Books: What Makes Sammy Runyon?

THE GANG THAT COULDN'T SHOOT STRAIGHT by Jimmy Breslin. 249 pages. Viking. $5.95.

Last summer Jimmy Breslin, a licensed sentimental tough-guy journalist, startled New York by running in the Democratic primary for the office of president of the city council on Norman Mailer's ticket. Now, running for the office of tough comic novelist, Breslin proves slightly more deft with bullets than he did with ballots.

The trouble begins when Anthony "Baccala" Pastrumo Sr., one of five big New York Mafia bosses, decides to revive the old six-day bicycle race as a gimmick for gamblers....

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