Books: His Life and Crimes

THE VALACHI PAPERS by Peter Maas. 285 pages. Putnam. $6.95.

Joseph Michael Valachi looks a bit like a Damon Runyon gangster—the tough guy who really is all heart. Short (5 ft. 6 in.) and bandy-legged, he could pass as one of those middle-aged truck drivers who spend their days oiT lifting weights at the local gym, then go home and cook up a dinner for the wife and kids—"Joe's Special Recipe for Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs."

In Joe Valachi's case, appearances are deceptive; gourmet skills plainly take second place to adeptness as an all-round hood....

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