blame me when you don't get anything done for two days.In this smart and surprisingly poignant gangster story, Hesh Kestin peppers the stew with an unusual blend that's part American Graffiti, part Sopranos and part The Chosen.This fast-paced, laugh-out-loud look at 1960s New York, the mob, and growing up fast comes with a brilliant quote from Stephen King who chose it as his recommended read for World Book Night: 'Think The Godfather on laughing gas, or Catch-22 with guns'An honors graduate of the Brooklyn streets, where he grew up across from the former headquarters of Murder Inc., Hesh Kestin reported on war, crime and terrorism in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. His work has appeared in publications as diverse as Forbes, Newsday, the Jerusalem Post and Playboy. After hanging up his trenchcoat Kestin founded two prize-winning newspapers, the independent Israeli daily The Nation, and The American, a weekly for expatriates. He is also the author of a collection of novellas, Based On A True Story. "You never stop being afraid," Kestin says of a former life in which he was often the only unarmed man in the room. "But having grown up in a part of New York where every day was a war, I had a unique advantage: I was used to it."Stephen King has chosen THE IRON WILL OF SHOESHINE CATS as his recommended read for World Book Night - all copies of the WBN edition of MISERY will have the first chapters included at the back.Reminiscent of a 60s set Jewish Sopranos, this brilliantly witty book should appeal to anyone who likes a wise-cracking gangsterWinner of a Gold Independent Publisher Book Award in the United States
Everything a good novel should be and more... [it] is by turns hilarious, brutal, irreverent, thought-provoking, vexing and terrific fun.

Declane Burke

on THE IRON WILL OF SHOESHINE CATS

A blog post by Hesh Kestin

Jewish Criminals I Have Known

Hesh Kestin writes for the Mulholland blog about the Jewish criminals and lifestyles that inspired THE IRON WILL OF SHOESHINE CATS - his hilarious, unique novel that was Stephen King's recommended read for World Book Night 2012.