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Road to Purgatory Hardcover – Bargain Price, November 23, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (November 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060540273
  • ASIN: B000C4SOG6
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,100,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

It was probably inevitable that the Oscar-winning 2002 movie adaptation of Max Allan Collins's graphic novel Road to Perdition should spawn sequels, and Road to Purgatoryis the first of those--a gams-and-gunplay historical thriller that picks up the action a decade after the original tale left off.

Michael O'Sullivan Jr., the boy who had tagged along with his gangster father on a road-trip mission of vengeance against Al Capone's Chicago mob, only to see his dad murdered, is now in his early 20s. He no longer carries his birth name, but has become Michael Satariano, the adopted son of Sicilian restaurateurs in DeKalb, Illinois, a town not far from the Windy City. It's 1942, and Michael has just returned to the States from a disastrous military campaign in the Philippines that (at the cost of his left eye) won him the first Congressional Medal of Honor awarded during World War II. Changed by the rigors of battle into an impassive killing machine, Michael finds it hard to settle back into his previous life and settle down with high-school girlfriend Patty Ann O'Hara (she of the dimples and Lana Turner figure). So when former "Untouchable" Eliot Ness, now heading a federal office charged with "safeguarding the health and morale of the armed forces," asks him to take on a perilous undercover gig--infiltrating Capone's syndicate in order to curb its criminal enterprises--Michael can't agree fast enough. He blames the ex-Alcatraz inmate for his father's slaying, and sees in this assignment the prospect for retribution. However, as Michael worms his way into the mob, gaining the trust of Capone lieutenant Frank Nitti, winning the heart of celebrity madam Estelle Carey (a woman with her own risky agenda), and planning a deadly assault on Scarface at his Miami estate, Michael discovers that ascribing blame and exacting justice aren't the easy tasks he'd imagined. He also learns that he's more like his late father than he had realized--a point emphasized in a 1922 flashback, which finds Michael O'Sullivan Sr. rescuing Irish gang boss John Looney and protecting Looney's ruthless scion.

Collins's two decades of experience writing about World War II-era Chicago crime, mostly in his Shamus Award-winning Nate Heller detective series ( Angel in Black, Chicago Confidential), shows in Purgatory's copious period atmospherics and its nuanced portrayals of Capone and company. Though the author tests the bounds of plausibility by letting Michael Satariano escape swift punishment for some of the carnage left behind in these pages, he invests this developing family saga with the sort of generational heartache, conflicted loyalties, and pragmatic betrayals that distinguish genuinely suspenseful gangster epics from the merely barbarous rabble. Road to Perdition fans will not be disappointed. Another sequel, Road to Paradise, is in the works, with a graphic novel prequel, Road to Perdition 2: On the Road, already available. --J. Kingston Pierce

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. When you're dealing with the straight-text sequel to a bestselling American graphic novel, Road to Perdition (2002), which became a memorable Tom Hanks movie, the words take on extra significance. Luckily, Collins is, among his other talents, a dedicated word man, the author of dozens of sharply written and impeccably researched mysteries and thrillers. In 1942, Michael O'Sullivan Jr.—the wide-eyed boy who watched his father turn into an angel of vengeance—is now grown up and about to become a WWII hero in the savage battle for Bataan. Raised by Italian-American adopted parents, Michael Satariano (as he's now named) then returns to America to continue his father's one-man war on the Capone mob by working his way up inside it. Michael hits it off with Frank Nitti, Al's successor (played so well by Stanley Tucci in the film version of Perdition that he should be signed immediately for the sequel). Then there's a touching and frightening flashback to 1922, when Michael Sullivan Sr. covers up a crime by the son of his own mentor, John Looney. Collins ranges over a lot of ground, and his writing is most vivid when he describes visual exteriors rather than mental interiors. But the complete package is so smooth and imaginative that few will find it more graphic than novelistic.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Max Allan Collins is a New York Times bestselling author of original mysteries, a Shamus award winner and an experienced author of movie adaptions and tie-in novels. His graphic novel ROAD TO PERDITION was made into a major motion picture by Tom Hanks's production company, Playtone.

