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Showing 1-10 of 58 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 132 reviews
on June 7, 2011
I just finished reading this book today and I have to say that it's one of the better novels ever written on the subject of gangsterism. Lorenzo Carcaterra does a magnificent job as a story teller about a couple of characters from the early 20th century Hells Kitchen section of New York City named; Angelo Vestieri and Pudge Nichols,that become close childhood friends, and grow into powerful gangsters. This novel is full of plenty of insight about 20th century history in America, as well as info on organized crime and the gangster state of mind and philosophy. This writer doesn't make the mistake that so many other novelist make on this subject matter and concentrate on just the; "La Cosa Nostra" or "American Mafia", he also finds a way to incorperate other ethnic crime groups into this story such as the; Irish Mobsters, thru the character; Angus McQueen (See:Owney Madden), and the Jewish Hit Men from; MURDER,INC., as well as the early African-American gangsters of Harlem (See:Bumpy Johnson), and the later younger black crews that played a large part in the shift of organized street crimes in the late 1960s, thru the 1970s. The emerging Latino Drug Kingpins from the 1970s and early 1980s, make an appearence as well. I also thought that the writer did a brilliant job of giving the reader plenty of insight on what was going on in the hearts and minds of these great characters. I could not put this book down when I started to read it. Although the book started slow It really picked up in the middle and just never stopped until the very last page. The book ends with a very interesting unexpected twist. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys reading about gangsterism! I also think that this would make a great mini series similar to HBO's BOARDWALK EMPIRE. There will obviously be readers that will compare this book to Mario Puzo's great classic novel The Godfather, but there should not be a need for that because this book is completely different. The only places that this book comes up short is that the Author fails to explain the structure of a criminal organization of this magnitude. Also,It was not made clear if this was a; MAFIA crime family or whether it was the; "SYNDICATE" (A criminal cartel). I think maybe it was the latter. This book should have been about one hundred pages longer to really develop this organization in detail. However, It's all here the attitude,the swagger,violence and bravado served up NEW YORK STYLE! This novel is a classic in the field.
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on July 13, 2017
Absolutely a page turner! Lorenzo Carcaterra did again. An amazing story about gangsters. Very touching end to the story. My second book I've read of his, plan to read more.
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on January 24, 2017
Almost five stars except for the ending. I have been reading bad books lately so not sure if I'm being low on the score. It is refreshing and was easy to read. I highly recommend it
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on June 7, 2017
I spent the vast majority of my career investigating organized crime and especially La Cosa Nostra. I thought Mario Puzo's novel, Godfather, was one of a kind. Now I know better.
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on September 6, 2012
One of the best books I have read in awhile...Definitely added to my favorites list.. It is certainly a credit to writing skills when an author can make a cold hearted killer sympathetic and compassionate. Maybe it is a missing link in me, but I was cheering for the bad guys the whole time. He drew me in so deep that I felt pain and actually had a tear when Pudge died and Angelo found him. Good stuff and a strong story line all around.

To the comments that mentioned the aspect of pre-teens of twelve and thirteen being involved in street life as unrealistic, I can only say that they are out of touch. Back n the day and even today children are recruited early on as pickpockets, runners and couriers. I have seen this first hand but you only have to go back in history to see the facts. Lucky Luciano and Al Capone both killed before they were sixteen, and the very popular book and movie, Gangs of New York showed violence at a very young age.

In closing just want to again compliment a very realistic and touching story that managed to weave history and fiction and combine it with a very strong, moving story. My compliments on a job well done.....
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on June 11, 2016
The story is constantly engaging you submersing you deep into the underbelly of the crime world. The aspiring Angelo and Pudge are a fun intriguing duo as they climb the Mafia ladder. The relationships that blossom throughout the story tie in quite nicely, once Gabe comes along its as if a whole new story begins. The ending of this book is one heck of a shocker that I nor anyone I know that read this book saw coming.
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on September 22, 2017
Excellent writer. Not the best story
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on April 7, 2014
This book is truly an epic saga - like so many other people, I came to truly know Lorenzo Carcaterra as a result of his seminal book, and later movie, SLEEPERS. This book is right up there with SLEEPERS. Comparisons have also been made between this book and THE GODFATHER, and while obviously of the same broad genre, this book is much deeper, much more profound. If anything, it is somewhat reminiscent of the movie GODFATHER II where the movie flashes back to how Vito Corleone came to America and developed into the Godfather. But, as I said, this book is much deeper, much more profound, and literally traces, from cradle to the grave, the life of Angelo Vestieri. It is effectively "narrated" by this boy/man named Gabe but we don't really find out until near the end of the book what the real connection is between Gabe and Angelo. In the middle of the book, when Gabe first appears, we learn that he is allegedly an orphan and a foster child - he hates being a foster child - he's lived with several families, he's had to move several times, he has no real friends, he is always the outsider at school - he just wants to have some stability in his life, to be loved, to be cared for, and one day he finds it in the form of Angelo Vestieri who owns this innocuous-looking bar through the window of which Gabe watches his first TV, and it just happens to be one of the New York Yankee World Series games. Angelo invites him into the bar, gives him some food, and says he is welcome any time - as long as he roots for the right team. Angelo is also a lifelong friend and partner of Pudge Nichols, and soon Gabe becomes a member of their "family" and of course soon learns what their real "business" is. As I said, the book traces the entire life of Angelo from cradle to the grave, how and when he was born, how he met Pudge Nichols as a kid, how they themselves were taken in by Ida the Goose, how they got into the gangster business, the wars they fought, the lifelong friendship/relationship between Angelo and Pudge, how they were literally inseparable and indivisible, and how and why Angelo became so hardened. During one of the early wars, someone killed his wife and unborn child, and while Patton was alleged to have said, in WWII, that "no poor dumb bastard ever won a war by dying for his country, you make the other poor dumb bastard die for his country", Angelo had lost too many people that he had truly loved and from now on, his enemies were going to lose a lot of the people that they loved. Gabe once described Angelo as cold enough to kill but warm and sensitive enough to those he cared about, and while Gabe and Angelo eventually part ways, he once asked why Angelo had taken him in, and the answer was that it was the right thing to do, just as Ida the Goose had taken in Angelo and Pudge. This is a really good epic saga on so many levels.
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on June 7, 2017
Ice of history. With great story lines that you can get lost in. Best since Mario Puzo Godfather and like books
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on December 16, 2016
I love, love, love Lorenzo Carcaterra it is just like hearing a person telling you a story. His other books are great as well. I have many on my kindle.

Jane Russell
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