The Atlantic City mob has a guy on the ropes in this “gritty novel with integrity and style” from the New York Times–bestselling author (James Patterson).
Raised in the Atlantic City Cosa Nostra, Anthony Russo spent his life trying to escape the mob. But his stepfather has dreams for the boy—to be a consigliere or maybe even the capo of his own crew some day. So far, Anthony has stayed away, but one night at a dive called Rafferty’s, not far from the glitz of the casinos, he gets sucked into the whirlpool of organized crime. His stepfather brings him there to kill a rival thug, and even though Anthony balks, the man ends up dead, with Anthony an accessory to the killing. As he falls deeper into the world of easy money and quick death, he must draw on talents he didn’t know he had in order to survive. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Peter Blauner including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.
A young man's struggle to break free of his gangster family holds center stage in Blauner's second novel, a competent but derivative tale that's no match for his Edgar-winning Slow Motion Riot. The author again offers a gritty portrait of lowlifes, in this case an Atlantic City crew riven by federal harassment, falling income and paranoia. But the wish of Anthony Russo, adopted son of underboss Vincent Russo, to go straight won't surprise those who recall Michael Corleone in The Godfather; nor will Anthony's slow realization that the sins of the father, including blood lust, are inherited by the son. That the hero's love interest is an ex-whore with a heart of gold also doesn't earn points for originality. Even so, Anthony's scheme to make his own way by managing an aging boxer on the comeback trail brings readers deep into the dirty world of prizefighting, with Blauner tracing the boxer's battered nobility with as much sensitivity as he does Anthony's love/hate toward the man who raised him. Forgetting that less can be more, though, the author implicates Vincent Russo in the death of Anthony's natural father, a complication as distracting as the narration's choppy alternation between first and third person. Still, this isn't bad for a sophomore slump.