Anthony Giardina’s beautifully written White Guys brims with the angst of the American male, neutered by a wife, emasculated by suburbia, and worn down by work. But the novel weds a delicate Updikean sensibility to a Dennis Lehane plot, without achieving the full power of either. As a kid, Timmy O’Kane envied sexy, reckless Billy Mogavero; years later, Billy still lives in their gritty hometown, while Timmy ”escaped into something better.” Sadly, ”better” means a brittle marriage, trophy house, and soul-killing career. When Billy — still sexy, still reckless — reappears, Timmy starts to come to terms with what he really wants. Alas, the noir plot never reaches thriller speed, and Giardina’s dueling portrait of American manhood feels overly schematic.