Meet the Characters of The Cartel: Jeff Ponzinetti

From Chapter 5:

What Tony Savino wouldn’t tolerate in Highwood was meth.

The CartelThe first time he got wind of someone selling “that farmer shit” as he called it, he put Marco and Jeff Ponzinetti on it. Ponzinetti was the director of Public Works in Highwood. But his real boss – everyone’s real boss in Highwood – was Tony Savino.

People who didn’t know Jeff Ponzinetti would often underestimate him. He didn’t look all that dangerous. He drove around town in a beat-up, white, extended-cab pickup truck that had more dents and scratches than the shovels and pick axes that rattled around in the bed. His jeans were always streaked with grease, dirt and who knows what else. His shirts were filthy (sometimes ripped). He wore a big half-carat diamond-stud earring in his left ear, usually had a two-day growth of stubble on his face, and wore his hair in a classic 1980s mullet that he sometimes dyed with purple and pink racing stripes. He was an odd bird, but incredibly smart and resourceful. Anyone who underestimated this tall, skinny, scruffy-looking guy was making a huge mistake. Jeff Ponzinetti may have been half the size of Marco Toscano, but he was twice as dangerous. He could take a guy down and really hurt him in a matter of seconds. And most of the time, the poor bastard would never see it coming.

About five years ago, word got back to Tony that a guy was dealing meth in Teddy O’Brien’s. He told Ponzinetti and Marco to “take care of it.” They cornered the dealer in the bar.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doin’ here?” Marco asked before ushering him out the door and into Ponzinetti’s truck. They took the dealer over to the Public Works garage on the edge of Fort Sheridan, where no one could hear him scream.

They let him live, so that he could tell other meth dealers not to step foot inside Highwood. But they had fun with Ponzinetti’s tool bench before they sent him bloodied and bruised back to wherever he came from.

“You think the quarter-inch hurt going through your hand, motherfucker,” Marco snickered as he changed drill bits. “Wait till I put this nine-sixteenths through your kneecap.”

About Mark Yost
Mark Yost is the author of the Rick Crane Noir series, published by Stay Thirsty Press. Rick Crane is the classic, anti-hero private eye in the spirit of Sam Spade and Jim Rockford. He works in the unmistakably noirish underworld of Upstate New York, running errands and fixing problems for Jimmy Ricchiati Sr., one of Upstate New York's most notorious crime bosses. But readers quickly learn that deep down, Rick Crane is one of the good guys. "Cooper's Daughter," the first book in the widely acclaimed series, is a fast-moving tale in which a heartbroken father comes to Rick and asks him to find out what really happened to his daughter, who was murdered and the details buried in the Unsolved Crimes File of the local police department. The second book in the series is "Jimmy's Nephew," which begins with the death of Joey "Boom Boom" Bonadeo, an up-and-coming boxer and the nephew of Rick's underworld boss. What starts out as a routine investigation turns into a case that will test Rick's faith -- in the Catholic Church and his fellow man. Book No. 3 in the series, "Mary's Fate" is due out in August 2015. Mark Yost also writes for The Wall Street Journal Arts in Review page, as well as the Book Review section. He is a member of the Mystery Writers of America -- Midwest Chapter, International Thriller Writers, and a number of other author groups. He is also a member of the Amazon Author's Program. Mark lives in the Loyola neighborhood of Chicago, but he and his son, George, call the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn "home."

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