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Bless Me, Father Hardcover – February 1, 1995


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

New York Daily News columnist Kriegel makes a tightly written, fast-paced fiction debut with this novel about a mob lieutenant who witnesses the effects of betrayal and retribution on himself and his sons. Frank Battaglia is a brutal wiseguy, a throwback who laments the passing of the days when lower Manhattan was a mob stronghold. His problems start when he murders his boss in order to move up in the ranks but leaves alive a witness whom the tabloids dub the "mystery blonde." When a clever detective picks up the case and begins leaking details to an aging columnist seeking to relive his glory days, the noose slowly tightens around Frank's neck. Meanwhile, in a convergent subplot, Frank's adolescent son, Nicky, seeks to break free from his father's world after his rebellious brother ends his conflict with their stubborn, willful parent by committing suicide. Using Frank's attempts to teach Nicky to box as a vehicle to explore family conflicts, Kriegel weaves a tangled web of drama and intrigue, complete with a surprise ending that packs a nice punch. The author also scores heavily with the gritty authenticity of his Manhattan and New Jersey settings and his well-drawn cast. Mob novels may be a dime a dozen, but this one, heralding the arrival of an unusually talented author, is well worth its full cover price.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This first novel is not your average, violence-ridden Mafia story but something far more subtle. Kriegel's viable, fleshed-out characters live in the world of the New York City Mafiosi, but it is a changing world where crack dealers are crowding out the dons in the newspaper columns. Nicky Battaglia, the son of mob enforcer Frank Battaglia, is forced by his father to learn to box because, in Frank's words, "boxing builds character." Nicky would rather play basketball, and his tutelage as a boxer is seemingly fruitless, as the father seeks to redeem himself-a failure in his own boxing career-through the son. Yet Frank misses in his mob career as well, for he is arrested for murdering his own boss. A host of minor characters, none superfluous, help make this novel stand out. Recommended for most popular collections.
David Dodd, Univ. of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (February 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385474946
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385474948
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,176,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Kriegel, a former sports columnist for the New York Daily News, is the author of the critically acclaimed bestseller Namath: A Biography. He lives in Santa Monica, California, with his daughter, Holiday.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cris Italia on October 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Kriegel has a great sense of New York and brings his characters to life. As you read this book, you'll feel like you've known the character your whole life.
Having met Mark Kriegel and discussing the book with him, he is an author that is down to earth and extremely modest.
Great Read. Can't wait for more from Kriegel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rick Hunter on February 28, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mark Kriegel's novel Bless Me Father is a hard-edged chronicle of growing up in the mob, and around the boxing ring, in Little Italy, Manhattan. Besides being a compulsive page-turner, Kriegel has also given us a fine work of literature. Nicky Battaglia, the teenaged protagonist, is the son of a failed-boxer father and up-and-coming mob lieutenant. Frank Battaglia, the father, hides behind his youthful failure as a boxer by giving the appearance of the prototype mafia "tough guy"; problems arise when Frank needs to demonstrate his toughness by both knocking off his boss ("The Fatman") and turning Nicky into a boxer. In the hands of a different or less gifted writer, the plot and setting here have cliche and "pot-boiler" written all over them. Kriegel transcends the easy cliches and plot twists which one might expect and gives a modern morality tale of father, son, and the true meanings and uses of courage. Every one of his characters is perfect, from the mob family to the hangers-on down at the boxing gym. One can almost smell the sweat around the boxing ring! As a male, but not particularly athletic or "macho" reader, but a sports fan, I found this a great book. I would be interested in the perspective of other, particularly female, readers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nate Gagne (schiznitz@excite.com) on August 20, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mark Kriegel has captured the true father-son struggle in his novel, "Bless Me, Father". Frank Battaglia wants only one thing from his son Nicky - to be the fighter that he never was. Now Nicky is faced with life's tough decisions of growing up as a mobster's son. Powerful, unputdownable. A must read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By sportswriter on January 7, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Kriegel's Bless Me, Father is often lyrical and always important. Superbly written, exceptionally descriptive and perfectly plotted, there's more twists and turns than an old wooden rollercoaster. Loved it!
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