Customer Reviews

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on December 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Michael O'Sullivan has been living these past years under another name: Michael Satariano. Adopted from the orphanage that Eliot Ness managed to get him placed into after the murder of his father, Michael grew up trying to put the past behind him. He went off to serve his county in the Second World War, only to find that the skills he learned while on the road with his father, such as his ability to kill when it has to be done, have been awakened and built upon. He fights valiantly, losing an eye but gaining a Medal of Honor (he's the first to win one in the war) and a ticket off Bataan. He still wants to serve --- he can fire a gun, even with one eye missing --- but Uncle Sam seems to have other ideas.

At first he obediently goes along with the plans, but his insistence about speaking out against the government pulling out of Bataan, leaving his fellow fighters behind, loses him his active status. Ness, calling him in, offers to get it back, if he goes undercover. The Capone organization has changed since Al went to jail. They've made mistakes, and Frank Nitti, the boss in Al's place who is still supposedly taking orders from the man who now lives in Florida, might be ripe for the fall. Michael is eager to join. His own father went to Capone for help in his vendetta against the men responsible for the death of his wife and Michael's little brother, but instead Capone ordered his death. When he gets next to Nitti, he finds that he might be the lesser of two evils; the man set to take over is a much harder, greedier person. Soon he's trying to figure out where his loyalties lie and how he can stay true to himself while being drawn deeper and deeper into a life that you only leave feet first.

We do have a break in the story to revisit Michael, Sr.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Henry Brown on August 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Let me get the blemishes out of the way, first (my nitpicking self just can't help it): Though the author obviously knows more than I about mob/mafia history, he blundered the facts a little in the Bataan segment...AND pushed the limits of believability maybe a wee bit too far.

Michael Satariano (AKA Michael Sullivan) is a troubled soul who, superficially, seems to be the perfect all-American hero. But his dark, troubled past makes it impossible for him to accept the pedestal. He is what Bruce Wayne would be like in real life (without the money). Like the Batman's alter-ego, he lost his family at a young age in a violent, traumatic fashion, to murderous criminals--and he thirsts for vengeance.

The story opens on the Phillippenes prior to MacArthur's evacuation. Michael's heroism and combat prowess (dwarfing that of the Transporter and the most outlandish John Woo protagonists) win him the 1st Medal of Honor in WWII, and a golden ticket back stateside where the world is his for the taking.

Haunted by his father's legacy and a lethal impulse triggered by his experiences fighting the Japanese, he dumps his perfect all-American girlfriend (who kept faithful to him while he was away), pisses away a wide-open world full of opportunities available to him, and follows a path of self-destruction. Elliot Ness is making a comeback in Chicago, and needs somebody to infiltrate the Capone mob. Without batting an eyelash, Michael signs on, and uses his Sicilian adopted father's Chicago connections to ensnare himself in the corrupt gangland leviathan.

Ness' impossible guidelines are to avoid breaking the law while winning the trust of the top mob bosses.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Craig Clarke VINE VOICE on May 8, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Michael Satariano, formerly Michael O'Sullivan, Jr., son of John Looney's "Angel of Death," has become the one-eyed war hero who won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service in Bataan. He is looking to avenge his father's murder by the famous Chicago gangster Al Capone, now released from prison but sequestering himself from all but his most intimate fellows (including acting Outfit boss, Frank Nitti) due to the advanced debilitating effects of syphilis.

To succeed in doing that, Michael will have to infiltrate the highest echelons of the Outfit, using his apparent Sicilian heritage to his benefit (Papa Satariano, his adoptive father, ran a restaurant that was a favorite hangout of Outfit personnel), and with the full knowledge of FBI agent Eliot Ness, who has kept Michael's true identity a secret (and even assisted with his eventual adoption).

Part sequel (Collins considers this a sequel primarily to his Road to Perdition novelization -- the events begin ten years later) and part prequel (four chapters focus on Michael O'Sullivan, Sr.'s, role in a political riot in 1922, his antagonistic relationship with Connor Looney, and the birth of Mike's brother, Peter), Road to Purgatory is, above all, a novel of betrayal. Mike can't seem to keep his word to anyone but himself, not even the too-good-to-be-true hometown girl he left behind when he went to war, and a good deal of the novel's suspense comes from wondering when Frank Nitti, who all but adopts Mike as a surrogate son, will find out the truth. Mike digs himself deeper with each new relationship and things really start to fall apart when someone from his pre-war past resurfaces in the present.

The Chicago gangland of the 1920s, '30s, and '40s is author Max Allan Collins' specialty.
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