"Many of our stories might seem to be pushing the envelope of legalities and civility, but that is only to the untrained ear," writes "Carpenter" James, whose chapters are clearly noted in a book in which most of the writing was done by "Ada" James.

The two have been pleasantly surprised by the reception the book has received and were "stunned" by the more than 300 people who showed up for a book party a couple of months ago at Armanetti Town liquors, 10000 S. Western Ave. in the Beverly neighborhood.

"The book really strikes a chord," says "Carpenter" James. "Of course we have heard from a lot of old St. Sabina and Leo people. But it is spurring a lot of memories in others too."

Ditto in "Ada" James' new hometown of Waynesville, N.C. "The locals are loving it," he says. "It's about a particular place in a big city, but all kids did crazy things. One guy told me, 'Just change Irish to German, and that's my story.'"

The two old friends posed for the accompanying photo at Dugan's, a pleasantly cozy saloon in the heart of Greek Town. They were asked, "What about another book?"

"No," says "Carpenter" James (right), just as firmly as he had many time before in another tavern.

"Ada" James just smiles and orders another round.

Rick Kogan is a Tribune senior writer and columnist.

"The Guys in the Gang"

By James T. Joyce and James T. Joyce, iUniverse, 264 pages, $30.95