on May 23, 2016
There are no esoteric mob references. Nothing you need to know beyond what everyone knows about the Godfather anyway. If anything, being Jewish might help, but I'm not, nor do I know anything about Judaism, and I still enjoyed this book tremendously. The book blurb compares it to Married to the Mob (remember that great movie with Michelle Pfiefer?) and it is, in a way, because it's really a tongue-in-cheek sort of lovable caper, very non-Godfather-ish. Though there is some light violence, there's no edgy, violent tension that leaves you wondering at the underside of human nature and what people are capable of.
Gordon (Velvel, as he's affectionately called), a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist is left to inherit the family business when his Uncle Max dies. His best friend from foreign reporting days, John Flanagan, is thrilled to attend the funeral and reception, much like an autograph hound outside Grauman's Chinese Theater, and considers it one big game when they take on delicate maneuverings with his late Uncle Max's "business" partner, Luigi Spadafore.
Thanks to Carlos Sesti, Spadafore's consigliere, and Flanagan's anything-but-subtle way of doing things, Mercury might as well be retrograde, because communication and assumptions go from bad to worse, engendering all sorts of episodes and triggering the necessity of action most dire. Enter a cast of characters from Gordon's father's earlier gangster days - an eccentric hit gang of Jewish seniors - and an outrageous plan is born that left me laughing on almost every page.
There are a few other characters that add to the story - Spadafore's sons, Gordon's so-he-thinks fiance (who has her own issues), Flanagan's childhood friend and his father, Gordon's father's girlfriend - every character so well developed and consistent that together, there are amusing sub plots which both add to and support the main one. The beginning of the book, while definitely not boring, seems sort of normal relative to the full scope, and as good as it is from page one, it doesn't even hint at how good it gets.
on October 23, 2001
Inherit the Mob is a good book, provided that you have a solid knowledge of Mafia history. If you don't, you'll be way out of your league. I was lucky enough upon my first reading to pick up a copy that had notes written in by an insightful reader explaining the references. The second time I read it, I was well-versed in the Mafia, so I could follow it. Suggested reading before reading: The Valachi Papers, Boss of Bosses, the Godfather book. Also, watch the Godfather movies.